2012-2013 Seminars

Plant Energy Biology Seminar Series 2012-2013

Seminars are usually held in the G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA and are open to all.
For enquiries contact the seminar series co-ordinator, Kate Howell, or PEB admin assistant, Jenny Gillett.


2013

***In 2013 our seminar series merged with The Bayliss Seminar Series (TBSS) convened by Josh Mylne and Swaminatha Iyer.
See below for those that featured PEB staff and students and/or may be of specific interest to plant biologists.
In addition, some ad-hoc seminars will be hosted by Plant Energy Biology, when appropriate, and also listed below***


Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 27th of November, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Sandra KERBLER --- Millar Lab, Plant Energy Biology

Determining the role of mitochondrial membrane functions in cold acclimation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Sandra Kerbler

**PHD PROPOSAL SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 20th of November, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Mark FISHER --- Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology

The Molecular Clock: Working, Wobbly or Broken?

Mark Fisher

Past Event - PEB seminar

10am, Tuesday 19th of November, 2013 - G.35 Seminar Room, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Beata KMEIC --- Biochemistry and Biophyics, Stockholm University

Peptide degradation systems in mitochondria and chloroplasts

Beata Kmeic

Past Event - PEB seminar

10am, Tuesday 19th of November, 2013 - G.35 Seminar Room, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Catarina PINHO --- Biochemistry and Biophyics, Stockholm University

Mitochondria in Alzheimer's disease

Catarina Pinho

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 6th of November, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Jonathan CAHN --- Lister Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Natural and artificial regulation of the plant epigenome

Jonathan Cahn

**PHD PROPOSAL SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 30th of October, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Kelly SUN --- Smith Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Investigation of a novel signaling system involved in plant seed germination and seedling development

Kelly Sun

**PHD PROPOSAL SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 30th of October, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Hannes RUWE --- Visiting PhD student, Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA/Molecular Genetics, Humboldt University, Berlin

Small RNAs in plant organelles represent footprints of RNA binding proteins

Hannes Ruwe

Past Event - TBSS/PB/PEB seminar

4pm, Friday 11th of October, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

A/Prof. Patrick FINNEGAN --- School of Plant Biology, UWA

Toward improving phosphorus use efficiency in plants

Pat Finnegan

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 25th of September, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Achala JAYASENA --- Mylne Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Non-model de novo transcriptomics to study seed peptide evolution

Achala Jayasena

Past Event - TBSS/PB/PEB seminar

4pm, Friday 20th of September, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Rana MUNNS --- CSIRO Plant Industry & School of Plant Biology, UWA

Optimising energy capture and water productivity of wheat in saline soil

Rana Munns

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 6th of September, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Asst./Prof. Stefanie WIENKOOP --- Department of Molecular Systems Biology, University of Vienna, Austria

CamelCropper: a novel tool for automated protein turnover calculations from LC/MS shotgun proteomics data resulting from partial metabolic labelling experiments

Stefanie Wienkoop

Past Event - PEB/CIBER seminar


*** Jointly hosted with CIBER ***


3pm, Wednesday 4th of September, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Angela DOUGLAS --- Departments of Entomology and Molecular Biology & Genetics, Cornell University, USA

Molecular functions as targets to control plant sap feeding insect pests

Angela Douglas

Past Event - TBSS/PEB/PB seminar


*** Jointly hosted with The Bayliss Seminar Series (TBSS) and the School of Plant Biology ***


11am, Thursday 29th of August, 2013 - Agriculture Lecture Theatre (G.013), UWA

Dr. Rajeev VARSHNEY --- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad, India

Genomes and genomics-assisted breeding in SAT legumes

Rajeev Varshney

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 31st of July, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Aaron YAP --- Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

The specificity of editing

Aaron Yap

**PHD COMPLETION SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 24th of July, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Bernard GUTMANN --- Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

PPR proteins: a connection between the protein and RNA worlds

Bernanrd Gutmann

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 24th of July, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Ryan DOSSELLI --- Centre for Integrative Bee Research, UWA

Antimicrobial peptides: ancient compounds, new opportunities

Ryan Dosselli

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 17th of July, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Lin XU --- Whelan Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Dual targeting in land plants: an evolutionary perspective

Lin Xu

**PHD COMPLETION SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 17th of July, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Sheng LIU --- Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Functional characterization of PPR-SMR proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana

Sheng LIU

**PHD COMPLETION SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 5th of July, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Ozren BOGDANOVIC --- Lister Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Integration of 'omics approaches to understand developmental DNA methylation pathways

