Introducing the Weedomics: Understanding the Tolerance Mechanisms of Weeds
M. Irfan Qureshi
The Proteomics & Bioinformatics Lab, Department of Biotechnology
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi-110 025, India
The advancement, based on development of technology and understanding, is the nature of science. With development of subareas, life science (known as biology), further got divided into number of modern branches of the past and called as zoology, botany, genetics, biochemistry, etc. as per specialization of the study to be carried. The time came for further specification to give rise to ‘molecular biology’ which covers study at molecular level of the cell. In the recent past, -OME concept came into fashion as a complement from genOME (first used on PUBMED in 1932) and its study was known as genomics (-OMICS). Later, all the transcripts, proteins and metabolites present in an organism at a given time got the advance names such as transcriptome, proteome and metabolome, respectively. The suffix, -OME/OMICS was then started to be assigned to other areas of research e.g., secretome, interactome, physiome, glycome and so on. Today, –OME is used to form nouns for certain classes of biomolecules with the sense ‘all qualitative and quantitative constituents considered collectively’.
Weeds are not considered as the friends of man and always been seen with best of the envies (for the reason to withstand adverse environmental conditions) and hate, a farmer or sufferer can generate against them. In the time of modern research, genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics are gaining the data with leaps and bounds. If these OME/OMICS, altogether integrated and applied on ‘weeds’, the term arises is WEEDOMICS. More important than coining the term ‘weedomics’ is the need of weedomics which would certainly carry the potential, more than any omics at individual level, to understand the tolerance mechanism of weeds and utilize that understanding for the biotechnological approach in crop improvement.
In weedomics, proteomics has the potential to identify the proteins that play key role in combating tolerance to weeds. Subsequently, gene encoding the tolerance-imparting genes may be identified and may be used as probes for improvement of important crops. In
, Parthenium hysteropherus is a major concern associated with human health and crop yield due to its extraordinary withstanding potential under a variety of environmental stresses. Proteomics of Parthenium either by using Blue Native PAGE (BNP) and/or 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DIGE) under stress would help to generate data associated with the tolerance mechanisms of Parthenium with objective, a. identification of the proteins expressed during specific stress using advanced image analysis software, PDQuest and development of future proteomics reference maps of Parthenium hysterophorus organs and identified proteins, b. peptide mass fingerprinting of the protein digest obtained from spots of interests from 2D maps and identification of the coding genes using bioinformatics software and tools, c. to study the localization and function of previously unknown proteins along with assigning them to the ‘orphan’ (for function) genes and d. utilizing the obtained data of proteomic studies for improvement of the crops to withstand under abiotic stresses. Thus weedomics and specifically proteomic assisted genomics has potential to play an important role in second Green Revolution. India
Keyword: Weedomics, Proteomics, Parthenium, Stress tolerance, Crop improvement