Genetics of Plant Biochemistry

Genetics of Plant Biochemistry

Plants produce thousands of compounds that are essential not only for their own growth and development, but are also important for human nutrition, medicine, and many commercially important processes. A complete understanding of the biosynthesis and function of phytochemicals requires knowledge of the genes encoding the underlying biosynthetic enzymes, as well as proteins that regulate their action. Modern genetic technologies make it possible to identify mutations in plant genes that control sequential biochemical reactions. Such mutants are invaluable for dissecting the number and order of steps in a given metabolic pathway, as well as the physiological function of that pathway.

The genetics of plant biochemistry represents a research focus area within the Genetics Program at MSU. Ongoing research in several laboratories is aimed at elucidating the genetic basis of lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, carotenoid biosynthesis, cell wall formation, and the biosynthesis of compounds involved in plant defense. Major goals of this research include the identification of regulatory genes that control the flux of metabolites into specific biochemical pathways, and genetic manipulation of these genes for increased production of products of the pathways.

Cornelius Barry
Cornelius Barry

Analysis of the genetic mechanisms that regulate development and ripening of fleshy fruits and the biochemical evolution of plant specialized metabolism in the Solanaceae.

Christoph Benning
Christoph Benning

Biosynthesis, turnover, trafficking and function of lipids in photosynthetic organisms; genetics, genomics and engineering of algae and plants.

Brad Day
Brad Day

Protein dynamics required for the activation of disease resistiance in plants, including post-translational modifications required for cellular localization, protein-protein interactions, structure-function relationships associated with regulation of immune responses in plants

Dean DellaPenna
Dean DellaPenna

Genetics of cell wall synthesis and production of secondary metabolites

Danny Ducat
Danny Ducat

Engineering photosynthetic metabolism using cyanobateria as a model organism

Eva Maria Farre
Eva Maria Farre

Mechanisms involved in regulation of the plant circadian clock

Susanne Hoffmann-Benning
Susanne Hoffmann-Benning

The role of lipids and small molecules in intracellular and long-distance signaling in plant development and the response to environmental changes.

Gregg Howe
Gregg Howe

Hormone signaling for control of plant growth, defense, and energy partitioning

Beronda Montgomery
Beronda Montgomery

Biosynthesis and function of biliprotein photoreceptors in photosynthetic organisms

Hideki Takahashi
Hideki Takahashi

Nitrogen and sulfur utilization in plants; nutrient sensing, transport and metabolism.

Jonathan Walton
Jonathan Walton

Biochemical basis of fungal-plant interactions