Ozren Bogdanovic

**NEW STAFF SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 3rd of July, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Ben POUVREAU --- Mylne Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

The genesis of proteins and protein biosyntheses

Ben Pouvreau

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 19th of June, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. John BUSSELL --- Smith Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Requirement for the plastidial oxidative pentose phosphate pathway for nitrate assimilation in Arabidopsis

John Bussell

Past Event - TBSS seminar


*** Jointly hosted with the School of Plant Biology ***


4pm, Friday 7th of June, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. John HAMMOND --- School of Plant Biology, UWA

Biofortification of crops for improved human health

John Hammond

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 5th of June, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Oliver BERKOWITZ --- Whelan Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Phosphite - An enigmatic biostatic agent in the fight against Phytophthora dieback disease

Oliver Berkowitz

**NEW STAFF SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 5th of June, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Sandra TANZ --- Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Chloroplast gene expression in C4 Cleome

Sandra Tanz

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 17th of May, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Ryan LISTER --- Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Global epigenomic reconfiguration during mammalian brain development

Ryan Lister

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 15th of May, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Cornelia HOOPER --- Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Subcellular protein location investigation: Interrogate their friends, neighbours and pets

Cornelia Hooper

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 15th of May, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Kate SHEARSTON --- Bond Lab, School of Chemistry & Biochemistry/Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Apolipoprotein A-IV: A potent vascular anti-inflammatory agent

Kate Shearston

**NEW STAFF SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 8th of May, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Achala JAYASENA --- Mylne Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Ancient origins for a new class of daisy seed peptides

Achala Jayasena

**PHD PROPOSAL SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 8th of May, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Mark WATERS --- Smith Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Holy smoke! Karrikins, strigolactones and the chase for receptor proteins

Mark Waters

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 3rd of May, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Boris BAER --- Centre for Integrative Bee Research & Plant Energy Biology, UWA

The Science of Honeybees

Boris Baer

**HONEY WEEK 2013**

For more information on Honey Week go to www.facebook.com/HoneyWeek

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 26th of April, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Kalia BERNATH-LEVIN --- Mylne Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Directed evolution as a tool to study proteins' structure and function

Kalia Bernath-Levin

**NEW STAFF SEMINAR**

Past Event - PEB seminar


*** Jointly hosted with the School of Plant Biology ***


4pm, Thursday 18th of April, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Chuck PRICE --- School of Plant Biology, UWA

The metabolic theory of ecology: prospects and challenges for plant biology

continue reading...
Chuck Price

The metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) as applied to the plant sciences, aims to provide a general synthesis for the structure and functioning of plants from organelles to ecosystems. MTE builds from simple assumptions of individual metabolism to make predictions about phenomena across a wide range of scales, from individual plant structure and function to community dynamics and global nutrient cycles. The scope of its predictions include morphological allometry, biomass partitioning, vascular network design, and life history phenomena at the individual level; size frequency distributions, population growth rates, and energetic equivalence at the community level; and the flux, turnover and storage of nutrients at the ecosystem level.

I will:

  • provide an overview of MTE, by considering its assumptions and predictions at these different levels of organization and explaining how the model integrates phenomena among all of these scales
  • highlight the model's many successes in predicting novel patterns and draw attention to areas in which gaps remain between observations and MTE's assumptions and predictions.

Considering the theory as a whole, I argue that MTE has made a significant contribution in furthering our understanding of those unifying aspects of the structure and function of plants, populations, communities, and ecosystems.

More information about Chuck and his research can be found at www.chuckprice.info

Minimise

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 17th of April, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Lei LI --- Millar Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Application of 15N labeling to measure protein turnover rate in Arabidopsis thaliana

Lei Li

**PHD COMPLETION SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 5th of April, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Laura BOYKIN --- Small Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Bayesian phylogenetics, species delimitation and global biosecurity - why a species name matters

Laura Boykin

**NEW STAFF SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 3rd of April, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Mat WELCH --- CIBER/Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Stamping the royal seal with CH3: The role of DNA methylation in honeybee caste selection

Mat Welch

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 27th of March, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Ethan FORD --- Lister Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Transcriptomics and methylomics of stochastic gene expression in cholangiocarcinoma

Ethan Ford

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 15th of March, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Jim WHELAN --- Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Mitochondrial biogenesis in plants

