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Webb Group: Mechanism controlling the propagation of Ca2+ signals in plants


Supervisor: Alex Webb (Plant Sciences)

Professor Webb is happy to discuss projects in detail with potential applicants.


In collaboration with Professor Paul Dupree, we have discovered that extracellular arabinogalactan proteins are required for the generation of cell-cell Ca2+ waves in the roots of Arabidopsis (Lopez-Henandez et al. 2020 Plant Cell Online Early). We hypothesise that these AGP proteins acts as capacitors which release Ca2+ when the extracellular pH is acidified to cause a flux of Ca2+ into the cytosol, which propagates a cell-to-cell Ca2+ wave. We now wish to perform detailed experiments testing this hypothesis using a range of Ca2+ reporters that will allow whole plant and single cell imaging of cytosolic and apoplastic free Ca2+. We have generated AGP loss-of-function mutants providing the first opportunity to determine the purpose of cell-cell Ca2+ waves in the biology of the plant and the mechanisms by which they occur. The student will determine which signalling pathways the AGPs contribute to, the mechanisms by which this occurs and how interfering with Ca waves using the AGP mutants affects the biology of the plant. This project will include single cell Ca imaging, physiological analysis and RNAseq.




The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.