My Claude Leon Foundation postdoctoral project

Post-translational modifications of proteins in desiccation tolerance of resurrection plants - collaboration with Prof. Jill Farrant (South Africa).


Desiccation tolerance describes the ability of an organism to survive drying to equilibrium with the relative humidity of air, reviving when the water again becomes available (Illing et al. 2005). The seeds (orthodox seeds) of most species are desiccation tolerant (DT), but lose this tolerance when the germinating and their vegetative tissues are desiccation sensitive (DS). There are a few plants (ca 300 species of higher plants), termed resurrection plants, in which the vegetative tissues (roots and leaves) are also DT. Plants possess very efficient signal transduction pathways, controlling their cells fate, survival and function. Latest data show that posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of proteins play major roles in the regulation of various processes of plants life. The recent progress in proteomics has allowed us to considerably enlarge the role of PTMs in a complex regulatory network of desiccation tolerance. I critically assessed current knowledge about role of PTMs of proteins in  a signal transduction and illustrated this knowledge with case stories wherever possible. From the reason that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced in any places in living cells and at an increased rate during biotic or abiotic stress, their involvement in signaling pathways by protein PTMs is also evoked. In this project I was focused on two issues: phosphorylation, which is well established as a widespread key regulator of signal transduction, and oxidative modifications, which from being primarily viewed as protein damage now start to emerge as crucial regulatory mechanisms in the achievement of major events of plants life. The manuscript summarising this project is under construction.

Watch a movie: "The remarkable resurrection plant Xerophyta humilis"