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Plant Chemetics Laboratory

University of Oxford

Welcome to the Plant Chemetics Laboratory


The Plant Chemetics lab investigates the molecular mechanisms underpinning host manipulation by plant pathogens, with a particular focus on apoplast manipulation of Solanaceous plants by bacterial microbes. Our research activities also aim at improved molecular pharming of secreted (glyco)proteins through the depletion of extracellular proteases. Unique is our approach to display protein activities by pioneering activity-based protein profiling (ABPP), a powerful functional proteomics technology that offers an exciting platform for collaborations. Please contact us if you are interested to join or collaborate!

News

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News

News


  • April 2019

    Our Science manuscript is online! An exciting discovery on the extracellular arms-race at the plant-bacterium interface.

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  • February 2019

    We celebrate the acceptance of Pierre's manuscript! A great discovery made through a great collaboration involving many labmembers. Will be online soon.

  • January 2019

    Happy 2019! New year dinner at Somerville college. Looking back to a successful 2018 and forward to an exciting 2019. Cheers!

  • December 2019

    Best poster prize for Shivani Malik! Truly exceptional, out of 1300 posters!

  • September 2018

    Lab retreat in Wales! With fantastic weather for a long hike, fun games, and an excellent scientific brainstorm.

  • September 2018

    TWO best poster awards for Emma and Kyoko at the 4th conference on Plant Proteases and PCD in Ghent! Well done both!!!

  • June 2018

    A second BBSRC grant! This time on the role of substrates of immune protease Pip1 in the infections by Phytophthora infestans.

  • May 2018

    New BBSRC grant to study the role of extracellular glycosidases in immunity!

  • April 2018

    New probes to monitor active alpha-glycosidases in plants, applied to study anthesis and infection of saffron crocus.

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  • March 2018

    We hosted the 11th International Conference on Activity-based Protein Profiling (ABPP2018) in Somerville College, Oxford: 104 participants, 30 presentations and 35 posters.

  • February 2018

    Plant Biotechn. J.: Three new protease inhibitors that boost recombinant protein expression upon agroinfiltration.

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  • January 2018

    The fruits of 25 years of R gene cloning: 314 R genes group into 9 common overarching mechanisms. Well done, Jiorgos!

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  • November 2017

    Niben secrets unlocked: Friederike Grosse-Holz published her extensive datasets on the transcriptome, extracellular proteome and active secretome of agroinfiltrated Nicotiana benthamiana in Plant Biotechn. J.

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  • November 2017

    Highly Cited Researcher 2017! Declared by Clarivate Analytics (web of science). There are only 15 UK researchers in the field of Plant & Animal Science awarded with this title.

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  • Oktober 2017

    Top personal records at Oxford half marathon! Maria (2:01:23), Judith (1:57:49), and Friederike (1:52:06). Well done, athletes!

  • September 2017

    Best seminar award!

    Jiorgos Kourelis gave the best PhD seminar the Oxford Congress of Plant Sciences!

  • September 2017

    Full Professor in Plant Sciences!

    Renier van der hoorn has been awarded the title of Full Professor in the most recent Recognition of Distinction Exercise at the University of Oxford.

  • Januari 2017

    New EU Grant: 'Newcotiana'

    A new EU grant has been awarded to the Plant Chemetics lab as part of a larget Horizon 2020-funded collaborative grant coined 'Newcotiana' on improving Nicotiana species for Molecular Pharming.

  • Maart 2017

    This video describes the activities in The Plant Chemetics Lab. A special thanks to Dr. Amjad Husaini for putting this together!!!

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  • Maart 2017

    Four new team members run the Teddy Hall Relais under the team name 'Running buffers'! Excellent time!

  • January 2017

    NEW: Subunit-selective proteasome probes. Activity profiling with these probes revealed uncoupling uf subunit activities dring Pseudomonas syrningae infection. For more infomration, See Misas-Villamil et al., Plant J. 2017 pubmed.

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  • November 2016

    Declared a Highly Cited Researcher, according to Thomson Reuters! In the UK, there are only 16 researchers in the field of Plant & Animal Science rewarded with this title.

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  • Oktober 2016

    Three team members have run the Oxford half marathon and broke their personal records. Kyoko finished at at 1:50:43, Judith at 1:56:59 and Marcel at 2:03:29 (partly on one leg). Well done everyone!!!

  • September 2016

    'Springwalk' in the Valley of the White Horse. We had fantastic weather!!!

  • August 2016

    PtoDC3000 produces Cys protease inhibitor Cip1!

    Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (PtoDC3000) produces an inhibitor targeting secreted Cys proteases of its host, tomato. We coined this chagasin-like inhibitor Cip1 and it evades recognition by the Rcr3/Cf-2 system, possibly by its low affinity for Rcr3.  This is the fourth unrelated pathogen-derived inhibitor targeting the same secreted Cys proteases of the host. Previously identified inhibitors were from a tomato-pathogenic fungus (Avr2), oomycete (EpiCs) and nematode (Vap1).

