The growth, development and survival of any organism is dependent upon how it responds to the overall changes in the environment around it as well as changes that take place within the organism. Plants are no exception. In fact, because plants are stationary, they have to continually adapt to their ever-changing surroundings. Intracellular signaling essentially describes how an organism senses these changes and how this information is communicated and eventually translated into a response.
Signal transduction events comprise large networks of proteins communicating with each other. Signaling starts with the perception of a signal such as a change in light intensity, humidity, temperature or the presence of a pathogen or a chemical. This change is sensed by the receptor proteins which typically undergo a signal-induced modification. The modification of the receptor triggers a series of changes inside the cell to communicate this information, including changes in ionic gradients (e.g. pH and Ca2+), enzyme activities, protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, protein stability, etc. The transcription factors are at the very end of a signal transduction chain. Once these proteins undergo a signal-dependent change, they directly affect the gene regulation and define an organism’s response to the signal. A number of Danforth Center labs study various aspects of intracellular signaling in plants using biochemistry, physiology, genomics, proteomics, and cell biology tools.
Labs conducting research in this area include:
James C Carrington Lab
Todd Mockler Lab
Sona Pandey Lab
Sam Wang Lab
Oliver Yu Lab
Integrated Microscopy Facility