In plants, SUMOylation regulates essential processes and a functional SUMOylation system is required for embryo viability. In general, mutant plants affected in SUMO conjugation homeostasis display growth defects, but a few positive and agronomic interesting phenotypes have also been identified, such as resistance to bacterial pathogens and salt tolerance. In order to gain new insights into SUMO conjugation in plants and to eventually engineering plants with improved agronomic traits, we address the following questions:
1.- Uncovering regulatory mechanisms that modulate SUMO conjugation in planta.
2.- Development of molecular tools for diminishing SUMOylation in order to improve plant agronomical traits by selective SUMO conjugation inhibition.
3.- Study of the molecular basis of SUMO biological function by identifying SUMO conjugates and SUMO interacting partners.
4.- Contribution of SUMOylation to ABA signaling in seeds.