Prof Ray Dixon
Ray investigates the process of nitrogen fixation in free-living bacteria, how this is regulated and how to use this knowledge to enhance agricultural productivity.
He is investigating the minimal set of bacterial nitrogen fixation genes that can be expressed in a plant to produce active nitrogenase.
Ray is also interested in understanding the genetic regulation of nitrogen fixation in plant associated bacteria, in order to stimulate release of fixed nitrogen that can be assimilated by cereal crops.
- Genetic regulation of nitrogen fixation
- Understanding the signalling pathways which regulate nitrogen fixation genes
- Enhancing agricultural productivity through nitrogen fixation
The ability of bacteria to respond to a multitude of environmental signals and integrate these signals to trigger adaptive responses provides a successful strategy for survival in rapidly changing environments. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which these signals are perceived and integrated is the main aim of our work.
The group’s major emphasis is on signal transduction cascades that regulate nitrogen fixation genes in response to oxygen, metal availability and fixed nitrogen status. These signalling mechanisms ensure efficient survival in nitrogen-depleted environments, but also can be potentially manipulated to increase fixed nitrogen supplied to crops.
The group are also using synthetic biology approaches to define the minimal set of genetic determinants for nitrogen fixation that can be expressed in a eukaryotic host to produce active nitrogenase, with the long-term aim of engineering nitrogen fixation in cereals.
ContactTel: 01603 450747
Managing the microbes – the key to solving the global nitrogen crisisread more
John Innes Centre leading partner in new UK - Brazil Virtual Joint Centreread more
Progress towards sustainable, biological nitrogen fixationread more
Modular electron-transport chains from eukaryotic organelles function to support nitrogenase activity
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 pE2460-E2465
Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1620058114
Deciphering the Principles of Bacterial Nitrogen Dietary Preferences: a Strategy for Nutrient Containment
mBio 7 pe00792-16
Publisher’s version: 10.1128/mBio.00792-16
Microbiology & Molecular Biology Reviews 79 p419-35
Publisher’s version: 10.1128/MMBR.00038-15
Reconstruction and minimal gene requirements for the alternative iron-only nitrogenase in Escherichia coli.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 pE3718-3725
Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1411185111
A minimal nitrogen fixation gene cluster from Paenibacillus sp. WLY78 enables expression of active nitrogenase in Escherichia coli.
PLoS Genetics 9 pe1003865
Publisher’s version: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003865
Frontiers in microbiology 9 p472
Publisher’s version: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00472
Hierarchical interactions between Fnr orthologs allows fine-tuning of transcription in response to oxygen in Herbaspirillum seropedicae
Nucleic Acids Research 46 (8) p39533966
Publisher’s version: 10.1093/nar/gky142
Diazotrophic Growth Allows Azotobacter vinelandii To Overcome the Deleterious Effects of a glnE Deletion.
Applied and environmental microbiology 83 pe00808-17
Publisher’s version: 10.1128/AEM.00808-17
Novel insights into ecological distribution and plant growth promotion by nitrogen-fixing endophytes - how specialised are they?
Environmental microbiology reports 9 p179-181
Publisher’s version: 10.1111/1758-2229.12529
Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 62 p483-504
Publisher’s version: 10.1098/rsbm.2016.0006
- Dr Corinne Appia-Ayme Postdoctoral Scientist
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