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Mr Andrea Paterlini

Postgraduate Student
Mr Andrea Paterlini
Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR


As an undergraduate researcher at the University of Edinburgh I worked on novel imaging approaches to study phloem structure and function. The discovery of novel exogenous phloem mobile probes was a key output of this effort. I subsequently explored how these exogenous substances gain access to the phloem in the first place and how these probes can be employed as tools to study the influence of external factors on phloem function.

For my PhD at the University of Cambridge I have shifted my focus on mechanistic and developmental aspects of the release of substances from terminal phloem into surrounding tissues, a process termed phloem unloading. I will be focusing on both roots and floral buds in a collaborative project between the Helariutta and Leyser groups at SLCU.

Research Interests

Higher plants present elaborate architectures. Rapid interconnection routes are therefore required to distribute nutrients and signals at the whole-plant level. The phloem is a long range conductive tissue delivering substances from producing organs to consuming ones. Roots and developing shoot branches are prime examples of the latter class. The ultimate release of substances from terminal phloem occurs in most instances through plasmodesmata (PDs). PDs are cell-wall spanning channels that establish continuity between plant cells. The relevance of phloem unloading in plant development derives from the influence it exerts on resource allocation and information relay between distal organs.

Key Publications

Knoblauch M, Vendrell M, de Leau E, Paterlini A, Knox K, Ross-Elliot T, Reinders A, Brockman SA, Ward J, Oparka K (2015). Multispectral phloem-mobile probes – properties and applications. Plant physiology 167(4): 1211-1220.

Knox K, Paterlini A, Thomson S, Oparka KJ (2018). The coumarin glucoside, esculin, reveals rapid changes in phloem-transport velocity in response to environmental cues. Plant physiology
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