Dr Ulrike Bechtold
|Associate Professor in the Department of Biosciences|
I studied biology at the University of Giessen in Germany, and in 1998 moved to the UK for a PhD project at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. I started my research career characterising PEPTIDE METHIONINE SULFOXIDE REDUCTASE gene family, which reverses methionine oxidation, a post-translational modification, in Arabidopsis. This project started my interest in environmental stress, and I then continued as a postdoc at the University of Essex to investigate drought and heat stress signalling pathways in Arabidopsis and oilseed rape. In 2006 an EMBO short term fellowship led me to the University of Utrecht to investigate the role of HEAT SHOCK TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS in pathogen responses. This was followed by a BBSRC funded project systems biology project (SABR initiative) where I used gene regulatory network modelling to identify novel drought regulatory genes.
I started my academic career as a Lecturer in 2011 at the University of Essex, to building a research portfolio in drought stress and plant water use. My lab has developed a water use proxy trait for the evaluation of natural variation and genetic mapping of drought response and water use traits, which we have since applied to study natural variation in Brassica crops. More recently we have used evolutionary genomics approach to highlight the role of novel genes in the evolution of terrestrialisation, and to determine the modes of evolution of key anatomical features essential for water uptake and transport in plants.
I moved to the Durham University take up a position as Associate Professor of Plant Molecular Biology in March 2022, where I will continue to work on the integration of plant growth and stress signalling pathways in response to drought stress.
2021: Seed Meetings programme of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom: Plants in times of Climate change. Defining the role of redox and kinase signalling pathways in controlling plant growth under environmental stress (Co-Applicant Dr Christian Meyer, INRAE-AgroParisTech-University Paris Saclay)
2021: Royal Society International Exchanges Round 1: The role of a Domain of Unknown Function protein in chloroplast and mitochondrial retrograde signalling pathways. University of Helsinki (Co-Applicant Dr Saijaliisa Kangasjärvi)
2019: The Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2018-230). Flipping the switch; regulating protein synthesis in response to stress. (Joint-PIs, Dr Bechtold, Dr Prischi), £237,496.
2019: EU (Interreg funding) - Developing hydroponic systems for vegetables sown at high density Hy4Dense (Lead Prof Tracy Lawson), €340,000
2019: British Council (Newton Bhabha PhD fellowship) Characterization of genes identified through activation tagging in Oryza sativa ssp. Indica cv. Samba Mahsuri for abiotic stress tolerance £10,180
2018: BBSRC Newton Fund (BB/R019819/1): Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability. India-UK collaboration comprising of seven institutions in the UK and ten institutions in India. (Lead University of York, Prof Bancroft), £196,142.
2016: NERC (NE/P002374/1): Identifying the mechanisms and resource use implications of acclimation to high temperature in marine cyanobacteria. (Co-PI, Lead Prof Richard Geider, Essex) £799,133.
2016: The Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2015-176). Sugar signalling during drought stress. £229,949.
2012: EU consortium - framework 7 (EU KBBE-2011). Integrated approach to studying effects of combined biotic and abiotic stress in crop plants €386,725.
2012: BBSRC - CASE award. Natural variation of water productivity and drought tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. £92,173.
2012: BBSRC India exchange programme (BB/J02063X/1) Transfer of Regulatory Genes from Arabidopsis to Indian Mustard for Drought Tolerance and Yield Increase, £23,508.
My research focuses on understanding plant stress responses with an emphasis on heat and drought. I use a wide range of approaches to study several different aspects of stress responses and signalling pathways at different levels:
• Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation
• Post-translational modifications
• Comparative genomics
• Evolution of genomes and quantitative trait architecture
- Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology
- Molecular Plant Sciences
- 2022: : Committee member of the Society of Biochemistry, Research Area III 2018 – 2022
Member of the Animal, Microbial and Plant Biology Panel, French National Research Council, (ANR) 2017-2019
- Bowles, Alexander M. C., Paps, Jordi & Bechtold, Ulrike (2022). Water‐related innovations in land plants evolved by different patterns of gene cooption and novelty. New Phytologist 235(2): 732-742.
