Organisms use environmental signals to determine how best to grow and develop. Receptors on the cell surface detect many diverse signals to monitor the biotic and abiotic environment surrounding the plant cell. Kinases are a major class of receptor proteins with hundreds of receptor-like kinases in plants. They are vitally important for agriculture and plant breeders because they recognise hormones, microbes, carbohydrates and other signals that are associated with plant development and defence.
One sub-class of receptor-like kinases are defined by the presence of an extracellular malectin domain. The family of malectin domain-receptor-like kinases is greatly expanded in higher plants. Given the widespread occurrence of malectin domain receptor-like kinases, it is important to understand how they function in plant development and environmental responses.
Link to our review on malectin domain receptor-like kinases.
Although the malectin domain is found mostly in conjunction with a kinase domain in plants (where it would be extracellular), this domain can also be found linked to a kinesin domain (a motor domain that moves around the cytoskeleton). We are studying the roles of the malectin domain kinesins in plant development and cell division. If we can identify how malectin domain kinesins act in cell function, this knowledge can potentially be used to develop herbicides with plant-specific targets.
Projects in the lab currently focus on:
- Functions of malectin domain receptor-like kinases in development (Sergio Galindo Trigo)
- Roles of malectin domain kinesins in cell division and embryogenesis (Lisa and Sergio Galindo Trigo)
- Mechanism of action of the sprouting inhibitor CIPC (Thomas Grand)