Title: Molecular and physiological investigations of heavy metals stress in the seagrass Zostera muelleri.
Supervisor: Professor Peter Ralph
Co-supervisors: Dr. Mathieu Pernice, Dr. Manoj Kumar
Australia is home to the largest diversity of seagrasses, and has the second largest areal extent of seagrasses having approximately 51,000 km of seagrass meadows in shallow subtidal and intertidal environments (Fourqurean et al. 2012). Unfortunately, seagrasses are declining worldwide at an alarming estimated rate of >7% p.a. (Waycott et al., 2009).
Z. muelleri can be found in large proportions in Australian coast line, as well as Papa New Guinea and New Zealand (McKenzie et al. 2006). However, It is threatened locally by coastal development according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species (Short et al. 2014).
The continuous growing level of anthropogenic expansion and consequently industrial, domestic and agricultural activities have jeopardized the survival of many marine organisms in Australia (Van Dam et al. 2008,Roach 2005) including seagrasses. The destructive effects of excessive level of heavy metals on photosynthesis and induced responses at cellular and molecular level have been extensively studied in terrestrial plants (Pätsikkä, Aro & Tyystjärvi 2001; Angelé-Martínez, Goodman & Brumaghim 2014; Angelé-Martínez, Goodman & Brumaghim 2014; Kráľová, Šeršeň & Blahová 1994; Yruela 2005)
In contrast, only a few studies have reported the effects of excessive level of heavy metals on seagrasses so far ( Prange & Dennison 2000; Ralph & Burchett 1998; Macinnis-Ng & Ralph 2002). Hence, this proposed PhD project will take a major step forward in terms of our understanding of how seagrasses respond to excessive level of heavy metals at the molecular level.
The aim of this PhD project is to elucidate how excessive level of heavy metals can affect the health of seagrasses through its effect on photosynthesis efficiency, cellular pathways and related gene and protein expressions. By identifying the molecular and cellular mechanisms driving Z. muelleri stress response to excessive level of heavy metals, this project will help (i) to better understand why seagrass meadows are declining globally but also (ii) to identify stress markers for Z. muelleri .
The objectives for this project include:
- Identifying the effect of excessive level of heavy metals on photobiology of Z. muelleri.
- Studying the impact of high heavy metals concentration on Z. muelleri at the molecular level.
- Identifying potential pathways in Z. muelleri that response to excessive level of heavy metals.
1. Shah Mohammadi, N., Pernice, M., Ralph, P. Assessment of heavy metals accumulation and toxicity in seagrasses: a review. Manuscript submitted to Marine Pollution Bulletin.
2. Leiw C.W, Hynson R., Ganuelas, L., Shah Mohammadi N., Doan A., Duff A., Kojima S., Homma M., Lee L. Solution structure analysis of the periplasmic region of bacterial flagellar motor stators by small angle X-ray scattering. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (2017).
3. Baker M.A.B., Hynson R.M.G., Ganuelas, L.A., Shah Mohammadi, N.,Liew,C.W., Rey A.A, Duff,A.P., Whitten, A.E., Jeffries, C.Y.M., Delalez, N.J., Morimoto, Y.V., Stock, D., Armitage, J.P., Tuberfield, A.J., Namba, K., Berry, R.M., Lee, L.K.(2016) Domain-swap polymerization drives the self-assembly of the bacterial flagellar motor. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, 23:197–203.
4. Yepuri, N., Barraud, N., Shah Mohammadi, N., Kardak, B., Kjelleberg, S., Rice, S., kelso, M. (2013) Synthesis of cephalosporin-3ˊ-diazeniumdiolates:biofilm dispersing NO-donor prodrug activated by β-lactamase. Chemical Communications, 49:4791-4793.
5. Motevaze, K., Shah Mohammadi, N., Emami, M., Rezaie, S. (2006) Study of Griseofulvin effects on the expression of ATPase-subunit G gene in dermatophyte pathogen Trichophyton rubrum. Medical Science Journal of Islamic Azad University, 16(4):237-241
1. Buapet, P., Shah Mohammadi, N., Pernice, M., Ralph, P., Molecular investigation of heavy metal stress in the seagrass, Zostera mulleri. Oral presentation at : Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF 2017), 5-9 November 2017; Providence, Rhode Island, UNITED STATES.
2. Hynson R., Shah Mohammadi N., Lee L. A cooperative assembly mechanism of the bacterial flagellar motor. Poster session presented at: Single-Molecule Biophysics Workshop, 25 July 2013; University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA
3. Hynson R., Shah Mohammadi N., Lee L. A cooperative assembly mechanism of the bacterial flagellar motor. Poster session presented at: The East Coast Protein Meeting , 19-21 July 2013; Coffs harbour, AUSTRALIA
4. Motevaze, K., Shah Mohammadi, N., Emami, M., Rezaie, S. Study of Griseofulvin effects on the expression of ATPase-subunit G gene in dermatophyte pathogen Trichophyton rubrum. Oral presentation at: The First Iranian Congress of Clinical Microbiology, 8-10 May 2007; Shiraz, IRAN
1. Linnean Society of New South Wales: $1000 Joyce W. Vickery Scientific Research Fund (April 2017)
2. University of Technology Sydney higher degree conference fund: $2000 for attending CERF 2017conference.
3. Australasian Society for Phycology and Aquatic Botany (ASPAB) travel fund : $950 for attending CERF 2017 conference.