In my lab, we use biochemistry, genetics, live cell imaging, phenology, and physiology to address hypothesis-driven research in plant growth and development. In my group, we investigate the roles of plant specialized compounds, including flavonoids and hormones, and other plant growth regulators in plant developmental processes and responses to the environment. My lab has four major research foci.
1. Auxin homeostasis
The plant hormone auxin influences nearly every aspect of plant growth and development. In order to be an effective signaling molecule auxin levels are tightly regulated by biosynthesis, conjugation, catabolism, compartmentation and transport. Recently, my lab characterized the two enzymes catalyzing the major catabolic product of auxin in Arabidopsis. Single mutants show mild defects affecting auxin responses and fertility. My lab has successfully isolated double mutants which show pronounced phenotypes. The basic research projects that my lab is pursuing are the role auxin oxidases in development, the fate of oxidized auxin in the cell, the combined contributions of biosynthesis, conjugation, catabolism, compartmentation and transport to auxin homeostasis. The applied research projects are to isolate auxin homeostatic modifiers in maize and optimize maize phyllotaxy which is regulated by auxin homeostasis, since maize phyllotaxy has been shown to be important for optimal growth and seed set. This work has also produced an intellectual property disclosure and a provisional patent.
2. Flavonoid function
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds, and although they are best known as scavengers of reactive oxygen species, my lab has shown that bioactive flavonoid functions include modulating enzyme activities, including auxin homeostasis, and auxin transporter function and trafficking. The basic research questions my lab is currently pursing are the function of flavonoids within the nucleus of plants and animals. Flavonoids are endogenous compounds in plants and exogenous in animals, and my lab has shown that flavonoids are present in nuclear speckles in both kingdoms. The applied research questions that my lab is pursuing are the effects of UV light and the role of UVR8 on polyphenols and shelf life in strawberries.
3. Plant growth regulators/invasive species
Plant growth regulators are important for optimizing crop yield in the crop itself and in controlling invasive species that negatively impact crop yield. Invasive species that are herbicide resistant are an emerging problem. The basic research questions are discovering the mechanisms of native and acquired resistance to auxinic herbicides in Amaranthus palmeri. For the applied research, my lab is modeling invasive potential of non-native species in agricultural and natural ecosystems in the presence of climate change, and will adapt the model for native invasive species. This work has resulted in two intellectual property disclosures. Additional work on Eucalyptus grandis and the effects of phosphate status on glyphosate uptake on the cellular and whole plant levels has informed best practices for integrated nutrient and pest management.
4. Metal-center proteins
This research focus initially began with the ability of flavonoids to directly bind redox metals, and evolved into discovering the roles of flavonoid-sensitive metal-centered proteases in plant development and the potential of metal accumulating plants to benefit society. The current basic research in my lab is on the cupin AUXIN BINDING PROTEIN 1 in auxin homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum, and the 2-oxoglutarate FeII-dependent dioxygenase family in auxin homeostasis. The current applied research is on biofuels and iron nutrition in rice and soybean.
Zhang J, Lin J, Harris C, Mastrotti Pereira F, Wu F, Blakeslee JJ, Peer WA (2016) DAO1 catalyzes temporal and tissue-specific oxidative inactivation of auxin in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 13: 11010–11015.
Cossu A, Ercan D, Wang Q, Peer WA, Nitin N, Tikekar RV. (2016) Antimicrobial effect of synergistic interaction between UV-A light and Gallic Acid against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in fresh-produce wash water and biofilm. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, DOI: 10.1016/j.ifset.2016.07.020
Yang H, Wei H, Ma G, Antunes MS, Vogt S, Cox J, Zhang X, Liu X, Bu L, Gleber SC, Carpita NC, Makowski L, Himmel ME, Tucker MP, McCann MC, Murphy AS, Peer WA. (2106). Cell wall targeted in planta iron accumulation enhances biomass conversion and seed iron concentration in Arabidopsis and rice. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 14:1998-2009. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12557
Lin C-Y, Jakes JE, Donohoe BS, Ciesielski PN, Yang H, Gleber S-C, Vogt S, Ding S-Y, Peer WA, Murphy AS, McCann MC, Himmel ME, Tucker MP, Wei H. (2016) Directed plant cell wall accumulation of iron: Embedding co-catalyst for efficient biomass conversion. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 9:225 DOI 10.1186/s13068-016-0639-2.
Kriegel A, Andrés Z, Medzihradszky A, Krüger F, Scholl S, Delang S, Patir-Nebioglu MD, Gute G, Yang H, Murphy AS, Peer WA, Pfeiffer A, Krebs M, Lohmann JU, Schumacher K (2015) Job sharing in the endomembrane system: vacuolar acidification requires the combined activity of V-ATPase and V-PPase. Plant Cell, DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.00733.
Voß U, Wilson MH, Kenobi K, Gould PD, Robertson FC, Peer WA, Lucas M, Swarup K, Casimiro I, Holman TJ, Wells DM, Péret B, Goh T, Fukaki H, Hodgman TC, Laplaze L, Halliday KJ, Ljung K, Murphy AS, Hall AJ, Webb AAR, Bennett MJ. (2015) Lateral root organ initiation re-phases the circadian clock in Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature Communications, 6: 7641. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8641
Guan L, Murphy AS, Peer WA, Gan L, Li Y, Cheng Z-M (Max) (2015) Physiological and molecular regulation of adventitious root formation. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 34, 506-521
Wei H, Yang H, Ciesielski PN, Donohoe BS, McCann MC, Murphy AS, Peer WA, Ding SY, Himmel ME, Tucker MP (2015) Transgenic ferritin overproduction enhances thermochemical pretreatments in Arabidopsis, Biomass and Bioenergy, 72: 55-64.
