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BB40191: Sensory and signalling networks in plants

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2018/9
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Biology & Biochemistry
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
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: In order to take this unit it is essential that you have a knowledge of plant biochemistry and physiology.
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
To provide a molecular and biochemical understanding of sensory mechanisms in higher and lower plants that enables 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:
* provide and in-depth knowledge of why and how plants monitor their environment and the consequences of failing to do so;
* demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the molecular and biochemical mechanisms by which plants sense and respond to changes in light, temperature, water, nutrients, abiotic stresses and to other organisms;
* analyse how sensory mechanisms have evolved to meet specific requirements of plants;
* demonstrate an depth understanding of the modular nature of environmental signalling systems in plants;
* critically evaluate 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:

BB40191 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Biology & Biochemistry