Jim Whelan

Past Event - TBSS seminar

4pm, Friday 8th of March, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

A/Prof. Joshua MYLNE --- Future Fellow, SCB/Plant Energy Biology, UWA

A living transgenic system that reveals dynamic clustering of the FLC gene upon epigenetic silencing

Joshua Mylne

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 27th of February, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Richard JACOBY --- Millar Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Mitochondrial responses to salinity in wheat

Richard Jacoby

**PHD COMPLETION SEMINAR**

Past Event - TBSS seminar

12noon, Wednesday 27th of February, 2013 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Joshua LINN --- Whelan Lab, Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Identification and characterisation of novel molecular regulators involved in phosphate metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa

Joshua Linn

**PHD PROPOSAL SEMINAR**

2012

Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 22nd of November, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Joanna MELONEK --- University of Kiel, Germany

New insights into the proteome of the transcriptionally active chromosome from spinach chloroplasts

continue reading...
Joanna Melonek

Chloroplasts possess their own DNA (ptDNA), which is packaged with proteins into structures analogous to bacterial chromosomes, termed nucleoids or plastid nuclei. In contrast to nuclear chromatin there is only limited information on the organization and dynamics of plastid DNA and to date only a few of the plastid nucleoid-associated proteins (ptNAPs) have been described. In a proteome analysis of a highly purified fraction of the transcriptionally active chromosome (TAC) from spinach chloroplasts a member of the eukaryotic SWI/SNF family of chromatin remodeling proteins containing a SWIB-domain could be identified. Six small molecular weight SWIB-proteins could be found in Arabidopsis genome. By fusion with GFP, four of them (SWIB-2, -3, -4 and -6) were shown to be associated with plastid nucleoids. SWIB-4 was furthermore located in the nucleus. Escherichia coli cells overexpressing the Swib-4 gene showed higher compactness of the nucleoids coinciding with arrested cell growth. In a complementation approach the Swib-4 gene could complement an E. coli mutant lacking H-NS, an abundant histone-like nucleoid architectural protein in bacteria. This is the first study showing that chromatin remodeling factors are imported into chloroplasts. Based on these findings we hypothesize that plastids have acquired chromatin remodeling proteins to regulate the expression of their genes by introducing structural changes of the nucleoid.

In 2010 Joanna completed her PhD in the Plant Cell Biology group of Prof. Karin Krupinska at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel in Germany. She stayed in Kiel for the next 1.5 years and continued her work on identification and characterization of plastid nucleoid-associated proteins. Joanna has recently moved to Perth to join the group of Prof. Ian Small at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at The University of Western Australia. Her research will focus on the characterization of proteins implicated in regulation of chloroplast gene expression in Arabidopsis.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 25th of October, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Michael WHITEHEAD --- Evolution, Ecology & Genetics, Research School of Biology, Australian National University

Wasp love got to do with it? The evolutionary implications of sexual mimicry in orchids

continue reading...
Michael Whitehead

Most flowering plants engage animals to carry out the essential service of pollination. The majority of these plants have evolved flowers that advertise rewards for this service via visual and chemical cues such as petals and scent. There are however a number of species whose false advertisements draw pollinators to rewardless flowers. Among them are the sexually deceptive orchids, which employ a precise chemical mimicry of female wasp sex pheromones to attract male wasps for pollination. I present results from a multidisciplinary project on two sympatric taxa of sexually deceptive orchids. My research shows that the chemical mimicry crucial to sexual deception is responsible for reproductive isolation and potentially even speciation. I also show through mating system analysis and studies of wasp behaviour that this strategy is a superbly adaptive solution to the problem flowers face of simultaneously attracting pollinators before persuading them to leave quickly.

Michael submitted his PhD thesis earlier this year; a study on pollination in east Australian sexually deceptive orchids. He now alternates between two postdoctoral positions: a research fellowship with the ANU and Kings Park for which he studies mycorrhizal interactions in Caladenia orchids, and postdoctoral scholar at University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa where he will be researching the behavioural ecology of long-tongue fly pollinated food deceptive orchids.

More information about Michael can be found at www.michaelwhitehead.weebly.com

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 18th of October, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Hans-Peter BRAUN --- Institute for Plant Genetics, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany

The mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase complex of plants: function in respiration and photosynthesis

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Hans-Peter Braun

The mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase complex (complex I) is the largest enzyme complex of the Oxidative Phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system and the main entrance site for electrons into the respiratory electron transfer chain. Complex I has several unique features in plants. Most notably, it includes 15 extra subunits, some of which introduce side activities into this respiratory enzyme. For example, subunits resembling an archaebacterial gamma-type carbonic anhydrase form an integral part of complex I in plants. These carbonic anhydrase subunits constitute a spherical extra domain which is attached to the membrane arm of complex I on its matrix exposed side. Furthermore, L-galactono-1,4 dehydrogenase (GLDH), which catalyses the terminal step of ascorbate biosynthesis in plants, is associated with complex I in plants. Novel data on the structure of the NADH dehydrogenase complex and its multiple functions in plant cells will be presented and discussed.

Professor Hans-Peter Braun is head of the plant proteomics department at Hannover University and president of the German Society for Proteome Research (DGPF). His research interest is focused on the energy metabolism of plants, especially on respiration in the context of photosynthesis. Professor Braun graduated in Molecular Biology in 1993 and teaches Plant Physiology and Plant Genetics at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Hannover University.

Currently, Professor Braun is a visiting scientist at the ARC Centre of Excellence Plant Energy Biology until March 2013.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Wednesday 19th of September, 2012 - G.35 Lecture Room, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Monica GAGLIANO --- Centre for Evolutionary Biology, UWA

What a plant knows...

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Monica Gagliano
  • How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut?
  • How do flowers know when to show their pretty colours?
  • Can plants actually hear the chatter of the neighbourhood?

This seminar is:

  • A window open onto the realm of plants
  • A one hour detour into the history of how we perceive them, what we know about them but most importantly...
  • How plants themselves perceive and sense their world

Monica Gagliano completed a PhD in marine ecology at James Cook University in 2007 and was then awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship at Australian Institute of Marine Science, where she studied the physiological effects of climate change on coral reef fishes. In November 2009, she joined the Centre for Evolutionary Biology (CEB) at The University of Western Australia, where she is currently a postdoctoral research fellow. While continuing her work on marine life, she has since stretched the boundary of her scientific thought and ecological research into new directions, including the behavioural ecology of plants.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 16th of August, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Mareike RÜDINGER --- Abt. Molekulare Evolution (Prof Volker Knoop) IZMB, University Bonn, Germany

RNA editing and DYW-type PPR proteins as specificity factors in mitochondria of the moss Physcomitrella patens and the protist Naegleria gruberi

continue reading...
Mareike Ruedinger

Numerous cytidines are converted into uridines by site-specific RNA editing of mitochondrial and chloroplast transcripts, which corrects genetic information in land plants. In flowering plants, mitochondrial transcriptomes contain some 300-500 RNA editing sites and chloroplast transcriptomes approximately 30 editing sites. In lycophytes, RNA editing is particularly abundant with more than 2100 editing sites in mitochondrial mRNAs and rRNAs of the spikemoss Selaginella moellendorffii. In contrast, only 11 sites are identified in mitochondria of the model plant Physcomitrella patens, making this moss an attractive model for functional studies. Pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins with unique carboxyterminal extensions (E/DYW) encoded by extended nuclear gene families in plants have previously been characterized as specificity factors recognizing editing sites. PPR proteins with the DYW domain in particular were shown to perfectly correlate with the presence of RNA editing in evolution. Our DYW-PPR gene knockout studies in Physcomitrella will contribute to identify the full set of nuclear specificity factors addressing all editing sites in a plant mitochondrial transcriptome. Most surprisingly, we recently also identified DYW-type PPR proteins in the heterolobosean protist Naegleria gruberi. Interestingly, we were now able to identify C-to-U editing in the mitochondrial transcriptome of this protist, which is phylogenetically separated from the plant lineage by more than 1 billion years of evolution.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

10am, Wednesday 18th of July, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Murray GRANT --- Plant Molecular Biology, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, UK

The transition from health to sickness - the role of plant hormones in underpinning plant pathogen virulence strategies

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Murray Grant

Our research focuses upon how the virulent bacterial phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae establishes disease in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. P. syringae delivers a suite of ~ 30 effector proteins into the plant cell. These collectively act to suppress basal defence and reconfigure plant metabolism for pathogen nutrition. Using unbiased transcriptomics, metabolomics and real time imaging combined with network inference modeling we reveal a major role for bacterial effector induced modulation of plant hormone signaling as a key virulence strategy. We present new data implicating the chloroplast, the site of hormone biosynthesis, as a key target of bacterial effectors and investigate the role novel transcription factors identified through modeling that may contribute to these plant defense networks.