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  • April 2016

    We organized a exciting Conference on Plant Proteases in Somerville College, on 10-12 April 2016.

    These 86 participants represent >40 research groups and work on diverse topics in plant biology but face common challenges on unravelling the action and substrates of plant proteases.

  • Maart 2016

    John Fell Funding awarded to Plant Chemetics lab

    The John Fell Fund has awarded 75k£ to establish quantitative hyper-reactive cysteine profiling in Oxford and apply this technology to investigate how the proteome of a bacterial plant pathogen responds to a host-generated oxidative burst.

  • February 2016

    In ACS Chemical Biology: cofactor suppresses active site labelling.

    We uncovered a strong correlation between enzymatic activity and active site labelling for aldehyde dehydrogenases, with one remarkable exception: nicotinamide cofactors suppress active site labelling.

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  • November 2015

    Announcement of International Conference on Plant Proteases

    This 3-day conference will be held in the centre of Oxford, April 10-12 2016. For speakers, venues, registration and other information, please visit www.plantproteases2016.com.

  • Oktober 2015

    'Springwalk' in Chiltern.

    A beautiful hike in the autumn forests of the Chilterns to Nettlebed and back, 35mins from Oxford. Some trees were irresistible...

  • Oktober 2015

    Kyoko runs the Oxford half-marathon
     
     
    Kyoko Morimoto broke her personal record by crossing the finish within two hours (at 1:59:59, to be exact). Congratulations!
  • August 2015

    In Current Biology: Functional divergence of two secreted immune proteases of tomato. We show that Rcr3 and Pip1 are paralogous proteases that differ in their expression levels and exposed surface and diverged >36 mya. Pip1 is an important immune protease acting against unrelated apoplastic pathogens, while Rcr3 is a co-receptor for pathogen-derived inhibitors, playing a minor role in the absence of immune receptor Cf-2.

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  • July 2015

    NEW: On-line probe target library. We have assembled all our published probes, experiments and probe targets in a searchable database. Click here to search for labeling conditions, probes or targets.

  • Juni 2015

    In Plant Physiology: NEW probes for Cys protease subfamilies!

    We introduce new fluorescent probes for three subfamilies of Cys proteases: aleurains (ALPs), cathepsin B's (CTBs) and vacuolar processing enzymes (VPEs). These probes are widely applicable and display unexpected dynamics of Cys proteases during seed germination. See Lu et al., Plant Physiol. in press.

  • May 2015

    Fascination of Plants Day

    Judith, Luisa and Bala entertained the public (and themselves) by infiltrating plants during the Fascination of Plants Day (May 18) at the Harcourt Arboretum.

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  • April 2015

    Exciting new projects for university students!

    For biology/chemistry students for periods of 3-9 months on a diverse range of topics and using a broad variety of techniques. Please see the flyer for more information and contact Renier van der Hoorn for more information.

  • Maart 2015

    COST Meeting Chemical Proteomics
    12-14 April 2015, Oxford

    We are organizing the COST Meeting on Chemical Proteomics under the title: 'Mining the Chemical Proteome: Target discovery using chemical probes and their application in medicine and biology'. We have scheduled 25 speakers, 35 poster presentations and have over 100 participants. For more information, please download the flyer or program.

  • Oktober 2014

    GreenProtease project has started!

    This ERC-funded project has started with the arrival of Dr. Luisa Madeira in October. Friederike Grosse-Holz and Dr. Daniela Sueldo will join the GreenProtease team in November and January, respectively. Together they will unravel the proteolytic machinery of Nicotiana benthamiana by protease depletion to improve recombinant (glyco)protein production and elucidate the roles and substrates of the plant proteases. Welcome and success!

  • August 2014

    In MCP: Broad-range glycosidase profiling

    Activity-based probes for glucosidases also label the active sites of dozens of other glycosidases! We show that these probes are broadly applicable on various plants, sub-proteomes and living cells.

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  • Juni 2014

    In New Phytologist: Hydrolases precede hypersensitive tissue collapse.

    Activity-based protein profiling was used to describe the active hydrolase content of tomato seedlings undergoing hypersensitive cell death. Differential hydrolase activities precede tissue collapse and are also found in plants infected with the fungal pathogen Cladosporium fulvum.

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  • January 2014

    In Science: Potato blight lineage adapted to new host proteases.

    A collaboration with the laboratory of Sophien Kamoun (Sainsbury lab, Norwich, UK) resulted in the discovery of the molecular details of host adaptation of a Phytophthora infestans lineage that jumped onto a different host species about 1300 years ago. The protease content of this new host species is different, which forced the pathogen to adapt its protease inhibitors. A single amino acid residue exchange underpins host adaptation and is associated with a reduced ability to manipulate the proteases from the former host. Published in Science. Comments published in Science, The Scientist, and Oxford Media.

