Improving Plant Stress Tolerance through Chloroplast Stability Control

Tech ID: 23811 / UC Case 2014-097-0


Chloroplast vesiculation can be down-regulated to increase plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress. Conversely, up-regulation of the same process enhances nutrient assimilation in young tuber, seed, root and fruit tissue. The resulting invention allows the creation of plants having greater stress tolerance, or higher nutritional content, or both.

Full Description

Chloroplast vesiculation, the process by which plants degrade and recycle their chloroplasts, plays a significant role in both plant growth and stress tolerance. Researchers at the University of California, Davis have discovered an array of gene sequences that allow them to modulate chloroplast vesiculation in a whole plant or in selected plant organs, transiently or for the life of the plant.

The researchers have leveraged the genes into otherwise normal plants that develop an innate resistance when confronted with environmental stress. The researchers have already demonstrated that modified plants have increased survival when subjected to drought, darkness, and toxic reactive oxygen.

The same technology can also be used in reverse, and in a targeted manner, to spur nutrient accumulation in target plant tissues. The results are edible plant tissues (e.g. roots, tubers, seeds, fruit, etc.) that have higher nutrient content and sweeter taste.

The invention thus allows the creation of normally cultivated commercial plants that resist a wide array of possible stresses and/or can be induced to assimilate nutrients in economically significant tissues.


  • Plants resistant to heat, drought, hypoxia, pollution, darkness, oxidation and salinity
  • Plants with higher nutritional content in roots and fruit


  • Plants that grow normally under low-stress conditions and self-fortify when exposed to stress
  • Plants that ripen normally but can be induced to ripen by external stimuli

Related Materials

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20160298128 10/13/2016 2014-097

Patent Information


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  • Blumwald, Eduardo
  • Wang, Songhu

Other Information


plant stress, stress tolerance, stress resistance, drought resistance, drought tolerance, salinity tolerance, hypoxia tolerance, biotic plant stress, abiotic plant stress, nutritional content, chloroplast assimiliation, chloroplast vesiculation, enhanced flavor, enhanced sweetness, chloroplast degradation

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