At its present growth rate, the human population will reach nine billion by the year 2050. Concurrently, periods of increased abiotic stress, due to variations in global climate, and the limited availability of arable land are expected to restrict agricultural output. The combination of these factors poses a severe and unprecedented challenge in food production that requires novel approaches to better understand how plants cope with stress. My research uses different molecular and physiological approaches to investigate mechanisms that control protein turnover, transcriptional processes and metabolism in plants. My lab focuses primarily on two areas:
1) Mechanisms that regulate protein dynamics in context with the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. We focus on a specific enzyme that attaches ubiquitin moieties to other proteins and thereby marks them for degradation by the 26S proteasome. Most of the proteins that are marked by the enzyme are transcription factors that control a wide range of physiological and developmental processes in plants.
2) Vitamin B6 homeostasis in plants. The vitamin is a critical cofactor that is needed for broad range of biochemical reactions in the cell, mostly in context with amino acid metabolism. In addition, the vitamin is also a potent antioxidant. We try to understand what regulatory steps exist in plants to regulate the cellular vitamin B6 content in order to sustain normal cellular metabolism and plant growth