Faculty and research guide

Laboratory of Functional Plant Physiology (Hara)

Masakazu Hara

The ultimate goal of our group is to come to understand functions peculiar to plants in terms of their temperature stress tolerance, accumulate academic information that helps use these functions effectively, and to transmit this knowledge to society. Specifically, we have set to work on the following two subjects and our research is advancing daily.

[1] Functional research on cold stress proteins in plants
We are moving ahead with elucidation of the functions of a unique protein, dehydrin (a group 2 LEA protein), that allows plants to survive in severe environments especially cold and drought. Dehydrin is the intrinsically disordered protein whose function remains to be solved. Our group has found the functions that were not previously understood with some unique insights. We have shown that dehydrin enhances cold tolerance in transgenic plants, scavenges radicals to inhibit lipid peroxidation, and stabilizes redox-active heavy metals by sequestering them into unique disordered aggregates of the protein. Now we are studying another new function of dehydrin regarding cold tolerance of plants.

[2] Applied research on heat tolerance enhancers in plants
Global warming and climate change brings risks in agricultural production. Especially a heat wave reduces the quantity and quality of plant production in the world. Our challenge is producing heat tolerance enhancers which prevent the damage by the heat wave in the cultivated land. Effectiveness of the materials is based on the mechanism against high temperature which is common in organisms. Our technology is applied to produce agricultural materials which are commercially supplied by a company in Japan. We are studying physiological mechanisms of the materials to develop practical products with more safety and effect.


Protective functions of dehydrin, a plant stress protein

A short-step purification of dehydrin from radish with good yield.

We develop a new category in agricultural materials "Heat tolerance enhancers (HTLEs)."