  • December 2013

    An ERC-CoG-2013 consolidator grant has been awarded to Dr. Renier van der Hoorn for his 'GreenProteases' proposal with the full title: 'The proteolytic machinery of the plant apoplast: from basic understanding to improved recombinant protein production. The EU wil sponsor this project with 2.038.196 euro for a period of 5 years.

  • September 2013

    In MCP: Monitoring the ATP binding proteome

    Many protein activities are driven by ATP hydrolysis. We monitored ATP binding activities of the Arabidopsis proteome using Acyl-ATP probes that label conserved lysine residues in ATP binding pockets. We discovered that these probes label a diversity of protein kinases, including receptor-like kinases, MAP kinases, calcium-dependent kinases and PTI-like kinases.

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  • March 2013

    In PLoS Pathogens: Pathogen enters wounds by inhibiting host proteasome

    Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae is an epiphyte that occasionally causes disease upon wounding by hail, frost, strong winds and sand storms. We discovered that these bacteria enter wound sites and colonize adjacent tissues by producing proteasome inhibitor Syringolin A (SylA). SylA diffuses from the primary infections site and blocks salicylic acid (SA) signalling in adjacent tissues, creating an SA-insensitive zone that is ready for colonization.

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  • April 2013

    In Chem & Biol: Probing functional tyrosines

    We discovered that besides serine proteases, probes based on serine protease inhibitor AEBSF also label many other proteins, often at tyrosine residues residing in active sites, indicating that these ‘reactivity probes’ highlight functional tyrosines in proteomes. Indeed, labeling of glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) occurs on a single tyrosine that is not conserved in the substrate binding site but nevertheless essential for GST function.

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  • February 2013

    In Plant J: A new tool for studying vacuolar processing enzymes

    Vacuolar processing enzymes (VPEs) are legumain-like cysteine proteases involved in programmed cell death and protein processing. We introduce a specific, activity-bases probe to detect VPE activities in living tissues of different plants and discovered that VPE activity is upregulated upon infection with an oomycete pathogen. Interestingly, oomycete infection benefits from VPEs, probably by supporting their biotrophic lifestyle.

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  • February 2013

    In Chem & Biol: Tracing bacterial effector in action

    Plant pathogenic bacteria manipulate their host by injecting effector proteins. One of these effectors is AvrPphB, a cysteine protease that cleaves host kinases involved in immunity. Inspired by the unique substrate cleavage specificity of AvrPphB, we designed an activity-based probe that targets this protease. We used this probe to demonstrate that the prodomain of AvrPphB is required for secretion and its removal required of activity in the host cell.

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Research

Research


Our four main research themes

Our research is centered around investigating the roles of apoplastic (extracellular) hydrolases. From a plant biology perspective we study the manipulation of apoplastic hydrolases by microbes and unravel pathogen recognition in the apoplast, focussed on Rcr3 and Cf-2 of tomato. From the technology perspective we pioneer ABPP in plant science and use this to study hydrolase activities and provide a collaboration platform for the plant science community. From the perspective of applied science, we control the activities of apoplastic proteases to improve molecular pharming.

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Group leader

Group leader


Professor Renier A. L. van der Hoorn

Head of Plant Chemetics lab.
Professor in Plant Sciences at the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford.
Tutor in Plant Sciences at Somerville College of the University of Oxford

Tel: +44 1865 275077 (office)
Tel: +44 1865 275811 (lab)
Fax: +44 1865 275074
E-mail: renier.vanderhoorn[a]plants.ox.ac.uk
Google Scholar

Renier Adrianus Leonardus van der Hoorn was born in Leiden in 1971 and was fascinated by plant biology from early childhood. He studied chemistry at Leiden University and focused soon on plant molecular biology and biochemistry. After his graduation in 1996, he started his PhD in Molecular Phytopathology (Wageningen University, Prof. Dr. Pierre de Wit), where he worked on the tomato Cf resistance proteins. He continued working on Cf proteins in Wageningen as a postdoc, and started his own research program by introducing and applying activity-based protein profiling in plants. To further develop the technology he joined the phosphoproteomics group of Dr. Scott Peck for one year (Sainsbury lab, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK). He initiated the Plant Chemetics lab in October 2005 at the Max Planck Institutes of Cologne and Dortmund as part of the Chemical Genomics Centre of the Max Planck Society. His research group operated independently from the departments at the Max Planck Institutes while he trained twelve MSc students, nine PhD students, eleven postdocs and hosted over 30 visiting scientists. Since October 2013 he is Associate Professor and since 2017 Full Professor at the Department of Plant Sciences of the University of Oxford, and Tutor in Plant Sciences at Somerville College. His research focusses on the use of chemical proteomics to uncover novel host manipulation mechanisms employed by microbes when colonizing the apoplast.

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Address

The Plant Chemetics laboratory
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3RB
United Kingdom