Postgraduate Research

Mapping effector-triggered immune signalling by quantitative phospho-proteomics (JONESS18DTP)

Supervisor: Jonathan Jones Email Address: Course Type: PhD : 4 year Project Closing Date: 27.11.2017 Course Start Date: 01.10.2018

Plant disease resistance (R) proteins enable plants to detect specific pathogen effector molecules, and then activate defence, yet mechanisms of defence activation upon R protein activation (Effector-Triggered Immunity, or ETI) are poorly understood. Arabidopsis RPS4 and RRS1 resistance genes act together to detect two different bacterial effector proteins, AvrRps4 from Pseudomonas sp., and PopP2, an acetyltransferase, from Ralstonia sp. RPS4 is a typical TIR-NB-LRR R protein, but the RRS1 TIR-NB-LRR R protein also carries a WRKY DNA binding domain, that acts as a bait that detects the presence and/or activity of AvrRps4 and PopP2 (Williams et al 2014; 10.1126/science.1247357 Sarris et al 2015; 10.1016/j.cell.2015.04.024).
Activation of defence by RPS4/RRS1 results in rapid induction of ~40 ETI genes, including genes for salicylic acid biosynthesis, other defence enzymes and transcription regulators (Sohn et al, 2014 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004655).

The goal of the studentship is to understand how RPS4/RRS1 perception of avrRPS4 is transduced to establish ETI and to identify the signalling components involved. Advanced phospho-proteomics will be at the heart of the project in a close collaboration with the Menke group at TSL
The student will develop skills in plant genetics and molecular biology, biochemistry, and will receive excellent training and experience in proteomics. A strong interest in plant immunity and in mechanisms of signal transduction would be an advantage.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.
The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Funding Notes
Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.
Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

How to apply