Past Collaborative Projects

PRL: A History of Group Collaboration to Tackle Important Questions in Plant Sciences

The idea of group projects arose in the mid-1990s during discussions regarding how our DOE funding could be used in innovative ways. We realized that it would not be possible to find a single project that would engage the entire PRL faculty, given the diversity of research interests and expertise. To convert this diversity into strength, we decided to search for little-studied, important research topics, where small groups of PRL faculty could make contributions that would not be possible by individuals. Since the early 1990s, group projects have been designed frequently in the PRL, and some of these projects have provided valuable resources to the plant biology community at large: 

  1. Cell Wall Metabolism (1997–2007)

    Ken Keegstra, Hans Kende (1997-2002), Natasha Raikhel (now at UC Riverside), Jonathan Walton, Curtis Wilkerson (1999 – 2007)

    Goal: To identify genes encoding wall biosynthetic enzymes.
  2. Frankia Genetics (1997-99)

    Frans de Bruijn, Sheng Yang He, Tom Newman, Peter Wolk  (Marcia Murry, Department of Botany & Plant Pathology, 1997-98)

    Goals included development of a genetic system for Frankia, achievement of a basic understanding of the components involved in the generation of N2-fixing symbioses of Frankia with higher plants, and eventual extension of the Frankia-induced nodulation and nitrogen-fixation processes to presently non-nodulated woody plants.
  3. Photoperiodic Induction and the Floral Stimulus (1997-2002)

    Gregg Howe, Hans Kende, Lee McIntosh, Jan Zeevaart (Doug Gage, Department of Biochemistry, 1997-2000; Steve VanNocker, Horticulture)

    Goal: to learn about the chemical nature of the floral stimulus, or florigen.
  4. Arabidopsis Functional Genomics Consortium (2000)

    Pam Green, Ken Keegstra, Ellen Wisman (John Ohlrogge, Department of Botany & Plant Pathology) A consortium that included groups at MSU, Stanford, Wisconsin, and Yale.

    Goal:  to examine patterns of gene expression in Arabidopsis using DNA.
  5. Regulation and Function of Plant Arginase (2004)

    Sheng Yang He, Gregg Howe

    Goal: to learn about the function of arginase in regulating plant responses to biotic and abiotic stress (see Chen et al., 2004, J Biol Chem 279: 45998-46007).
  6. Membrane-Tethered Transcription Factors (2005-2007)

    Rob Larkin, Sheng Yang He, Jianping Hu, Beronda Montgomery-Kaguri (Christoph Benning, Lee Kroos, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

    Goal:  to investigate the role of regulated intramembrane proteolysis (RIP) of membrane-tethered transcription factors (MTTF) as a potential mechanism for interorganelle signaling in plants and subcellular regulation of processes vital to plant cells.
  7. Modifications of the Proteome in Response to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses (2005-2007)

    Sheng Yang He, Gregg Howe, Curtis Wilkerson, Michael Thomashow (a collaborative venture between PRL faculty and the MSU Proteomics Facility)

    Goal:  to identify global changes in the Arabidopsis proteome that occur rapidly in response to biotic and abiotic stresses.
  8. Mapping the Plant Bioenergy Regulatory Network:  The PlaNet Project (2009- 2013)

    Jin Chen, Sheng Yang He, Gregg Howe, Michael Thomashow; and Tom Sharkey (Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

    Goal: to understand the regulatory logic that coordinates highly integrated natural energy “nanosystems” and contributes to the optimization of energy capture, flow, and deposition.