Efficient adaptation to stress depends on the availability of energy resources. Stress drives cells to an energy crisis whereupon they have to reduce energy expenditure in order to survive. To this end, eukaryotic cells compartmentalise specific mRNAs and proteins in cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein structures (mRNP) known as stress granules (SGs). In these structures mRNA molecules are stored, degraded or kept silent in order to prevent energy expenditure on producing useless, surplus or even harmful proteins under stress conditions. In plants, the current knowledge of SG composition and function, as well as their assembly requirements and regulation through stress-activated signalling pathways remain totally unknown. More importantly, it is unclear how SGs work and to what extent they can affect stress resistance. I am interested to elucidate the mechanisms underlying SG formation in plants, which information will be crucial to better understanding the dynamics and evolution of plant stress response.
Keywords: mRNP complexes, stress granules, SGs, mRNA molecules, plants, cell molecular biology, advanced microscopy, stress tolerance.
Some of the pic from the lab are shown below: