Suryatapa Jha's Abstract

Role of Two Novel Glycine-Rich Intrinsically Disordered Proteins in Plant Development

Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDPs), found widely in eukaryotes, are characterized by their lack of a tertiary structure. These proteins instead form multiple alternative conformations based on their interaction with other proteins. In both plant and mammalian systems, IDPs have been implicated to act as sensors because of their ability to phase separate and assemble into proteinaceous droplets under various environmental and physiological stressors. Moreover, recent studies have demonstrated that IDPs may interact with cellular organelles to facilitate the activation and regulation of different stress response pathways.

Despite recent progress in the functional studies of IDPs in general, some significant questions remain to be addressed. I am interested in a group of previously uncharacterized IDPs in Arabidopsis thaliana, that are predicted to be transported to the cell periphery. I am interested in understanding whether these putatively secreted IDPs are involved in the organization of cell wall and/or formation of extracellular vesicles essential for cell-to-cell communication during plant development, to regulate plants’ response to environmental changes.

The Plant Biology Summer Internship Project will involve characterizing two of these novel IDPs, At2G05510 and At1G27710, that encode disordered proteins enriched in amino acid glycine. Glycine rich proteins in Arabidopsis have been reported to function in stress response pathways. We will characterize these two candidates by analyzing growth phenotypes of t-DNA mutants under different conditions. Additionally, using confocal microscopy, we will look at the subcellular localization patterns in the transgenic lines expressing the GFP-tagged fusion proteins.

The intern will be responsible for generating preliminary data and hypothesis about the function of these two proteins in plant development.