Dr Janneke Balk

Project Leader
Biological Chemistry

The research of our group is focussed on the role of metals, in particular iron, in plants and microbes. 

We aim to understand how iron cofactors are assembled in different cell compartments, using model plant species and yeasts. Ultimately, the iron that plants take up from the soil and use for their own needs is an important source of human iron nutrition.

Iron is a versatile catalyst associated with proteins in the form of iron-sulfur clusters, haem or other forms. Iron-sulfur proteins are abundant in plants, playing key roles in photosynthesis, respiration and nitrogen fixation. We have so far catalogued more than 100 confirmed and putative Fe-S proteins encoded in the Arabidopsis genome, underpinning virtually every aspect of photo-autotrophic growth. 

Our research in the past few years has led to the identification of new proteins required for iron-sulfur cluster assembly and established the interrelationship between cofactor assembly pathways in the cell.


In February 2015, Janneke presented at the launch of the Global Panel Biofortification Policy Brief hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development (APPG). Find out more and see the presentation here.

Blog: Janneke Balk shadows MEP Vicky Ford at the European Parliament

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Four billion-year-old chemistry in cells today

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Recent Publications

Schaedler T. A., Faust B., Shintre C. A., Carpenter E. P., Srinivasan V., van Veen H. W., Balk J. (2015)

Structures and functions of mitochondrial ABC transporters.

Biochemical Society Transactions 43 (5) p943-51

Publisher’s version: 10.1042/BST20150118

Ozer H. K., Dlouhy A. C., Thornton J. D., Hu J., Liu Y., Barycki J. J., Balk J., Outten C. E. (2015)

Cytosolic Fe-S Cluster Protein Maturation and Iron Regulation Are Independent of the Mitochondrial Erv1/Mia40 Import System.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 290 p2782927840

Publisher’s version: 10.1074/jbc.M115.682179

Knuesting J., Riondet C., Maria C., Kruse I., Bécuwe N., König N., Berndt C., Tourrette S., Guilleminot-Montoya J., Herrero E., Gaymard F., Balk J., Belli G., Scheibe R., Reichheld J. P., Rouhier N., Rey P. (2015)

Arabidopsis glutaredoxin S17 and its partner, the nuclear factor Y subunit C11/negative cofactor 2a, contribute to maintenance of the shoot apical meristem under long-day photoperiod.

Plant Physiology 167 p1643-58

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.15.00049

Hooks M. A., Allwood J. W., Harrison J. K., Kopka J., Erban A., Goodacre R., Balk J. (2014)

Selective induction and subcellular distribution of ACONITASE 3 reveal the importance of cytosolic citrate metabolism during lipid mobilization in Arabidopsis.

Biochemical Journal 463 p309-317

Publisher’s version: 10.1042/BJ20140430

Schaedler T. A., Thornton J. D., Kruse I., Schwarzländer M., Meyer A. J., van Veen H. W., Balk J. (2014)

A conserved mitochondrial ATP-binding cassette transporter exports glutathione polysulfide for cytosolic metal cofactor assembly.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 289 p23264-23274

Publisher’s version: 10.1074/jbc.M114.553438

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Janneke Balk

  • Dr Rob Green Research Assistant
  • Dr James Connorton Research Assistant
  • Dr Eleanor Jones Research Assistant
  • Jorge Rodriguez-Celma Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Inga Kruse Lab Attendant
  • Jennifer Walton Postgraduate Student
  • Andrew MacLean Postgraduate Student


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