School of Biosciences

Image of Michael Holdsworth

Michael Holdsworth

Professor, Faculty of Science


Research Summary

Current research programmes, recent publications etc are available on the Portal for the laboratory of Professor Holdsworth: HERE

Keywords: N-degron pathways, The N-end rule pathway of ubiquitin-mediated targeted proteolysis, protein degradation, proteostasis, oxygen sensing, hypoxia, , nitric oxide (NO) sensing, plant genetics

My research work in recent years has focused on understand the importance of oxygen sensing in plants (recent review here), and discovering the roles that the N-degron pathways of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis play in regulating plant development and responses to the environment (recent review here). This included the discovery that the pathway controlled by the E3 ligase PRT6 acts as a molecular mechanism for oxygen sensing in flowering plants (Nature 2011), and as a nitric oxide sensing mechanism (Molecular Cell, 2014, Nature Communications, 2019). We showed that the pathway controls development (PNAS 2009), response to multiple abiotic (Current Biology 2017, Nature Communications 2023) and biotic stresses (BMC Plant Biology 2016, New Phytologist 2018, Plant Direct 2019), and that oxygen-sensing through this pathway is a component of skotomorphogenesis (Current Biology 2015) and mitochondrial retrograde signalling (Current Biology 2022). The pathway influences the oxygen-dependent half-life of key nuclear regulatory proteins (Nature Communications 2018, New Phytologist 2021), and manipulation of the pathway enhances water-logging tolerance in barley (Plant Biotechnology Journal 2016). The oxygen-sensing pathway contributes to geographical adaptation to humidity (Science Advances 2022), and is a key component of adaptation to absolute altitude (Nature 2022).

Current areas of interest include:

  • Characterisation of the plant N-degron pathways.
  • Understanding the role of targeted proteolysis in sensing plant-environment interactions.
  • Gasotransmitters and oxygen sensing.
  • Providing molecular resources and conceptual frameworks that plant breeders and growers can use.

Research papers highlighting these areas:

The role of N-degron pathways of targeted proteolysis in the control of plant growth and development.

Systems approaches to understanding the control of seed germination and seedling establishment.

Transfer of molecular genetic information from studies in model species, to address important agricultural problems associated with plant developmental biology and response to abiotic and biotic stress.

The Virtual Seed Web Resource

This online resource provides queryable interfaces for Gene Networks associated with seed development, dormancy and germination. Users can zoom into networks, search and highlight genes of interest and download images of network representations.

Selected Publications

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

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