University of Dundee

CSC - Regulating plant architecture and development through Receptor-like kinase S-acylation

S-acylation is an emerging lipid based post-translational modification affecting up to 40% of membrane proteins. We have found that S-acylation in plants is a dynamic process allowing for regulation of protein function.

We have demonstrated that Receptor-like kinases, the main means by which plants perceive extracellular stimuli such as pathogens, symbiotes, hormones and cell wall status, are regulated by S-acylation.

We currently study proteomic strategies for identifying dynamically S-acylated proteins, investigate the enzymology of S-acylation and determine the mechanisms by which S-acylation regulates protein function. We are particularly interested in examining how S-acylation controls Receptor-like kinases that regulate plant development with a view to manipulating S-acylation for agricultural gain. We therefore have a range of potential projects, ranging from proteomics and biochemistry to developmental physiology and evolution, which can be offered depending on the desires of the applicant.

Students in the lab will have the opportunity to learn analysis of S-acylation, protein biochemistry, molecular biology, plant transformation, plant physiology, proteomics, cell biology and enzymology.

Interested candidates are invited to contact Dr. Piers Hemsley ( before application to discuss potential projects.

Suggested reading:

  1. Hurst et al (2019) Scientific Reports 9(1):12818
  2. Turnbull and Hemsley (2017) Curr Opin Plant Biol. 40:63-70.
  3. Cowan et al (2018) Plant Physiol. 176(3):2052-2070.