By training I am a plant physiologist, but like most biologists, the recent rise of genetic technologies has revolutionised my research, so that now I also work in the more molecular areas.
My core research is aimed at understanding how plants regulate the transport of water, sugars and salts. Like the human genome, the genetic information of many plants has been sequenced, but like humans we know very little about what the all the DNA does. To find out, we genetically modify plants to understand the function of the different genes. Our work has many applications, from producing agricultural plants that are more tolerant of salt and drought, through to those that are less palatable to herbivores such as aphids.
Research Theme within School of Biosciences: Organisms and Environment
Understanding plants in changing environments
We are interested in the physiological and biochemical processes which control plant growth at both cellular and whole plant level, and how changes in the environment alter this. We are interested in how the composition of plant compartments such as the xylem and phloem are regulated.
Our interest in the phloem in particular has developed our research into the area of plant - insect interaction as model systems to study defence against herbivores and other pathogens. Sap feeding pests such as aphids are predicted to become more important as climate change accelerates so novel control methods will be needed â€“ one strategy is to modifying phloem composition to determine its effect on aphids.
Techniques for the measurement of turgor, osmotic pressure and solutes in single cells are central. Additionally, the use of specific insects allows access to phloem (aphid stylectomy) and xylem (spittle bugs). We use molecular techniques to analyse environmentally (stress) induced changes in gene expression (RT-PCR and transcriptomics). Candidate genes are investigated using gene knockout mutants in Arabidopsis to determine the role of individual genes in a range of biotic and abiotic interactions.
We have had going collaborations with industry including Syngenta in the area of plant insect interaction and Humber VHB in projects aiming to optimise nutrient transport in greenhouse grown crops.
Pritchard J, Ford-Lloyd B and Newbury HJl (2005) Roots as an Integrated Part of the Translocation Pathway In 'Vascular Transport in Plants' Eds: N.M. Holbrook and M. Zwieniecki, Elsevier/AP co-imprint, Oxford
Xunlin Zhu, P. Nicholas Shaw, Jeremy Pritchard, John Newbury, Emma J. Hunt, David A. Barrett (2005) Amino acid analysis by micellar electrokinetic chromatography with laser-induced fluorescence detection: Application to nanolitre-volume biological samples from Arabidopsis thaliana and Myzus persicae. Electrophoresis 26, 911-919
A.J. Karley, D.A. Ashford, L.M. Minto, J. Pritchard and A.E. Douglas (2005) The significance of gut sucrase activity for osmoregulation in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum Journal of Insect Physiology 51, 1313-1319
Hall D, Evans AR, Newbury HJ, Pritchard J (2006) Functional analysis of CHX21: a putative sodium transporter in Arabidopsis Journal of Experimental Botany 57, 1201-1210
Pritchard J 2006 Preface to phloem-insect interaction Journal of Experimental Botany 57, 728-728
Douglas AE, Price DRG, Minto LB, Jones E, Pescod KV, Francois CLMJ, Pritchard J, Boonham N (2006) Sweet problems: insect traits defining the limits to dietary sugar utilisation by the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum Journal of Experimental Biology 209, 1395-1403.
Emma J Hunt, J Pritchard, MJ Bennett, X Zhu, DA Barrett, T Allen, Bale JS and HJ Newbury (2006) The Arabidopsis thaliana/Myzus persicae model system demonstrates that a single gene can influence the interaction between a plant and a sucking insect pest. Molecular Ecology. 15, 4203.
C. Doering-Saad , H.J. Newbury, C.E. Couldridge, J.S. Bale and J. Pritchard(2006) A phloem-enriched cDNA library from Ricinus: insights into phloem function Journal of Experimental Botany 55, 3183-3193.
Lan Wang, David Hukin, Jeremy Pritchard, Colin Thomas (2006) Comparison of plant cell turgor pressure measurement by pressure probe and micromanipulation, Biotechnology Letters, 28, 1147-1150
Wang, C. X., Pritchard, J., Thomas, C. R. (2006) Investigation of the mechanics of single tomato fruit cells Journal of Texture Studies 37, 597-606
Pritchard J, Griffiths B and Hunt EJ (2007) Can the plant mediated impacts on aphids of elevated CO2 and drought be predicted? Global Change Biology 13, 1616-1629.
Pritchard J (2007) Solute transport in the Phloem In "Plant Solute Transport" Edited by: Dr Anthony Yeo and Professor Tim Flowers Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK
Couldridge CEC, Newbury HJ, Ford-Lloyd B, Bale JS and Pritchard J (2007) Exploring plant responses to aphid feeding using a full Arabidopsis microarray reveals a small number of genes with significantly altered expression Bulletin of Entomological Research www.journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=BER, 97, 523-532
Faria CA, Wäckers FL, Pritchard J, Barrett DA, Turlings TC (2007) High Susceptibility of Bt Maize to Aphids Enhances the Performance of Parasitoids of Lepidopteran Pests. PLoS ONE 2(7): e600. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000600
Stefano Gattolin, H. John Newbury, Jeffrey S. Bale, Hua-Ming Tseng, David A.Barrett, Jeremy Pritchard (2008) A Diurnal Component to the Variation in Sieve Tube Amino Acid Content in Wheat Triticum aestivum L. Plant Physiology 147: 912-921
Wang CX, Wang L, McQueen-Mason SJ, Pritchard J, Thomas CR (2008) pH and expansin action on single suspension-cultured tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) cells. Journal of Plant Research 121. 527-534.
Shakesby AJ, Wallace IS, Isaacs HV, Pritchard J, Roberts DM, Douglas AE . (2009) A water-specific aquaporin involved in aphid osmoregulation: Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 39: 1-10.
Kerton M, Newbury HJ, Hand D. Pritchard J. (2009) Accumulation of calcium in the centre of leaves of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) is due to an uncoupling of water and ion transport. Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 227-235.
Tseng, HM; Gattollin, S; Pritchard, J, Newbury HJ, Barett DA (2009) Analysis of mono-, di- and oligosaccharides by CE using a two-stage derivatization method and LIF detection Electrophoresis 30: 1399-1405.
Daniels M, Bale JS, Newbury HJ, Lind RJ, Pritchard J. (2009). A sublethal dose of thiamethoxam causes a reduction in xylem feeding by the bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi), which is associated with dehydration and reduced performance. Journal of Insect Physiology 55: 758-765
Gattolin, S Hunt, E Newbury, HJ Bale, JS Tseng, HM Barrett, DA Pritchard, J (2010) A mutation in amino acid permease AAP6 reduces the amino acid content f the Arabidopsis sieve elements but leaves aphid herbivores unaffected Journal of Experimental Botany 61: 55-64.