My laboratory undertakes interdisciplinary research on molecular plant pathology and more recently, plant beneficials. The laboratory uses genome-based approaches (genome re-sequencing, transcriptomics, expression proteomics), real-time imaging and metabolic profiling combined with mathematical and computational modelling to understand the dynamics and molecular mechanisms underpinning plant defense responses with the goal of using this knowledge in translational research.

We have two key areas of research:

  • Plant disease and defense: Fundamental research uses the model pathosystem Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 to study the inter-related signaling networks activated basal resistance, effector mediated suppression of basal resistance and induction of systemic acquired resistance.
  • Beneficial plant-microbe interactions: In collaboration with Dr Chris Thornton we are looking at the molecular mechanisms underpinning plant growth promotion and biocontrol conferred by the saprophytic soil fungus Trichoderma hamatum strain GD12.
Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

1pm, Monday 9th of July, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Andreas WEBER --- Heinrich-Heine-University, Dusseldorf, Germany

Towards a blueprint of leaf development in C3 and C4 plants

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Andreas Weber

The establishment of the C4 syndrome requires alterations in leaf anatomy, biochemistry and leaf development. We hypothesize that the massive changes in C4/C3 related gene expression are controlled by a subset of transcriptional regulators, which are essential for C4 photosynthesis establishment and/or maintenance. We analyze the Cleome genus, which includes closely related C4 (Cleome gynandra) and C3 (Cleome hassleriana) species and exhibits phylogenetic proximity to the model species Arabidopsis thaliana.

In order to elucidate the regulatory network behind the C4 syndrome in Cleome we are employing two strategies: (i) A single candidate gene approach derived from a global comparative analysis of transcriptome data sets of C4/C3 species (including Cleome hassleriana and gynandra) generated by 454 and Solexa sequencing, which targets will be further described biochemically and genetically (e.g. via over-expressor and knock-out lines in Arabidopsis thaliana) and (ii) co-expression analysis for the identification of the regulatory modules which will include a developmental gradient of photosynthetic and a subset of non-photosynthetic tissues.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 21st of June, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Oren OSTERSETZER-BIRAN --- Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel

New horizons in plant mitochondria group-II intron splicing

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Oren Ostersetzer-Biran

In plants, the transcription of mitochondrial genes is catalyzed by single subunit phage-type RNA-polymerases, in conjunction with accessory factors which aid promoter recognition. The primary transcripts must then undergo extensive processing, including the maturation of 5' and 3' termini, RNA-editing and the splicing of many group-II-type introns (the precise number varying by species), which lie mainly within complex I subunits but also disrupt the coding-regions of several genes encoding ribosomal proteins. The splicing of these introns is therefore essential for the expression of the coding sequences they interrupt, and thus for respiratory activity. Yet, despite the importance of proteins that influence mitochondrial gene-expression, functions have been established for only a handful of such proteins in plants.

In non-plant systems, the splicing of group-II introns is facilitated by proteins encoded within the introns themselves (Maturases, Mat's). Yet, the plant mitochondrial introns are degenerated and also lost their intron-encoded ORF. It is thus anticipated that their splicing in the organelles requires the participation of nuclear gene products. In addition, the roles of nuclear-encoded factors in mitochondrial RNA-metabolism may provide means to link organellar gene expression and function to other cellular responses to energy state, environmental stimuli, and/or developmental cues. However, the precise functions still remain largely unknown for many of these proteins in plant mitochondria. By using biochemical and genetic approaches we established the roles of different proteins in the splicing of many of the mitochondrial introns in plants. These are diverse in origin and presumably in mechanism. Defects in interactions between this class of proteins and their RNA partners have been linked to growth and developmental defects, which include reduced germination, retarded growth phenotypes and cytoplasmic male sterility.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 17th of May, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Robert SHARWOOD --- Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western Sydney

Post-transcriptional chloroplast gene regulation: Analysis of key ribonucleases responsible for RNA maturation

