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Enhancement of plant cell regeneration capacity

Single cells open opportunities for biotechnology and fundamental cell biology. However, individual plant cells isolated from tissues poorly survive and regenerate. We use materials from biomedical research and developmental regulators to alleviate this problem.

Plant cell and tissue culture techniques are actively used for crop improvement, and advances in gene editing offer new prospects for single-cell-based methodologies. A pivotal aspect of these technologies revolves around the survival and subsequent regeneration of isolated cells. Unfortunately, plant regeneration capacity is strongly genotype-dependent. In this project, we combine expertise in plant development (Renze Heidstra and Anneke Horstman; Wageningen University and Research), biomedical materials (Eindhoven University of Technology; Patricia Dankers and Maritza Rovers) and plant cell death (Sieme Pelzer, Dmitry Lapin; Utrecht University) to resolve this long-standing question in plant translational research.

Synthetic and functionalized fabrics and hydrogels are used in biomedical tissue engineering since these materials provide 3D scaffolding, improve cell nutrition and stimulate cell developmental programs. Also, one could use developmental regulators to steer cell fate and regeneration.

In this project, we test biomedical materials and cell developmental regulators coming from plants and plant pathogens for their ability to improve plant regeneration capacity from individual cells (protoplasts). The results of this work will be used to deepen knowledge in this exciting area of plant translational research.

Schematic of our approach to understanding how to make plant regeneration genotype-independent (Created with BioRender).


Dmitry Lapin


Renze Heidstra