Coordination of chloroplast signals with cellular secondary messengers during abiotic and biotic stresses

A major difference between plant cells and those from other kingdoms of life is the presence of chloroplasts. There is increasing evidence that chloroplasts do not just fix carbon for the plant cell via photosynthesis, but actually also serve as environmental sensors. Indeed, chloroplasts produce a variety of stress signals that enable  plant acclimation to challenging environmental conditions. Concurrently, plant cells also utilise a suite of signalling molecules such as reactive oxygen species (ROS), calcium, and cyclic or phosphorylated nucleotides. These are all established secondary messengers playing critical roles in cellular signalling of animals and microbes. 

Therefore, the central question is: how does the plant cell coordinate the multitude of signalling pathways emanating from chloroplasts with the diverse secondary messengers? 

This project will attempt to address this question by using a variety of strategies including:

  • generation and characterisation of novel biosensor proteins
  • realtime, in vivo tracking of diverse signalling pathways
  • targeted metabolomics
  • in vitro and in vivo analyses of signalling mutants and transgenic lines