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Rob Sharwood

Chloroplasts are semi-autonomous organelles, derived from prokaryotes that perform photosynthesis and other essential cellular functions. The regulation of chloroplast gene expression has levels of complexity not found in prokaryotes, particularly post-transcriptional processes including maturation of polycistronic transcripts, RNA editing and intron splicing. These events are mediated by nucleus-encoded endo- and exo-ribonucleases, along with RNA-binding proteins. One unique enzyme recently discovered is RNase J, which possesses both endoribonuclease and a processive 5' → 3' exoribonuclease activity. An ortholog of RNase J exists within higher plants, encoded in the nucleus and transported into the chloroplast. Recombinant Arabidopsis RNase J displayed robust endonuclease and 5' → 3' exoribonuclease activity, which is sensitive to the phosphorylation status of the RNA 5'end. To determine the in vivo role of RNase J in chloroplast RNA metabolism, knockdown material was generated using virus-induced gene silencing. Plant material with a two-fold decrease in RNase J at the mRNA level was chlorotic indicating that chloroplast gene expression was impaired. We discovered that both discrete and heterodisperse antisense RNAs overaccumulated in silenced material, which suggested that read-through transcription products are substrates for RNase J. We found a high proportion of asRNA duplexed with the complementary sense RNA and according to polysome analysis this duplexed RNA prevents translation of sense transcripts and prevents synthesis of crucial chloroplast proteins. The importance of RNase J in chloroplast RNA processing and its possible synergy with the endoribonuclease, RNase E, will be discussed.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar


*** Jointly hosted with the School of Plant Biology ***


4pm, Thursday 3rd of May, 2012 - Botany Seminar Room, UWA

Dr. Matthew Gilliham --- ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Waite Research Institute, University of Adelaide

Wheat grain yield on saline soils is improved by an ancestral sodium transporter

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Matthew Gilliham

The ability of wheat to maintain a low sodium concentration ([Na+]) in leaves correlates with improved growth under saline conditions. This trait, termed Na+ exclusion, contributes to the greater salt tolerance of bread wheat compared to durum wheat. To improve the salt tolerance of durum wheat, we explored natural diversity in shoot Na+ exclusion within ancestral wheat germplasm. By crossing of Nax2, a gene locus in the wheat relative Triticum monococcum into a commercial durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. durum var. Tamaroi) we reduced its leaf [Na+] by 50%. We can now show that a gene in the Nax2 locus, TmHKT1;5-A, is responsible for the Na+ exclusion phenotype of Nax2 expressing plants. Using in situ PCR, TmHKT1;5-A expression was localised to cells surrounding the xylem. The ion transport properties of TmHKT1;5-A were characterised in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Xenopus laevis oocytes and found to be Na+ selective. The Km for Na+ transport was 0.88 +/- 0.18 mM, but could be blocked by external potassium that we predict has a physiological function in preventing leakage of Na+ back into the xylem in conditions of low transpiration. Molecular modelling and natural variation in TmHKT1;5-A and related transporters has identified key residues that determine these advantageous transport properties in terms of imparting Na+ exclusion. Field trials on saline soils demonstrated that the presence of TmHKT1;5-A significantly reduces leaf [Na+] and increases durum wheat grain yield by 25% compared to near-isogenic lines without TmHKT1;5-A.

Matthew has been a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide since 2006. He obtained his honours degree in Ecology at the University of Lancaster, UK, studying ABA signalling under Bill Davis. He carried out his PhD at Cambridge studying the regulation of anion loading to the xylem in maize, with Mark Tester. Shortly after obtaining his PhD he was awarded a year long fellowship by the BBSRC in 2004 to work with Steve Tyerman to develop an electrophysiological tool to compare flux and current from single cells. He returned to Cambridge for a postdoc to work with Julia Davies on plant glutamate receptor-like proteins before returning to Adelaide. His research focuses on the physiological role of cell-specific transport processes in plants and he has demonstrated that specific transporters control salt tolerance, leaf elemental accumulation and plant productivity.

Minimise

Past Event - PEB seminar


*** Jointly hosted with the School of Plant Biology ***


4pm, Thursday 26th of April, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Laurent NUSSAUME --- Research Director, Plant Development Biology, SBVME CEA, France

High affinity phosphate transporters in Arabidopsis: a complex story!

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Laurent Nussaume

The PHT1 high affinity Pi transporters belongs to an highly multigenic family of genes. They are tightly regulated spatially and temporally by Pi supply at transcriptional and post-translational level. Combinations of genetic, cell biology and molecular biology experiment will be presented to dissect elements of this complexity.


