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BB30129: Sensory and signalling networks in plants

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Biology & Biochemistry
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: ES 20%, EX 80%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Essay (ES 20%)
  • Examination (EX 80%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this unit you must take BB20030 or take BB20031
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
To provide a molecular and biochemical understanding of sensory mechanisms in higher and lower plants that enable them to monitor and respond to changes in their environment. To illustrate the modular nature of sensory mechanisms by comparing environmental signalling in plants with a range of other organisms from fungi to mammals.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this course the student should be able to:
* explain why and how plants monitor their environment and the consequences of failing to do so;
* explain the molecular and biochemical nature of mechanism by which plants sense and respond to changes in light, temperature, water, nutrients, abiotic stresses and to other organisms;
* explain how sensory mechanisms have evolved to meet specific requirements of plants;
* demonstrate in depth understanding of the modular nature of environmental signalling systems in plants;
* make objective assessments of how environmental signalling might be improved or exploited for the benefit of agriculture and horticulture.

Learning and studying T/F/A, Written communication T/F/A, Information handling & retrieval T/F/A, Working independently T/F.

The course will consider environmental signals that plants monitor and respond to in order to thrive. These include light, temperature, water, nutrients, abiotic stresses and other organisms. The mechanisms which higher and lower plants have evolved to monitor and respond to light intensity, quality, direction and periodicity will be described at the molecular level. Key light signalling components also exist in other organisms and the comparative biology of these will be considered. Sensory mechanisms for essential nutrients such as nitrate and sugars will be described and contrasted with similar mechanisms in other organisms. Perception of, and adaptive responses to, abiotic stresses such as salinity and drought will be considered at both molecular and holistic levels. The importance of abiotic stress management to crop productivity will also be explored. Responses to temperature will include the role of vernalization in controlling flowering time, and parallels between heat shock mechanisms in plants and animals. Signalling between plants and other organisms will concentrate on plant-insect interactions, and on the complex symbiotic relationship between legumes and Rhizobium bacteria. The role and action of plant hormones in relaying environmental information will be described in relation to interactions with nutrient and light signals.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

BB30129 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Biology & Biochemistry
  • USBB-AFB02 : BSc(Hons) Biochemistry (Year 3)
  • USBB-AKB06 : BSc(Hons) Biochemistry with Professional Placement (Year 4)
  • USBB-AFB03 : BSc(Hons) Biology (Year 3)
  • USBB-AKB07 : BSc(Hons) Biology with Professional Placement (Year 4)
  • USBB-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Molecular and Cellular Biology (Year 3)
  • USBB-AKB08 : BSc(Hons) Molecular and Cellular Biology with Professional Placement (Year 4)

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.