Dr. Marcela Rojas-Pierce - Assistant
Protein Trafficking and Endomembrane System, Genetics and Chemical Genomics and Plant Stress Responses
The vacuole is the major storage compartment in plant cells and has important implications for the nutritional value of agricultural crops. Our research is focused on identifying the machinery that regulates the delivery of tonoplast proteins to the vacuolar membrane. We use chemical and classical genetic approaches to identify small molecule inhibitors of tonoplast protein trafficking and their target pathways.
We previously identified Gravacin, a small molecule that blocks the delivery of a tonoplast marker to the vacuolar membrane. We have determined that this molecule also inhibits auxin transport by an independent mechanism. Our lab is currently characterizing mutants with enhanced sensitivity to the effect of Gravacin on protein trafficking, and the effects of this molecule on other signaling pathways.
Rivera-Serrano E, Rodriguez-Welsh MF, Hicks G and Rojas-Pierce M. (2012) A Small Molecule Inhibitor Partitions Two Distinct Pathways for Trafficking of Tonoplast Intrinsic Proteins in Arabidopsis. PLoS ONE. 7(9): e44735. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044735.
Zou Y, Rojas-Pierce M, Raikhel NV and Michael Pirrung. 2008. Preparation of Methyl Ester Precursors of Biologically Active Agents. Biotechniques. 44: 377-384
Rojas-Pierce M, Titapiwatanakun B, Sohn EJ, Fang F, Larive CK, Blakeslee J, Cutler S, Peer WA, Murphy AS and Raikhel NV. 2007. Arabidopsis P-Glycoprotein19 Participates in the Inhibition of Gravitropism by Gravacin. Chemistry & Biology. 14: 1366-1376.
Sohn EJ, Rojas-Pierce M, Pan S, Carter M, Serrano-Mislata A, Madueño F, Rojo E, Surpin M and Raikhel NV. (2007) The shoot meristem identity gene TFL1 is involved in flower development and trafficking to the protein storage vacuole. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 104: 18801-18806
Surpin, M, Rojas-Pierce, M, Carter, C, Vasquez, J, Hicks, GR and Natasha V Raikhel (2005) The Power of Chemical Genomics to Study the Link between Endomembrane System Components and the Gravitropic Response. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 102(13):4902-7