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Mary L. Tierney

Dr. Mary TierneyAssociate Professor of Plant Biology

Ph.D. 1983, Michigan State University

Email: Mary.Tierney@uvm.edu

Phone: 802-656-0434

Office: 313 Jeffords Hall

Research Area: cell wall structure, signaling pathways, control of gene expression

Courses Taught: Ethics in Graduate Research (PBIO 295); Introduction to Botany (PBIO 004); Genetics (BCOR 101); Cell & Molecular Biology (CMB 302); Graduate Seminar (MMG 310)

Summary of Research Program

The dynamic character of the plant cell wall provides a mechanism(s) by which plants selectively modify their extracellular matrix as a consequence of growth and differentiation. The process of cell wall assembly and metabolism contributes to changes in cell shape and function as well as defense strategies for combating biotic and abiotic stress essential for plant viability within their environment. We have previously characterized four proline-rich cell wall proteins (PRPs) in Arabidopsis using promoter/reporter gene fusions in transgenic plants and have shown that they are expressed in root hairs or guard cells. Genetic and cell biology analysis has shown that each of these proteins contribute uniquely to wall structures essential for root hair or guard cell function.

To further investigate the cellular mechanisms responsible for the PRP mutant phenotypes, we have used microarray analysis to characterize genes whose expression is altered in the prp3 root hair mutant. We have identified a number of genes involved in vesicle trafficking, transcriptional regulation and genome organization whose altered expression is linked to changes in cell wall structure. We are interested in characterizing the role of these genes in controlling cell wall structure and polarized growth in plants, using root hairs as a model system.

VTI13 is required for root hair growth and localized within the vacuole membrane and the trans-Golgi network in Arabidopsis.

Selected Publications

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