Dr Myriam Charpentier

Group Leader Advancing Plant Health (APH)

Myriam works on nuclear calcium signalling in plants and how these signals are produced in response to environmental and biological stimuli.

Myriam investigates what produces the calcium oscillations which have been identified and how calcium channels control aspects of plant development, using root nodulation in response to nitrogen fixing bacteria as a model for observing nuclear calcium signalling.

  • Nuclear calcium signalling in plants
  • Ion channels and signalling in the process of root nodulation in legumes
  • Evolution of nuclear calcium machinery across the land plants

The group’s research aims to understand how plant nuclear calcium signals, elicited by biotic and abiotic stresses, are encoded and decoded to modulate plant growth and performance in diverse environments.

One of the most well-studied plant nuclear calcium responses occurs during the formation of symbiotic associations with nitrogen-fixing bacteria and phosphate-delivering arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Using root legume symbioses as a model system, Myriam discovered a number of ion channels located at the nuclear envelope that are responsible for nuclear calcium release and required for functional root legume symbioses. These channels, which belong to the cyclic nucleotide gated channel family, are the first nuclear-associated calcium channels to be discovered in plants.

Within the Plant Health ISP, their research is furthering our understanding of plant symbiotic interactions by dissecting the molecular encoding mechanism of the symbiotic factor induced nuclear calcium signaling generated by the nuclear calcium channels.

This nuclear calcium machinery is conserved across all land plants, including non-symbiotic species. Using model systems, the lab is exploring how this nuclear calcium machinery has evolved and functions across land plants.

Ultimately this knowledge will help rational modification of agronomically important plant species to improve their performance.