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A role for the plant death-protease during plant stress responses

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Feeding the world’s growing population in one of the greatest challenge of our time, requiring a substantial increase in global crop yield. Understanding crops responses to various stresses are key to improve yield (e.g. Cai et al. 2014). The student will be working on the way certain stresses activate Programmed Cell death (PCD) in plants and in particular will be focussing on the role of the so-called death proteases that mediate this process (e.g. He et al. 2008). Of particular interest is the role of proteases in the recently discovered KOD pathway that mediates PCD during biotic and abiotic stresses (Blanvillain et al 2011). The student objectives will be: use cell biology and biochemistry techniques to follow and quantify PCD induction under various stresses, map the sub-cellular localisation of proteases during PCD, use proteomics to identify interactions between proteases, use mutant genetics to map the network of proteases that contribute to PCD and model this network responses. Finally, improving a chosen stress response will be attempted towards the end of the thesis project. It is expected that the student will have some working knowledge of molecular biology and be keen to work towards a better understanding of PCD regulation at the molecular level.

Funding Notes

This project has a Band 2 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website. For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website. Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.


Blanvillain R., Young B., Cai Y.M., Hecht V., Varoquaux F., Delorme V., Lancelin JM, Delseny M. and Gallois P. (2011) The Arabidopsis peptide KISS OF DEATH is an inducer of Programmed Cell Death. The EMBO J., 30, 1173-1183.

He R, Drury GE, Rotari VI, Gordon A, Willer M, Farzaneh T, Woltering EJ, Gallois P, (2008) Metacaspase-8 modulates programmed cell death induced by ultraviolet light and H2O2 in Arabidopsis. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 283(2): 774-83.

Cai Y-M., Yu J. and Gallois P. (2014). Endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced PCD and caspase-like activities involved. Frontiers in Plant Cell Biology 5:41

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