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Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 19th of April, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Oliver RACKHAM --- Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, UWA

A Universal Code for RNA-Protein Recognition

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Oliver Rackham

RNA-protein complexes play essential roles in the regulation of gene expression, by orchestrating the basic growth and maintenance of the cell as well as the complex developmental programs of multicellular eukaryotes. The modes by which proteins bind RNA are diverse and often difficult to predict, limiting our ability to engineer RNA-binding proteins for practical applications. Engineering RNA-binding proteins is attractive because they could be fused to any desired effector domain, enabling selective binding of a specific RNA target to investigate or manipulate any aspect of its metabolism. We have used directed evolution to expand the recognition of Pumilio and FBF homology (PUF) repeats beyond adenine, guanine and uracil and evolved them to specifically bind cytosine. These repeat sequences can be used to create PUF domains capable of binding RNA targets of diverse sequence and structure enabling many potential biological and medical applications.

For his PhD Oliver studied RNA-protein interactions important to mRNA transport in mammalian cells, at the University of Otago, New Zealand. At the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, he used directed evolution to re-engineer the protein synthesis machinery within cells, pioneering an .orthogonal. approach to build a parallel metabolism within the cell. Oliver is currently an ARC Future Fellow at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, The University of Western Australia focusing on molecular interactions involving RNA, the development of new genetic systems to study them and engineering them for applications in biotechnology and medicine.

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Past Event - PEB seminar

4pm, Thursday 15th of March, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Dr. Ricarda Jost --- Research Assistant Professor, School of Plant Biology, UWA

Phosphite - A potent 'fungicide' ...but why?

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Ricarda Jost

Phosphorus (P) is essential for plant growth, but often has a low availability due to a low solution P pool and sorption to soil minerals. Plants feature complex regulatory networks to maintain P homeostasis and optimise their phosphate (Pi) uptake and storage capacities to meet metabolic and developmental demand. Phosphite (Phi, HPO32-) is a more reduced form of P that is widely used as a biostat to enhance plant resistance against oomycetes. However, relatively little is known about its precise mode of action and longer-term impact on plant growth and development. Phi is believed to mimic Pi in suppressing the plant's P-starvation response. Here we show that while Phi does attenuate the expression of some P-starvation-induced genes, it does not reduce the expression of others. In contrast to Pi resupply, Phi addition actually leads to a severe inhibition of root elongation and an increase in lateral root density that is much more pronounced than under Pi starvation. Anthocyanin accumulation in leaves is partially reversed by Phi, yet young leaves appear chlorotic, suggesting an altered shoot Pi reallocation pattern. Phi therefore evokes a set of distinct physiological and molecular reactions that make it an excellent tool to study P-sensing and -signal-transduction pathways.

I obtained my degree of 'Dr. rer. nat.' from the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, in 2001, while working in Ruediger Hell's group at Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben in Germany. I continued working in his group as a postdoctoral fellow in the German Research Council (DFG) funded Collaborative German Plant Sulfur Group on "The role of sulfur metabolism and sulfur rich peptides for pathogen resistance in Brassicacean species" until the end of 2002. From 2003 to 2008 I worked as a research associate at ANU in Canberra on "Gene expression induced by root mechanical impedance in wheat" funded by the GRDC's (Grain Research and Development Corporation) Functional Genomics Program in Josette Masle's group in the Research School of Biological Sciences. In 2009 I moved to the University of Western Australia to be part of the ARC linkage project entitled "Susceptibility to Phytophthora cinnamomi and sensitivity to phosphate in native Australian plants: why are they linked?" initiated by Hans Lambers in the School of Plant Biology and Giles Hardy from Murdoch University. I am currently a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Plant Biology seeking to establish Hakea prostrata as a molecular model for Australian native plants and comparing its phosphate acquisition strategies to those of Arabidopsis thaliana together with Hans Lambers and Patrick Finnegan.

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Past Event - PEB seminar


*** Jointly hosted with the School of Plant Biology ***


4pm, Monday 27th of February, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Marilyn Anderson --- Institute for Molecular Biology, La Trobe University

Molecular basis of the antifungal activity of a plant defensin

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Marilyn Anderson

Marilyn's current work is focussed on defence molecules produced by plants for protection against insect pests and pathogens. Her research spans from basic work on the structure and function of these molecules, to the practical application of creating crop plants which are protected from predation and disease. This practical application is being developed within the company Hexima Limited of which Professor Anderson is a founding scientist and Chief Science Officer.

Marilyn Anderson is a Professor in Biochemistry at La Trobe University. After completing a BSc Honours at The University of Melbourne and a PhD in Biochemistry at La Trobe University Marilyn Anderson spent seven years in the United States working on diabetes at the University of Miami and oncogenes at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She returned to Australia in 1982 to join the newly established Plant Cell Biology Research Centre at the University of Melbourne and worked with Adrienne Clarke to clone genes that control pollination in plants. She joined the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University in 1995. Marilyn is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (2011) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2010).