- Bowles, A.M.C., Paps, J. & Bechtold, U. (2022). Water-related innovations in land plants evolved by different patterns of gene cooption and novelty. New Phytologist 235(2): 732-742.
- Obomighie, I., Lapenas, K., Murphy, B.E., Bowles, A.M.C., Bechtold, U. & Prischi, F. (2021). The Role of Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases in Plant Homeostasis. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences 8.
- Alvarez-Fernandez, R., Penfold, C.A., Galvez-Valdivieso, G., Exposito-Rodriguez, M., Stallard, E.J., Bowden, L., Moore, J.D., Mead, A., Davey, P.A., Matthews, J.S.A., Beynon, J., Buchanan-Wollaston, V., Wild, D.L., Lawson, T., Bechtold, U., Denby, K.J. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2021). Time-series transcriptomics reveals a BBX32-directed control of acclimation to high light in mature Arabidopsis leaves. Plant Journal 107(5): 1363-1386.
- Bowles, A.M.C., Bechtold, U. & Paps, J. (2020). The Origin of Land Plants Is Rooted in Two Bursts of Genomic Novelty. Current Biology 30(3): 530-536.e2.
- Ferguson, J., Meyer, R., Edwards, K., Humphry, M., Brendel, O. & Bechtold, U. (2019). Accelerated flowering time reduces lifetime water use without penalizing reproductive performance in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell and Environment 42(6): 1847-1867.
- Chaplin, A.K., Chernukhin, I. & Bechtold, U. (2019). Profiling of advanced glycation end products uncovers abiotic stress-specific target proteins in Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany 70(2): 653-670.
- Bechtold, U. & Field, B. (2018). Molecular mechanisms controlling plant growth during abiotic stress. Journal of Experimental Botany 69(11): 2753-2758.
- Bechtold, U., Ferguson, J.N. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2018). To defend or to grow: Lessons from Arabidopsis C24. Journal of Experimental Botany 69(11): 2809-2821.
- Ferguson, J.N., Humphry, M., Lawson, T., Brendel, O. & Bechtold, U. (2018). Natural variation of life-history traits, water use, and drought responses in Arabidopsis. Plant Direct 2(1).
- Dickinson, E., Rusilowicz, M.J., Dickinson, M., Charlton, A.J., Bechtold, U., Mullineaux, P.M. & Wilson, J. (2018). Integrating transcriptomic techniques and k-means clustering in metabolomics to identify markers of abiotic and biotic stress in Medicago truncatula. Metabolomics 14(10).
- Albihlal, W.S., Irabonosi, O., Blein, T., Persad, R., Chernukhin, I., Crespi, M., Bechtold, U. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2018). Arabidopsis HEAT SHOCK TRANSCRIPTION FACTORA1b regulates multiple developmental genes under benign and stress conditions. Journal of Experimental Botany 69(11): 2847-2862.
- Bechtold, U. (2018). Plant life in extreme environments: How do you improve drought tolerance? Frontiers in Plant Science 9.
- Bechtold, U., Penfold, C.A., Jenkins, D.J., Legaie, R., Moore, J.D., Lawson, T., Matthews, J.S.A., Vialet-Chabrand, S.R.M., Baxter, L., Subramaniam, S., Hickman, R., Florance, H., Sambles, C., Salmon, D.L., Feil, R., Bowden, L., Hill, C., Baker, N.R., Lunn, J.E., Finkenstädt, B., Mead, A., Buchanan-Wollaston, V., Beynon, J., Rand, D.A., Wild, D.L., Denby, K.J., Ott, S., Smirnoff, N. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2015). Time-series transcriptomics reveals that AGAMOUS-LIKE22 affects primary metabolism and developmental processes in drought-stressed arabidopsis. Plant Cell 28(2): 345-366.
- Yates, S.A., Chernukhin, I., Alvarez-Fernandez, R., Bechtold, U., Baeshen, M., Baeshen, N., Mutwakil, M.Z., Sabir, J., Lawson, T. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2014). The temporal foliar transcriptome of the perennial C3 desert plant Rhazya stricta in its natural environment. BMC Plant Biology 14(1).
