Sarah Attrill

Current projects:

Investigating the role of the cytoskeleton in plant cell polarisation

Cell polarisation is a fundamental process during early organism development. However, the mechanisms underpinning de novo polarisation in land plants are little known. My project aims to understand the role of the cytoskeleton in plant cell polarity using a novel system: the spores of Marchantia polymorpha. These single cells initially lack any polarity but then polarise and divide asymmetrically. By undertaking live time-lapse imaging of fluorescent reporters in spores, I have discovered key subcellular changes during spore polarisation. My research also utilises reverse genetics to tease apart the mechanisms underlying these events. Ultimately my work will uncover fundamental cellular and genetic mechanisms in plant cell polarisation.

Investigating the role of microtubule regulatory proteins in Marchantia polymorpha development

In plants, microtubules control cell growth and division, and consequently tissue morphogenesis. The organisation and dynamics of microtubules are critical for their functions. These properties are regulated by Microtubule-Associated Proteins (MAPs). My research uses CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis to target MAP genes in Marchantia polymorpha and create mutants with defective microtubule dynamics. Then using advanced microscopy and image analysis techniques, I characterise how microtubule defects impact cell growth, division, and overall plant morphology.