Under supervision of: Dr Scott Hayes (scott.hayes@wur.nl) and Dr Thijs de Zeeuw (thijs.dezeeuw@wur.nl)


To survive in stressful environments, plants must change the way they ‘read’ their DNA. The proteins that control these changes (transcription factors) are extremely important for stress tolerance, but our knowledge of how they are regulated is often limited by current methods. Recently, a new technique was developed that has made it is possible to measure transcription factor binding to DNA through microscopy. The aim of this project would be to establish this new technique in our lab, and adapt it to allow for the study of multiple transcription factors. The ultimate goal is to screen libraries of transcription factors for changes in DNA binding in stressful environments. If successful, this high risk- high gain project could revolutionise research into crop stress resilience and help us to maintain food security in the coming decades.  

Are you interested in doing a thesis or internship with us? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Applied techniques:

  • FRET-FLIM microscopy
  • Cloning in E.coli
  • N. benthamiana agrobacterium infiltration and/or
  • A. thalinana protoplast isolation and transfection

Further reading:

Camborde, Jauneau, Brière, Deslandes, Dumas & Gaulin (2017) Detection of nucleic acid-protein interactions in plant leaves using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. Nature Protocols. 12(9):1933-1950. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2017.076

Furuhata, Sakai, Murakami, Nagasaki & Kato (2020) Bioluminescent imaging of Arabidopsis thaliana using an enhanced Nano-lantern luminescence reporter system. PLoS ONE. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227477

Li, Lu, Yu, Zhang, He & Liu (2018) The brassinosteroid-regulated transcription factors BZR1/BES1 function as a coordinator in multisignal-regulated plant growth. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1861(6):561-571. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2018.04.003.