- Lawson, T., Davey, P.A., Yates, S.A., Bechtold, U., Baeshen, M., Baeshen, N., Mutwakil, M.Z., Sabir, J., Baker, N.R. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2014). C3 photosynthesis in the desert plant Rhazya stricta is fully functional at high temperatures and light intensities. New Phytologist 201(3): 862-873.
- Bechtold, U., Albihlal, W.S., Lawson, T., Fryer, M.J., Sparrow, P.A.C., Richard, F., Persad, R., Bowden, L., Hickman, R., Martin, C., Beynon, J.L., Buchanan-Wollaston, V., Baker, N.R., Morison, J.L., Schöffl, F., Ott, S. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2013). Arabidopsis HEAT SHOCK TRANSCRIPTION FACTORA1b overexpression enhances water productivity, resistance to drought, and infection. Journal of Experimental Botany 64(11): 3467-3481.
- Lapin, D., Meyer, R.C., Takahashi, H., Bechtold, U. & Van den Ackerveken, G. (2012). Broad-spectrum resistance of Arabidopsis C24 to downy mildew is mediated by different combinations of isolate-specific loci. New Phytologist 196(4): 1171-1181.
- Bechtold, U., Lawson, T., Mejia-Carranza, J., Meyer, R.C., Brown, I.R., Altmann, T., Ton, J. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2010). Constitutive salicylic acid defences do not compromise seed yield, drought tolerance and water productivity in the Arabidopsis accession C24. Plant, Cell and Environment 33(11): 1959-1973.
- Waring, J., Klenell, M., Bechtold, U., Underwood, G.J.C. & Baker, N.R. (2010). Light-induced responses of oxygen photoreduction, reactive oxygen species production and scavenging in two diatom species. Journal of Phycology 46(6): 1206-1217.
- Bechtold, U., Rabbani, N., Mullineaux, P.M. & Thornalley, P.J. (2009). Quantitative measurement of specific biomarkers for protein oxidation, nitration and glycation in Arabidopsis leaves. Plant Journal 59(4): 661-671.
- Bechtold, U., Richard, O., Zamboni, A., Gapper, C., Geisler, M., Pogson, B., Karpinski, S. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2008). Impact of chloroplastic- and extracellular-sourced ROS on high light-responsive gene expression in Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany 59(2): 121-133.
- Flors, C., Fryer, M.J., Waring, J., Reeder, B., Bechtold, U., Mullineaux, P.M., Nonell, S., Wilson, M.T. & Baker, N.R. (2006). Imaging the production of singlet oxygen in vivo using a new fluorescent sensor, Singlet Oxygen Sensor Green®. Journal of Experimental Botany 57(8): 1725-1734.
- Bechtold, U., Karpinski, S. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2005). The influence of the light environment and photosynthesis on oxidative signalling responses in plant-biotrophic pathogen interactions. Plant, Cell and Environment 28(8): 1046-1055.
- Bechtold, U., Murphy, D.J. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2004). Arabidopsis peptide methionine sulfoxide reductase2 prevents cellular oxidative damage in long nights. Plant Cell 16(4): 908-919.
- Ball, L., Accotto, G.-P., Bechtold, U., Creissen, G., Funck, D., Jimenez, A., Kular, B., Leyland, N., Mejia-Carranza, J., Reynolds, H., Karpinski, S. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2004). Evidence for a direct link between glutathione biosynthesis and stress defense gene expression in arabidopsis W inside a box sign. Plant Cell 16(9): 2448-2462.
- Gustavsson, N., Kokke, B.P.A., Härndahl, U., Silow, M., Bechtold, U., Poghosyan, Z., Murphy, D., Boelens, W.C. & Sundby, C. (2002). A peptide methionine sulfoxide reductase highly expressed in photosynthetic tissue in Arabidopsis thaliana can protect the chaperone-like activity of a chloroplast-localized small heat shock protein. Plant Journal 29(5): 545-553.
- Bechtold, U., Pahlich, E. & Lea, P.J. (1998). Methionine sulphoximine does not inhibit pea and wheat glutamate dehydrogenase. Phytochemistry 49(2): 347-354.