Cells are the fundamental unit of life. Cell biology is the study of how cells carry out their various functions, including cell growth, division, differentiation, organelle function, macromolecular sorting, response and transduction of extracellular signals, and a multitude of other processes. Cell biologists often take a systems view of biological problems and combine biochemical, molecular, and imaging techniques. One important aspect of cell biology relevant to the plant sciences is how subcellular organelles, such as those that contain agriculturally relevant substances like proteins, oil and starch, are formed and maintained. Danforth Center researchers focus on several cell biology goals including the mechanisms and control of storage proteins and oil accumulation in plant seeds and algae that will lead to developing new output traits to improve food, feed, and fuel. Another aspect of cell biology undertaken at the Center is the study of signaling pathways that can respond to plant hormones, environmental and chemical cues from abiotic or biotic stressors. The cell biology research programs are supported by instrumentation available in the Center’s Integrated Microscopy and Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Facilities.
Labs conducting research in this area include: