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The role of CCC proteins in plant hormone distribution and cell wall composition

Plant science laboratory work

Investigate the role and function of plant cell wall proteins.

CCC proteins, or Cation-Chloride-Cotransporters, are large membrane integrated proteins that are localised in the endomembrane system of cells. We recently found that CCCs play an important role in overall levels and gradients of the plant hormone auxin; and that CCC function is required for correct cell wall deposition in seeds and root responses to osmotic stress.

In this project, we will look into more detail of how the function of CCC proteins impacts these aspects, and if they can be separated. In a first step, different versions of CCC proteins of the model plant Arabidopsis and the crop rice will be made, their subcellular localisation identified and their functionality tested. The goal is to identify different protein domains that are responsible for the different functions of the protein; which would then allow, for example, direct plant cell processes towards higher biomass production or production of more fruit bearing branches/more tillers.

You will develop skills in:

  • Molecular biology techniques, PCR, cloning of genes, bacterial transformation – construction of different CCC versions
  • Laser scanning confocal microscopy – imaging of GFP-tagged CCC versions to confirm expression and localisation in plant cells
  • Image analysis software – from image to data
  • Heterologous expression in bacterial systems – functionality of CCC proteins

Key References:
Henderson, SW, Wege, S. and Gilliham, M. 2018. Plant cation-chloride cotransporters (CCC): evolutionary origins and functional insights. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19, 492. doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020492

Schumacher, K. 2014. pH in the plant endomembrane system — an import and export business. Current Opinion in Plant Science. 22:71–76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbi.2014.09.005

Dr Stefanie Wege


Dr Stefanie Wege

Co supervisorsDr Yue Qu  |  Professor Matthew Gilliham

Research area: Plant biology and biochemistry

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Plant Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Plant science, Honours projects - Stefanie Wege, Honours projects - Matthew Gilliham, Honours projects - Yue Qu