Recently, a novel way to interfere with fruit ripening based on a yet unknown function of the nuclear localization signal (NLS) in the ethylene signaling protein EIN2 has been uncovered (Bisson & Groth, 2015). Peptides mimicking this NLS motif were shown to affect ethylene response in planta and, thus, have the potential to reduce diverse ethylene-specific developmental processes in plants such as the triple response or fruit ripening. We aim at improving and exploiting these natural, ripening-delaying peptides by an integrated approach addressing the molecular understanding of interactions of the peptides with the ethylene receptor, the redesign of the peptides for tailored interactions, the delivery of peptides in terms of peptide containers with reversible binding to fruit/vegetable surfaces, and the pre- and postharvest application to apples and tomatoes.
Impact on bioeconomy
Post-harvest losses, including product deterioration, of food produced for human consumption are estimated to reach up to 50 %. Hence, additional and better methods to delay ripening and prevent spoilage of fruits and vegetables are of high political, economic, and social importance. We envisage that our approach will lead to a conceptually novel route to control plant ethylene responses that does not rely on using postharvest chemicals or transgenic plants. This will contribute to a more sustainable use of natural resources in food production.
Expected results/ project products
The project will provide fundamental understanding of molecular interactions between ripening-delaying peptides and essential components of the ethylene signaling pathway. Furthermore, it will characterize interactions between fruit/vegetable surfaces, anchor peptides and polymer gels used as a delivery system. All this knowledge will contribute to development of the improved ripening inhibitors along with the reversibly anchored containers for their controlled release on fruit/vegetable surface.
Participating Core Groups
Prof. Dr. Georg Groth, Institute of Biochemical Plant Physiology, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Prof. Dr. Holger Gohlke, Institute for Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schwaneberg / Dr. Felix Jakob, Institute of Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Andrij Pich, Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Georg Noga / PD Dr. Mauricio Hunsche, INRES-Horticultural Sciences, University of Bonn
Prof. Dr. Georg Groth
Institute of Biochemical Plant Physiology
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Building 26.02, Room 01.23
01.10.2015 – 31.12.2017
The total budget of the RIPE project is € 711,013. RIPE is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.