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Department of Biological Sciences

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Claire Hann

Title: PhD student \ Stratmann Lab
Research Concentration - Plant biology
Department: Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
Office: CLS room 407
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Plants must protect themselves chemically from biotic stressors in their environment. Successful defense requires perceiving evidence of stress at the cell surface and responding accordingly in a specific and timely manner. In plants, like all eukaryotes, many initial stress signals are transduced to the nucleus via kinase cascades. MAP kinases at the end of these cascades can be signaling hubs for many different stress signals. The duration and intensity of kinase activity impacts the quality, specificity, and success of defense responses. MAP kinase activation regulates the activity of critical defense-related transcription factors, which in turn regulate the production of biotic defense hormones (i.e., jasmonic acid, salicylic acid) that orchestrate the production of defense compounds.

Claire's research focuses on the negative regulation of MAP kinase activity in the context of biotic defense in Arabidopsis thaliana, with much focus on herbivory and wounding. MAP kinase phosphatases de-activate MAP kinases, thereby regulating the duration and intensity of MAP kinase activity. While there are relatively few MAP kinases, there are dozens of MAP kinase-inactivating phosphatases, many of which are induced by defense signals, and some of which are always expressed. This is an area of plant defense that is not extensively studied at this time but has important implications for the functionality of MAP kinase signaling networks.

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