UMR BFP Research

UMR 1332 BFP, a major player in plant biology research in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, is a partnership between the Biology and Plant Breeding (BAP) and Plant Health and Environment (SPE) divisions of INRAE as well as the Department of Environmental Sciences of the University of Bordeaux.

With more than 160 members, BFP is multidisciplinary with its skills in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, genomics, synthetic biology, metabolomics, physiology, microbiology, systems biology, bioinformatics and modeling. Its scientific strategy is (1) to explore frontiers of life, (2) to obtain an integrated vision of the development of plants and fruits and (3) to understand how plants adapt to climate change and pathogens. Its goal is to generate fundamental knowledge while proposing avenues for agriculture that is both resilient and respectful of the environment.

BFP coordinates or participates in national, European and international collaborative projects or networks, including the creation of an international laboratory associated with the University of Tsukuba in Japan (LIA FReQUenCE: FRuit QUality in Changing Environment). BFP also has strong partnerships in several areas with industry, Technical Institutes or producer organizations (CTIFL, INVENIO, ASTRHEDOR, CIVB, etc.).

Its 17 professors and associate professors play a key role in teaching and training through research in plant sciences, microbiology and biochemistry. BFP welcomes many interns, doctoral students and postdocs.
BFP hosts two technological platforms (Bordeaux Metabolome and BIC-Plant Imaging), contributing to the systems certified by the GIS IBiSA, the CNOC and the DISC of INRAE, as well as the Federation of Platforms of the University of Bordeaux. BFP manages experimental facilities dedicated to the cultivation of plants, insects and/or pathogens in controlled conditions or in containment, including the EMERGREEN platform dedicated to high-level containment (BSL3/4 level). It also hosts a high-throughput sequencing viral indexing service platform.

BFP research areas

Axis 1. Explore frontiers of life

At the frontiers of life, viruses are the simplest biological entities described to date. They are obligate parasites since, in order to reproduce, they must colonize complex living organisms. They are nevertheless capable of reprogramming the major vital functions of the hosts they infect and of evolving rapidly to adapt to them. Because plant viruses are likely to threaten food resources of plant, it is necessary to study the molecular and evolutionary mechanisms involved in the infection to learn how to fight them. The Viro team studies the movement of viruses in the plant, the molecular bases of viral adaptation through the study of the mutational robustness of viral proteins.

Mollicutes are among the smallest living cells. They are minimal bacteria capable of multiplying autonomously. Many of them are pathogens of plant (phytoplasma) or animal (mycoplasma) or both hosts (spiroplasma). The Molli team seeks to better understand the concept of minimal cells and to develop biotechnological applications aimed in particular at fighting diseases caused by these pathogens. By combining approaches from biochemistry, biophysics and new synthetic biology technologies including large-scale genomic engineering, the transplantation of bacterial genomes and the reconstruction of artificial cells, the team is tackling issues such as the production of bacterial or synthetic chassis, the molecular bases of pathogenicity, and the shape and motility of bacteria.

Axis 2. Towards an integrated view of plant development

The performance of plants, whether in terms of yield, quality or fitness, depends largely on the modalities of their development, particularly during the reproduction phase. The FDFE and A3C teams aim to better understand the development of fleshy fruits by dissecting the genetic, molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms involved. For this, floral induction, meristem fate and early fruit development are studied in strawberries and tomatoes. Phenology and more particularly the dormant period is also studied in the cherry tree. This work is based on skills in quantitative and association genetics, genome editing and functional genomics and phenotyping, transcriptomics, cyto-histology.
The MéTA team seeks to understand how metabolism, particularly redox metabolism, contributes to the development of plants and their organs and ultimately their performance. To do this, it uses a systems biology strategy by conducting bottom-up (from mechanisms to phenotypes) and top-down (from phenotypes to mechanisms) modelling approaches. Work is carried out in tomatoes, but also with species diversity panels in order to identify allometric relationships involving metabolism.

Axis 3. Understanding the response and adaptation of plants to climate change and pathogens

A major objective of the unit is to understand the response of plants to climate change and pathogens by deciphering the molecular and physiological mechanisms involved during abiotic (mainly heat stress) and biotic (infections by viruses or phytoplasmas) stresses. Viruses and phytoplasmas are also studied from the angle of understanding their ecological cycle as well as their mechanisms of adaptation, virulence and transmission by insect vectors. This axis is based on a wide range of experimental approaches and mobilizes a set of disciplines: developmental biology, plant physiology, plant pathology, etiology, entomology, association genetics, (meta)genomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, predictive modeling and bioinformatics. This research is carried out with different species, notably fruit species (cherry, apricot, peach, strawberry, tomato and vine) but also cereals. Various experimental systems are set up bringing together control varieties, mapping progenies, a panel of genetic diversity from cultivated and wild compartments. The analysis of the ecological cycle and genetic diversity of pathogens uses conventional or high-throughput sequencing on large field samples, coupled with experimental transmission experiments. Certain pathogens classified as quarantine, such as the phytoplasma provoking the Flavescence Dorée, are handled in high-containment greenhouses.

Modification date : 23 October 2023 | Publication date : 29 April 2011 | Redactor : Muriel Gauthier