Time measurement is critical in biology. Each day the Earth's rotation causes oscillations in light and temperature with a period of approximately 24 hours. Selective pressure has led to the repeated evolution of an entrainable, endogenous timekeeper that permits for the anticipation and measurement of these daily cycles. The circadian clock allows for the resonance of internal and environmental oscillations, providing an adaptive advantage through the coordination of physiology and development with daily and seasonal change. While humans monitor their watches to know when to eat, meet, and sleep, plants use their internal clock to anticipate sunrise to prepare to harvest photons, measure day-length for tracking seasonal change and to meter out resources to ensure that energy reserves last throughout the night.
The Nusinow lab uses a combination of molecular, biochemical, genetic, genomic, and proteomic tools to uncover the molecular connections between signaling networks, the circadian oscillator, and specific outputs (e.g. growth, photosynthesis, flowering, starch accumulation, and defense). Through combining these methods with a comparative proteomics approach, the lab aims to leverage the knowledge gained from the model plant Arabidopsis to other plant species.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 : Ask A Plant Scientist
Dmitri Nusinow, Ph.D. joined the Danforth Center in 2012 as an Assistant Member and Principal Investigator. His research is focused on understanding how the circadian clock is integrated with environmental signals to control growth, physiology and development. This knowledge can be used to improve the productivity of crops.