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The PRESTA Project

Project Basis

  • Environmental stress is a key challenge to the productivity of crop plants
  • Abiotic and Biotic stresses will function via core response networks
  • These will be embellished with stress specific pathways
  • Transcriptional change will represent a fundamental component of these response


Our Approach

project pipeline

  • Responses to developmental (senescence), abiotic (drought, high light) and biotic (pathogen) stresses will be used to reveal common stress response genes
  • Time-course experiments have been carried out and high resolution microarrays produced to enable mathematical modelling, using both network inference (top down) and bottom up (traditional) approaches.
  • Differentially expressed genes are clustered based on their expression profile and variational bayesian state space modelling (VBSSM) used to infer genetic interactions.
  • Identified key regulatory genes are validated using knock-out and overexpresser experiments
  • Promotor analyses are being used to identify regulatory regions for transcription factor binding


  1. Preliminary knowledge capture and literature data mining
  2. High resolution time course experiments
  3. Coarse Grain Model Development
  4. Middle-out coarse grain network validation
  5. Local iteration and pathway building
  6. Associated theoretical developments
 botrytis infection
Arabidopsis infected with Botrytis cinerea. Photos taken every 4hrs over 48hr period