Zinc sensing in plants

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office

Abstract

Zinc is essential for all life forms, including humans. It is estimated that around 2 billion people are deficient is their zinc intake. This dietary insufficiency results in the loss of around 800,000 lives each year. Predominantly these deaths are among infants who are immuno-compromised through lack of zinc intake. Human dietary zinc intake relies heavily on plants. While the major transporters for zinc accumulation have been identified, little is known about how plants control and manage zinc homeostasis.

This project will inject new insights into zinc homeostasis in plants, focussing on Arabidopsis. A genetic approach has been devised - and is operational in the Sanders lab - that will identify novel genes involved in the sensing and response to zinc supply to plants.
This genetic approach will be supported with access to outstanding facilities. Identification of genes involved in zinc homeostasis will enable a cellular and genetic analysis of their roles, and through genomic and modelling approaches, potential application of findings to crop plants.

The project includes the identification of novel zinc-sensing mutants using a luciferase reporter screen. The student will take advantage of zinc fluorescent sensors to study the regulation of zinc ion concentrations in plant cells. Plants that are stably expressing zinc-selective FRET sensors are available in the lab and these will be important tools for the project.
Through collaboration with mathematicians (Richard Morris as a member of the supervisory team), it is envisaged that the student will be able to develop a novel and innovative quantitative framework for the understanding and application of zinc homeostasis in plants.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1800249 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Camilla Stanton
 
Description Oral presentation at John Innes Centre student Annual Science Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The student annual science meeting aims to showcase the poster prize winners form the annual science meeting. This involved giving a 20 minute oral presentation with a question and answer session on my PhD research to date, and allowed me to gather feedback on my experiments and findings. I had extremely positive reactions from fellow students, with a few people coming to me for further discussion on methods that I used.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster presentation at 14th annual International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented a poster at the International Workshop of Plant Membrane Biology, which is an international conference attended by academics from a range of fields. The aim was to make connections with other academics and receive critical feedback on my experiments and results. I generated some really good contacts, who I have kept in touch with and had really useful discussions, as well as good suggestions for further experiments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster presentation at John Innes Centre Annual Science Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Zinc_net aims to bring together researchers from various fields who have interest in zinc biology.
i aimed to present my work in a poster format and network with other people involved in the zinc research field.
I successfully made new contacts and had interesting discussions surrounding my work. I was encouraged to do an oral presentation at the next meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster presentation at John Innes Centre Annual Science Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The JIC annual science meeting brings together researchers from across the Norwich research Park to showcase and present the work being done on site. This involves postgraduate students presenting posters about their work in order to network and practice presentation skills to a mixed background audience.

I produced a poster presenting the latest results from my project. I discussed my results with a number of other postgraduate students and researchers and had some extremely useful conversation and feedback, including a recommendation for a new protocol that I am now using.
I also won a poster prize and was asked to do an oral presentation at the student annual science meeting in 2019 as a result.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster presentation at John innes Annual Science Meeting 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The John Innes Annual Science Meeting brings together researchers from across the Norwich research park to share the latest developments in work being done across the site. I presented a poster of my current work to other PhD students, post-docs and group leaders and successfully engaged others with my work and had some very useful discussions around my subject area. At the end of the day I won a poster prize which means I was selected to do an oral presentation at the Student Annual Science Meeting in 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presenting poster at 14th annual Zinc-Net conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Zinc-Net is a network of researchers who all work in the area of zinc biology. The annual Zinc-Net conference brings together these researchers to present their latest findings, as well as foster collaborations and networking. I presented a poster of my current PhD work to an audience with varied backgrounds, as many of the researchers were mammalian biologists and chemists, and as such had some really engaging conversations about the similarities and conservation of zinc biology across our fields. At the end of the day I won a poster prize.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presenting poster at Early Career Researchers Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact John Innes, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and Centre for Research in agricultural Genomics hosted a joint early career researchers conference for PhD students and post-docs in order to showcase the work being done at these institutions and to foster international connections and collaborations. I successfully engaged with researchers from these other institutions, and received positive feedback on my poster. After the conference I helped write a blog post and report about the outcomes from the conference, which should help support the continuation of this event in the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/blog/the-inaugural-early-career-researcher-conference/
 
Description Presenting poster at Norwich Research Park Doctoral Training Programme Summer Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The NRP DTP summer conference brings together all BBSRC DTP students from across the institutes on the Norwich Research Park for a day of presentations, networking and workshops. I presented a poster of my current PhD research to other students and invited speakers from across the UK. I successfully networked with other students and engaged with others about my work, winning a poster prize at the end of the day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019