Leaf senescence is a process that critically affects agricultural grain yield and primary productivity in seasonal forests. The Marie Curie LEAF-OF-LIFE project (funded by the Horizon2020 programme of the
European Commission) aims to holistically examine the role of methyl erythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway, operating in the chloroplasts of the leaves, in regulating leaf senescence. Hydrocarbons derived from the MEP pathway are called isoprenoids and they include volatile isoprenoids (antioxidants), carotenoids (photoprotective pigments), cytokinins and abscisic acid (phytohormones). All of these metabolites are important
regulators of leaf senescence. When occurring in leaves, the MEP pathway almost exclusively utilises carbon and energy from photosynthesis. Using model plant systems (arabidopsis, poplar, and crops) LEAF-OF-LIFE aims to (i) monitor and predict leaf senescence courses when the MEP pathway is metabolically perturbed and (ii) identify novel gene cascades involved in the MEP pathway regulation that can be targeted and
exploited to manage leaf lifespan in major crop plants. The project intends to provide a mechanistic basis to our understanding of leaf senescence from the view point of chloroplast metabolism.