University of Birmingham
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My group investigates how plants use target protein degradation as a mechanism for sensing and transducing signals, with a particular focus on the N-end rule pathway, an evolutionarily conserved division of the ubiquitin proteasome system that marks proteins for destruction based on the nature of their N-terminus. In recent years this pathway has emerged as an important regulator of plant development and stress-responsiveness, through controlling the half-lives of key regulatory proteins. We use a range of genetic, cell biology, physiology and biochemical approaches to uncover new functions for this pathway, primarily in Arabidopsis. Current interests include studying links between protein N-terminal acetylation and conditional protein turnover during abiotic stress, and exploring how the control of chromatin modifying complexes by the N-end rule regulates the epigenome in response to endogenous and external cues. The general aim of our work is to increase our understanding of how plants develop and interact with their environment, and to identify promising targets that can be manipulated in crops to improve growth, productivity and stress tolerance.