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L. Erickson Lab
dept. of biological sciences
salisbury university
salisbury, md

Current research projects

Signal transduction in plants

DNA fingerprinting of wild grapevines

One of our mutants
(Arabidopsis thaliana)

Wine grapes growing on research plot

Signal transduction pathways regulate gene expression in response to diverse environmental cues involving light, water, nutrient levels, etc. Many molecular signaling pathways use second-messenger molecules that relay signals from receptors on the cell surface to target molecules inside the cell, in the cytoplasm, or nucleus. We aim to understand better signaling pathways involving the second-messenger inositol triphosphate (IP3) in plants. Both animal and plant cells contain IP3 phosphatases enzymes that remove phosphates from IP3 to terminate signaling. In humans, mutations in genes encoding inositol phosphatases are involved in diseases such as Lowe syndrome, cancer, and myotubular myopathy, and certain IP3 phosphatases are targets of lithium, the primary treatment for Bipolar Disorder. In collaboration with Glenda Gillaspy's laboratory at Virginia Tech, we have shown that At5PTase13 regulates signaling pathways involving nutrient availability and the hormones abscisic acid and auxin. We are currently working toward understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in these signaling pathways by identifying proteins that physically interact with At5PTase13.