Daniel joined the University of Birmingham in 2013 as a Birmingham Fellow. His research is focused on investigating how plants use targeted protein degradation as a mechanism for sensing and responding to developmental and environmental signals, and how this coordinates growth, development and stress response.
2004 - BSc Biological Sciences (Genetics), University of Birmingham
2005 – MSc Applied Genetics, University of Birmingham
2009 – PhD Plant molecular biology, University of Birmingham
After completing his undergraduate and master’s studies at the University of Birmingham, Daniel stayed on to complete a PhD with Dr. Juliet Coates, where he investigated the proteolytic control of key regulators of root branching in Arabidopsis. In 2009 he moved to the lab of Prof. Michael Holdsworth at the University of Nottingham, where he studied the role of the N-end rule pathway of protein degradation during plant development. This work led to the discovery of the importance of this pathway for the perception of oxygen in plants. In 2012 he was awarded and independent Nottingham Advanced Research Fellowship to develop his research independence, and in October 2013 he returned to the University of Birmingham to establish his own research group as a Birmingham Fellow.
We use molecular, genetic, physiology and biochemical approaches to investigate how plants use targeted protein degradation as a mechanism for sensing and responding to diverse developmental and environmental signals. The general aim of our work is to increase our understanding of how plants develop and respond to the environment, and to identify promising targets that can be manipulated in agriculturally important crops to improve growth, productivity and stress tolerance.
Proteins are major functional components of cells, and the regulation of their turnover is essential for controlling cellular responses and developmental outputs. In plants, targeted proteolysis has important roles in sensing and coordinating responses to internal developmental cues (e.g. phytohormones, such as auxin) and environmental signals (e.g. oxygen availability). The "N-end rule pathway" is an ancient and highly evolutionarily conserved proteolytic system that targets proteins for destruction based on the nature of their N-terminus (the beginning of the protein). We recently identified the first substrates of this pathway in the plant kingdom, and showed that they mediate plant perception and response to low oxygen stress (hypoxia), a situation that frequently occurs during floods (Gibbs et al. 2011 Nature). This is the first example of a direct molecular mechanism for oxygen sensing in plants, and represents a major breakthrough for the future development of flood-tolerant crops, a key focus for food security. This highlights the importance of N-end rule-mediated protein degradation in plants, and our ongoing studies suggest that the N-end rule plays a key role in a wide range of other developmental and physiological processes.
Current research is focused on characterizing novel ‘branches’ and protein substrates of the N-end rule pathway in Arabidopsis, with a particular focus on linking the control of protein stability to agriculturally important developmental processes and abiotic stress responses. Furthermore, our studies aim to provide insight into the evolution of signal transduction mechanisms in multicellular organisms.
Member of the International Society of Plant Anaerobiosis (ISPA)
Recipient of the 2013 ISPA “Outstanding Scientist” award, presented at the 11th international ISPA conference, held at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines.
Please see Dr. Gibbs’ Google Scholar profile
Bailey-Serres J, Fukao T, Gibbs DJ, Holdsworth MJ, Lee SC, Licausi F, Perata P, Voesenek LA, van Dongen JT (2012) Making sense of low oxygen sensing. Trends Plant Sci.17(3):129-38
Gibbs DJ, Lee SC, Isa NM, Gramuglia S, Fukao T, Bassel GW, Correia CS, Corbineau F, Theodoulou FL, Bailey-Serres J, Holdsworth MJ (2011) Homeostatic response to hypoxia is regulated by the N-end rule pathway in plants. Nature. 479(7373):415-8
Bassel GW, Lan H, Glaab E, Gibbs DJ, Gerjets T, Krasnogor N, Bonner AJ, Holdsworth MJ, Provart NJ (2011) Genome-wide network model capturing seed germination reveals coordinated regulation of plant cellular phase transitions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108(23):9709-14
Nibau C, Gibbs DJ, Bunting KA, Moody LA, Smiles EJ, Tubby JA, Bradshaw SJ, Coates JC (2011) ARABIDILLO proteins have a novel and conserved domain structure important for the regulation of their stability. Plant Mol Biol. 75(1-2):77-92.
Nibau C*, Gibbs DJ*, Coates JC (2008) Branching out in new directions: the control of root architecture by lateral root formation. New Phytol. 179(3):595-614. *Joint first author.