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Past Event - PEB seminar


*** Jointly hosted with the School of Plant Biology ***


12noon, Wednesday 22nd of February, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Nina FEDOROFF --- Penn State University, USA

Processing of miRNA precursors

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Nina V. Fedoroff received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the Rockefeller University, and has served on the faculties of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the Johns Hopkins University and the Pennsylvania State University, where she was the Director of the Biotechnology Institute and the founding Director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Fedoroff has published two books and more than 140 papers in scientific journals. She is a member of several academies, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among her awards is a 2006 National Medal of Science, the highest honour awarded to US scientists.

Fedoroff served as the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State and to the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2007 to 2010.

She is an Evan Pugh Professor at Penn State, a member of the External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and Distinguished Professor of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. She is also President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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Past Event - PEB seminar

1pm, Thursday 9th of February, 2012 - G.33 Lecture Theatre, Bayliss Building, UWA

Prof. Carlos DUARTE --- Director, Oceans Institute, UWA

Scientific and business potentials in exploring marine microbial life

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Carlos Duarte

The UWA Oceans Institute was created in 2010 to bring together the strength of UWA's marine researchers into a multidisciplinary, integrated research focus. The goal is to capitalise on UWA's existing research strengths in areas such as oceanography, ecology, engineering, resource management, and governance and utilise them to deliver Ocean Solutions for Humanity's Grand Challenges, including the safe and sustainable use of critical resources such as food, energy and bioresources. Marine life is being discovered as an untapped resource for bioresources across a broad range of applications (energy, food, cosmetics, medical, etc.). New development in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, have opened opportunities to explore the biodiversity and functioning of the ocean ecosystem, the planet's last frontier. In particular, opportunities for discoveries of new metabolic pathways in the deep-sea marine environment are huge, are this ecosystem, the largest in the world, combined its nature as the oldest and most stable environment in the biosphere with the challenges to life derived from the absence of solar radiation, very high pressure (> 200 atmospheres) and temperature range from -2oC to 450oC. Indeed, discoveries on new metabolic pathways are proliferating in the ocean as we continue to increase our understanding of genomic and metabolic diversity. The functional diversity in the ocean's metagenome is leading to the rapid growth of developments and applications. Collectively patents in marine genes have a market value, as intellectual property rights, of over 9 billion $/year and this market is growing rapidly. Integrating exploration capacities and knowledge on marine biology and ecology with expertise on the analysis of biological energy systems at the Plant Energy Biology has the capacity to bring UWA to become a significant, leading actor in this new sector, where Australia plays no role at present.

Professor Duarte is Director of the Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia and Research Professor with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) in Mallorca, Spain. His research focuses on understanding the effects of global change in aquatic ecosystems, both marine and freshwater. He has conducted research across Europe, South-East Asia, Cuba, Mexico, USA, Australia, the Amazonia, the Arctic, the Southern Ocean, and the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, spanning most of the marine ecosystem types, from near-shore to the deep sea. Professor Duarte currently leads the Malaspina 2010 Expedition, a Spanish circumnavigation expedition that sailed the world's oceans to examine the impacts of global change on ocean ecosystems and explore their biodiversity (www.expedicionmalaspina.es). He is co-leader of a large EU-funded project on Arctic Tipping Points. He is also working closely with the United Nations (the United Nations Environment Programme and FAO) to develop strategies to increase the sustainable production of marine aquaculture, as well as the restoration and conservation of coastal habitats to mitigate climate change and protect coastlines. Professor Duarte served as President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography between 2007 and 2010. In 2009, he was appointed member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC), the highest-level scientific committee at the European Level. He has published more than 400 scientific papers and two books, and was editor-in-chief of Estuaries and Coasts, as well as associate editor for a number of journals. He has received many honours for his work including the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography in 2001, the National Science Award of Spain (2007) and the King James I Award for Research on Environmental Protection (2009). In 2009, he received the Silver Medal Cross of Merit from the Guardia Civil, Spain, for his service to environmental protection. In 2011, he also received the Prix d'Excellence, the highest honour awarded by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). He has received honorary doctorates from the Universite de Quebec a Montreal (Canada) in 2010 and Utrecht University (The Netherlands) in 2012.

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