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The laboratories involved in the proposed project have independently investigated mechanisms of nectary function and nectar biochemistry in floral and extrafloral nectaries of several species using the 'omics' techniques that will be applied here. However, a holistic and coordinated effort to conduct comparative studies across species and nectary types has been lacking. Thus, the current activities will characterize the (i) synthesis, (ii) secretion and (iii) function of nectar. First, the transcriptomes and proteomes of nectary tissues will be characterized throughout the secretory process (e.g. actively secreting vs. non-secreting nectaries) to (i) characterize the steps centrally involved in the formation of an active nectary, and (ii) to identify genes/enzymes that are directly required for the de novo synthesis and concurrent secretion of nectar components. Lastly (iii) the composition of the secreted nectar will be characterized using metabolomic and proteomic approaches, and selected components will be tested in behavioral assays for their ecological function. The integration of all three major levels will reveal genes and molecular processes that mediate central plant-animal mutualisms.

  •  » Project Participants

  • Additional information:
  •  » Nectar and nectaries
  •  » Abstract of NSF award http://nectarygenomics.org/node/251