The ability to determine time-of-day is critical for nearly all organisms on earth. An endogenous molecular timing mechanisms called the circadian clock integrates temporal information from the sun and controls the timing of biological processes called outputs.
In plants, circadian clock studies have focused on a series of transcriptional regulators that connect to output processes by controlling gene expression. Our lab aims to understand how the circadian clock controls protein levels to connect to critical output processes. To do this we use genetics and mass spectrometry to investigate how plant clocks use ubiquitin to direct rhythmic protein degradation in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
Why do we study circadian clocks?
Plants use the circadian clock to tell what time it is and also determine the proper season for reproduction. Because our global environment is changing rapidly we need to increase plasticity of agronomically important crops. By applying laboratory-gathered information on circadian mechanisms to the field we will ensure food security in the future.