PhD position

Nobody nobody at
Mon Jun 23 11:26:50 EST 2003

<x-charset iso-8859-1>PhD position (3 years): Analysis and modelling 
of leaf growth responses to
soil and atmospheric water deficits. Novel investigations based on the
gating properties of aquaporins.

Job description. To analyse drought tolerance in plants, our laboratory
(LEPSE) aims at modelling leaf growth responses to soil water deficit
(Tardieu, Trends Plant Sci., 2003 8:9-14). We have shown that atmospheric
(vapour pressure) deficit strongly modifies the response to soil drying,
but how these two influences conspire to reduce leaf growth remains to be
elucidated. In this project, we want to identify the dominating processes
involved in the combined influences of atmospheric and soil water deficits
in order to integrate them in our modelling approach at the whole plant
level. We propose to associate the experience and the facilities of the
LEPSE with that of a neighbouring team specialised in the molecular,
physiological, and genetic analysis of plant membranes aquaporins (C.
Maurel, BPMP Montpellier). From one hand (LEPSE), it has recently been
evidenced that high evaporative demand and soil drying induce significant
decreases in cell turgor in the growing zones of maize leaves. Thus, cell
turgor is likely to play a crucial role in the response of leaf growth to
water deficits. From the other hand (BPMP), unique gating properties of
plant aquaporins by cytosolic pH has recently been discovered
(Tournaire-Roux et al., Nature, 2003). This mechanism provides a novel
possibility for manipulating plant hydraulic architecture and offers a
unique opportunity to dissect the mechanistic basis of leaf growth
responses to drought. Aquaporin function in Arabidopsis and maize plants
will be modified by acid load treatments or using transgenic plants that
overexpress deregulated aquaporins. This project gathers a unique set of
expertise (transport biophysics, molecular and environmental physiology) to
gain new insights into the bases of plant tolerance to drought.

Research environment. The student will interact with a dynamic group with
diverse skills in environmental plant physiology. Our laboratory (LEPSE, is within the Ecole Nationale
Sup=C8rieure d'Agronomie ( and the Institut
National de la Recherche Agronomique ( that
is equipped with state-of-art facilities in plant physiology and molecular

Requirements. For the position a master degree or equivalent with strong
background in (environmental) plant physiology is required. Motivated
individuals with skills in mathematical modelling and basic knowledge of
biophysics are encouraged to apply.

Salary. We can offer a monthly payment of Euros 1072 after taxes (funded by
INRA-France) for 3 years.

Contact. Please send your application, including CV and references to Dr T.
Simonneau, LEPSE, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier cedex 1, France. Phone
+33 4 99 61 27 52 or fax +33 67 52 21 16. Email: simonneau at

Thierry Simonneau
Laboratoire d'Ecophysiologie des Plantes sous Stress Environnementaux
(LEPSE), UMR INRA-ENSAM 2, place Viala, 34060 Montpellier cedex 1
tel 33 4 99 61 27 52      fax 33 4 67 52 21 16



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