Richard D. Vierstra, PhD

George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program

  • 314 935-5058


  • Defining how ubiquitin and other post-translational modifiers contribute to cellular regulation and turnover and how the phytochrome photoreceptor system controls plant and microbial development.

Research Abstract:

Our laboratory attempts to define how ubiquitin and other post-translational modifiers such as SUMO and the ATG8/12 autophagic components contribute to cellular regulation and turnover and how the phytochrome photoreceptor system controls plant and microbial development. We primarily use yeast, Arabidopsis thaliana and maize (Zea mays) as the model in combination with a wide range of experimental approaches, including genetics,
genomics, transcriptomics, biochemistry, cell biology and bioinformatics together with in-depth proteomic and structure-based methods such mass spectrometry, x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy.

Selected Publications:

Augustine, R.S., and R.D. Vierstra (2018) SUMOylation: rewiring the plant nucleus during stress and development. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 45: 143-154. doi:org/10.1016/j.pbi.2018.06.006

Marshall, R.S., and R.D. Vierstra (2018) Autophagy; the master of selective recycling. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 69: 173-208. doi:10.1146/annurev-arplant-042817-040606.

Liu, F., W. Hu, and R.D. Vierstra (2018) VACUOLAR PROTEIN SORTING-38 subunit of the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase complex plays critical roles in autophagy, endosome sorting, and gravitropism. Front. Plant Sci. 9: 781. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00781.

Marshall, R.S., and R.D. Vierstra (2018) Proteasome storage granules protect 26S proteasomes from autophagic clearance during carbon starvation. eLife 2018;7:e34532. doi:10.7554/eLife.34532. (highlighted by eLife as an important read)

Rytz, T.C., M.J. Miller, F. McLoughlin, R.C. Augustine, R.S. Marshall, Y.-T. Juan, Y.-Y. Chung, M. Scalf, L.M. Smith, and R.D. Vierstra (2018) SUMOylome profiling in Arabidopsis reveals a diverse array of nuclear targets modified by the SUMO ligase SIZ1 during heat stress. Plant Cell 30: 1077-1099

Burgie, E.S., A.N. Bussell, W. Hu, S.-H. Lye, T. Wang, W. Hu, K.E. McLoughlin, E. L. Weber, H. Li, and R.D. Vierstra (2017) Photosensing and thermosensing by phytochrome B require both proximal and distal and allosteric features within the dimeric photoreceptor. Sci. Rep. 7:13648 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-14037-0 (

Aguilar-Hernández, V., D.-Y. Kim, R.J Stankey, M. Scalf, L.M. Smith, and R.D. Vierstra (2017) Mass spectrometric analyses reveals a central role of ubiquitylation in the remodeling of the Arabidopsis
proteome during photomorphogenesis. Mol. Plant 10: 846-865.

Legris, M., C. Klose, E.S. Burgie, C. Costigliolo, M. Neme, A. Hiltbrunner, P.A. Wigge, E. Schafer, R.D. Vierstra, and J.J. Casal (2016) Phytochrome B integrates light and temperature signals. Science 354: 897-900. (Highlighted in Science by K.J. Halliday and D. J. Davis (354: 832-833); featured on NSF website:

Marshall, R.S., F. McLoughlin, and R.D. Vierstra (2016) Autophagic turnover of inactive 26S proteasomes in yeast is directed by the ubiquitin receptor Cue5 and the Hsp42 chaperone. Cell Rep. 16: 1717-1732 (highlighted in and the DOE site

Gladman, N.P., R.S. Marshall, K.-H. Lee, and R.D. Vierstra (2016) The proteasome stress regulon is controlled by a pair of NAC transcription factors in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 28: 1279-1296.

Last Updated: 8/17/2018 1:43:27 PM

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