Peer WA, Jenness MK, Murphy AS. (2014) Measure for measure: determining, inferring and guessing auxin gradients at the root tip. Physiolgia Plantarum 151: 97–111. doi:10.1111/ppl.12182.
Yang H, Zhang X, Gaxiola RA, Xu G, Peer WA, Murphy AS. (2014). Over-expression of the Arabidopsis proton-pyrophosphatase AVP1 enhances transplant survival, root mass, and fruit development under limiting phosphorus conditions. Journal of Experimental Botany, 65: 3045-3053.
Peer WA. (2013). From perception to attenuation: auxin signalling and responses. Current Opinions in Plant Biology 64: 2629-2639. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbi.2013.08.003
Peer WA, Cheng Y, Murphy AS. (2013). Evidence of oxidative attenuation of auxin signalling. Journal of Experimental Botany 64: 2629-2639. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ert152
Yu H, Karampelias M, Robert S, Peer W, Swarup R, Ye S, Ge L, Cohen J, Murphy A, Friml J, Estelle M. (2013) ROOT UVB SENSITIVE 1/WEAK AUXIN RESPONSE 3 is essential for polar auxin transport in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 162: 965-976.
Knapp D, Peer WA, Conteh A, Diggs AR, Cooper BR, Glickman NW, Bonney PL, Stewart JC, Glickman LT, Murphy AS. (2013). Detection of herbicides in the urine of pet dogs following home lawn chemical application. Science of the Total Environment 456-457: 34-41.
Yang H, Richter GL, Wang X, Młodzińska E, Carraro N, Ma G, Jenness M, Chao D-Y, Peer WA, Murphy AS. (2012). Sterols and sphingolipids differentially function in trafficking of the Arabidopsis ABCB19 auxin transporter. The Plant Journal 74: 37-47
Murphy AS, Peer WA. (2012). Vesicle Trafficking: ROP–RIC Roundabout. Current Biology 22, R576-R578.
Peer WA (2012). Protein evolution: The enzyme perfected. Nature Chemical Biology 8: 607–608
Dweikat I, Weil C, Moose, S, Kochian L, Mosier N, Ileleji K, Brown P, Peer W, Murphy A, Tacheripour F, McCann M, Carpita N. (2012). Envisioning the transition to a next-generation biofuels industry in the Midwest. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining. 6: 376-386.
Spartz AK, Lee, SH, Wenger JP, Gonzalez N, Itoh H, Inze D, Peer WA, Murphy, AS, Overvoorde P, Gray, WM. (2012). The SAUR19 subfamily of SMALL AUXIN UP RNA genes promote cell expansion. The Plant Journal 70: 978-990.
Kubeš M, Yang H, Richter GL, Cheng Y, Młodzińska E, Wang X, Blakeslee JJ, Carraro N, Petrášek J, Zažímalová E, Hoyerová K, Peer WA, Murphy AS. (2012). The Arabidopsis concentration-dependent influx/efflux transporter ABCB4 regulates cellular auxin levels in the root epidermis. The Plant Journal 69: 640-654.
Carraro N, Peer WA (2016) "Immunolocalization of PIN and ABCB Transporters in Plants", Environmental Responses in Plants, Methods in Molecular Biology, Paula Duque, ed. Springer. pp. 55-67.
Peer WA, Murphy AS, Taiz L. (2015) “Seed Dormancy, Germination, and Seedling Establishment.” In Plant Physiology and Development, 6th ed. Taiz L, Zeiger E, Mouller IM, Murphy AS, eds. Sinaur Assoc., Inc., Sunderland, MA. pp. 513-552.
Peer WA, Beveridge C, Busov V, Murphy AS, Taiz L. (2015) “Vegetative Organogenesis.” In Plant Physiology and Development, 6th ed. Taiz L, Zeiger E, Mouller IM, Murphy AS, eds. Sinaur Assoc., Inc., Sunderland, MA. pp. 553-590.
Peer WA, Monshausen G, Murphy AS, Taiz L. (2015) “Signals and Signal Transduction.” In Plant Physiology and Development, 6th ed. Taiz L, Zeiger E, Mouller IM, Murphy AS, eds. pp. 407-446. Sinaur Assoc., Inc., Sunderland, MA.
Peer WA, Sullivan J, Christie J, Murphy AS, Taiz L. (2015) “Signals from Sunlight.” In Plant Physiology and Development, 6th ed. Taiz L, Zeiger E, Mouller IM, Murphy AS, eds. Sinaur Assoc., Inc., Sunderland, MA. pp. 447-476.
The Physiology and Genetics Laboratory uses biochemistry, genetics, live cell imaging, phenology, and physiology to address hypothesis-driven research in plant growth and development. In my group, we investigate the roles of plant specialized compounds, including flavonoids and hormones, and other plant growth regulators in plant developmental processes and responses to the environment.Current projects: 1 Auxin homeostasis in plant development 2. Flavonoid functions in the nucleus 3. Evolution and genetics of invasiveness 4. Plant growth regulators 5. Maryland Yeast Project 6. Soybeans for biofuels Please email Dr. Wendy Ann Peer regarding undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral, and summer intern positions.