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Kathrin Schrick
Division of Biology, Kansas State University

Title: Integrating lipid metabolism with regulation of gene expression in plant development

During development of a multicellular organism, metabolic pathways and gene regulation are integrated to orchestrate the events underlying cell-type differentiation. How this occurs at the molecular level involves interactions between proteins and small molecules that are outputs of the metabolic network. In plants, key regulatory proteins that control gene expression during development include homeodomain leucine zipper (HD-Zip) transcription factors that have steroidogenic acute regulatory-protein (StAR)-related lipid transfer (START) domains. I will present our recent work highlighting START domains and their functions in HD-Zip transcription factors from Arabidopsis. We are conducting protein-metabolite immunoisolation experiments to reveal putative ligands and we are additionally studying the origins of these plant-specific transcription factors in freshwater green algae. I will also present experiments that seek to image membrane lipids in situ, using choline phospholipids as a test case. Our future work will focus on refining methods to further explore the dynamic interactions between proteins and lipid metabolites during plant growth and development.

Host: Larry Griffing