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Christian Ruffner

Rosanna Viirre

Arabidopsis Research Project

CHS/TT4 is a gene present in the species Arabidopsis, and is responsible for the
production of the enzyme naringenin-chalcone synthase, which is also called CHS. This
enzyme catalyses lots of different processes in the plant, and if it is taken away, all of
those functions will be affected. Some of the biochemical pathways that the CHS
enzyme helps kick into gear are the production of something called chalcones, which
are responsible for the plant’s defense against viruses, and also holds anti-inflammatory
properties. Another product that starts at the CHS enzyme is something called
flavonoids. Flavonoids help create pigmentation in plants that attracts insects for
pollination. In a CHS mutant, all the products of the biochemical pathway that starts at
the CHS enzyme will be disrupted, and the plant’s immune system, pigmentation, and
healing abilities could be affected.

The experiment we chose to go with is putting the Tobacco Mosaic Virus on our plants
to see how well the plant can handle it. Because the gene CHS that is mutated
compromises the plants immune system, it will have a harder time fighting it off. It is
important to have the immune system because it protects it from diseases and even
mutilation. We will get this virus by getting the cured tobacco out of cigarettes and
crushing it up.

This research will help us learn more about how plants fight of diseases, and will be
important in breeding plants with good “immune systems”. This disease is hard to
control unless completely wiping all the plants in the area and restarting. So this
research will help farmers not have to sacrifice their whole crop to diseases. If we know
that this part of the gene is vital by taking it out then we know that we will need to make
it stronger instead of weaken it and that way a plant can be planted in almost any place
with diseases and parasites.

Experimental plan
The way we will apply treatment is by taking out the tobacco of one cigarette, crushing it
up, and sprinkling around the roots of the plant. We will begin treatment after the plant
has sprouted and can have a fighting chance against the virus. We will apply 1 cigarette
once a week until there is a noticeable difference on the leaf (image below). We will
then stop applying the virus to see if it can still fight it off. We will ensure that nothing
affects the variable by making sure nothing that can kill the virus will be exposed such
as pesticides. The lighting will be on 24 hours a day and it will be water twice a week
sometimes three if needed.

(Example of the disease)