Regulation of Metabolism
Plant metabolic pathways are regulated by developmental, metabolic and environmental signals to ensure the plant's adaptation to ever changing conditions. The research group uses molecular genetics to study these regulatory mechanisms. For instance, the differential expression of members of an enzyme family enables them to play distinct biological roles. Understanding the regulatory mechanisms that control a pathway allows their use to engineer plants with beneficial properties.
Cyanogenesis is an ancient plant defense system against herbivores and we study this chemical defense pathway using a mutant collection in the legume model Lotus japonicus. Specific enzyme families and novel genetic loci are being investigated.
Plant growth and productivity requires that the photosynthetic production of carbohydrates and their use are properly balanced. Sugar signals regulate the expression of many genes in plant metabolism. We study sugar signalling in Arabidopsis thaliana using a genetic approach.
Metabolic pathways are controlled at the level of gene expression by the action of specific transcription factors. We study the role of transcription factors in regulating plant secondary metabolism, specifically their role in isoflavonoid and cyanogenic glucoside biosynthesis.
Takos A., Lai D., Mikkelsen L., Hachem M.A., Shelton D., Motawia M.S., Olsen C.E., Wang T.L., Martin C. and Rook F. (2010). Genetic screening identifies cyanogenesis-deficient mutants of Lotus japonicus and reveals enzymatic specificity in hydroxynitrile glucoside metabolism. Plant Cell 22: 1605-1619.
Martin C., Ellis N. and Rook F. (2010). Do transcription factors play special roles in adaptive variation? Plant Physiology 154: 506-511.
Bjarnholt N., Rook F., Motawia M.S., Cornett C., Jørgensen C., Olsen C.E., Jaroszewski J.W., Bak S. and Møller B.L. (2008). Diversification of an ancient theme: hydroxynitrile glucosides. Phytochemistry 69: 1507-1516.
Rook F., Corke F., Baier M., Holman R., May A.G. and Bevan M.W. (2006). Impaired sucrose induction1 encodes a conserved plant-specific protein that couples carbohydrate availability to gene expression and plant growth. Plant Journal 46: 1045-1058.
Rook F., Hadingham S.A., Li Y. and Bevan M.W. (2006). Sugar and ABA response pathways and the control of gene expression. Plant Cell and Environment 29: 426-434.