Kathrin Schrick, Associate Professor


Contact information

303 Ackert Hall
(785) 532-6360

Lab website: http://www.k-state.edu/schricklab


Ph.D. 1994, University of Washington. Genetics.

Area(s) of Specialization

Plant Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Plant Evolution, START Domains, Plant Sterols.

Research Focus

Plants and plant-derived products such as food, fiber, fuel, and medicines, are vital to life on earth. Many of these resources rely on plant-specific biochemical reactions involving proteins and lipid metabolites. Direct interactions between proteins and small molecules are dynamic in all living cells, yet their full extent and biological significance is underexplored, especially in plants. We use genetics and molecular approaches in the model system Arabidopsis to study protein-metabolite interactions involving sterols and other metabolic lipids in the context of plant growth and development.

START domains in plants

Candidate lipid/sterol-binding proteins include transcription factors of the class III and IV homeodomain leucine-zipper (HD-Zip) family. These plant-specific regulatory proteins contain a StAR-related lipid transfer (START) domain, named after mammalian steroidogenic acute regulatory protein orthologs (StARs). In humans, misexpression of several START domain proteins is associated with cancer. It is hypothesized that START domains link lipid/sterol metabolism to the cell division cycle. We are studying the role of START domains in class IV HD-Zip transcription factors that are critical for differentiation of the epidermis. Related to this, we are investigating relevant evolutionary mechanisms that led to the emergence of the land plants from the Charophycean green algae ~450 million years ago.

Sterols in development and in cell wall biogenesis

Another research focus is on the functions of sterols and their glycosylated forms in plants. Sterol biosynthesis enzymes are differentially expressed throughout development and sterol contents vary temporally and spatially according to cell type. Sterol production may reflect the metabolic state of cells, which in turn is exploited to regulate developmental processes. Sterols are also important as structural features of cell membranes. Our discovery that sterol biosynthesis is crucial for cellulose production suggests a mechanism by which sterols influence cell wall biogenesis. One proposed model suggests that glycosylated sterols act as primers in cellulose synthesis, by supplying glucose residues to growing microfibrils. We are characterizing UDP-glucose:sterol glucosyltransferase mutants of Arabidopsis to address this hypothesis. If specific steryl glucosides and/or sterols are critical for cellulose synthesis, their modulation may yield improved cellulose production in biomass crops.

Selected Publications

Schrick, K., Ahmad, B., and Nguyen, H.V. 2023. HD-Zip IV transcription factors: Drivers of epidermal cell fate integrate metabolic signals. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 75:e102407. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2023.102417

Lusk, H.J., Neumann, N., Colter, M., Roth, M.R., Tamura, P, Yao, L., Shiva, S., Shah, J, Schrick, K., Durrett, T., and Welti, R. 2022. Lipidomic analysis of Arabidopsis T-DNA insertion lines leads to identification and characterizationof C-terminal alterations in FATTY ACID DESATURASE 6. Plant Cell Physiol: pcac088. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcac088

Mukherjee, T., Subedi, B., Khosla, A., Begler, E.M., Stephens, P.M., Warner, A.L., Lerma-Reyes, R., Thompson, K.A., Gunewardena, S., and Schrick, K. 2022. The START domain mediates Arabidopsis GLABRA2 dimerization and turnover independently of homeodomain DNA binding. Plant Physiol. (published online 8-19-2022). doi: 10.1093/plphys/kiac383

Subedi, B., and Schrick, K. 2022. EYFP fusions to HD-Zip IV transcription factors enhance their stability and lead to phenotypic changes in Arabidopsis. Plant Signal Behav. 17(1):e2119013. doi: 10.1080/15592324.2022.2119013

Shiva, S., Samarakoon, T., Lowe, K.A., Roach, C., Vu, H.S., Colter, M., Porras, H., Hwang, C., Roth, M.R., Tamura, P., Li, M., Schrick, K., Shah, J., Wang, X, Wang, H., and Welti, R. 2020. Leaf lipid alterations in response to heat stress of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plants 9(7): 10.3390/plants9070845.

Velazhahan, V., Glaza, P., Herrera, A.I., Prakash, O., Zolkiewski, M., Geisbrecht, B.V., and Schrick, K. 2020. Dietary flavonoid fisetin binds human SUMO1 and blocks sumoylation of p53. PLOS One 15:e0234468. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0234468.

Mukherjee., T., Lerma-Reyes, R., Thompson, K.A., and Schrick, K. 2019. Making glue from seeds and gums: Working with plant-based polymers to introduce students to plant biochemistry. Biochem Mol Biol Educ 47:468-475. doi:10.1002/bmb.21252.

Paper, J.M., Mukherjee, T., and Schrick, K. 2018. Bioorthogonal click chemistry for fluorescence imaging of choline phospholipids in plants. Plant Methods 14:31.

Pook, V.G., Nair, M., Ryu, K., Arpin, J.C., Schiefelbein, J., Schrick, K., and DeBolt, S. 2017. Positioning of the SCRAMBLED receptor requires UDP-Glc:sterol glucosyltransferase 80B1 in Arabidopsis roots. Sci Rep. 7(1): 5714.

Msanne, J., Chen, M., Luttgeharm, K., Bradley, A.M., Mays, E.S., Paper, J.M., Boyle, D.L., Cahoon, R.E., Schrick, K., and Cahoon, E.B. 2015. Glucosylceramide is critical for cell-type differentiation and organogenesis, but not for cell viability in Arabidopsis . Plant J. 84:188-201.

Stucky, D.F., Arpin, J.C., and Schrick, K. 2015. Functional diversification of two UGT80 enzymes required for steryl glucoside synthesis in Arabidopsis . J. Exp. Bot. 66:189-201.

Schrick, K., Bruno, M., Khosla, A., Cox, P.N., Marlatt, S.A., Roque, R.A., Nguyen, H.C., He, C., Snyder, M.P., Singh, D., and Yadav, G. 2014. Shared functions of plant and mammalian StAR-related lipid transfer (START) domains in modulating transcription factor activity. BMC Biology 12:70. doi:10.1186/s12915-014-0070-8.

Khosla, A., Paper, J.M., Boehler, A.P., Bradley, A.M., Neumann, T.R., and Schrick, K. 2014. HD-Zip proteins GL2 and HDG11 have redundant functions in Arabidopsis trichomes and Gl2 activates a positive feedback loop via MYB23. Plant Cell 26:2184-2200.‚Äč

Schrick, K., DeBolt, S., and Bulone, V. 2012. Deciphering the molecular functions of sterols in cellulose biosynthesis. Front. Plant Sci. 3:84. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00084

Schrick, K., Shiva, S., Arpin, J.C., Delimont, N., Isaac, G., Tamura, P. and Welti, R. 2012. Steryl glucoside and acyl steryl glucoside analysis of Arabidopsis seeds by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. Lipids 47:185-193.

Schrick, K., Cordova, C., Li, G., Murray, L. and Fujioka, S. 2011. A dynamic role for sterols in embryogenesis of Pisum sativum. Phytochemistry 72: 465-475.

View the complete publication list in NCBI