Jenny Russinova Lab

Research focus

​The main interest of the group is the signal transduction pathway that plant cells use to respond to the growth promoting hormones, brassinosteroids. Brassinosteroids are ubiquitously distributed throughout the plant kingdom sterol derivatives. Brassinosteroid deficient mutants display dramatic developmental defects including dwarfism, male sterility, delayed flowering, reduced apical dominance, and a light-grown morphology when grown in dark. Like their animal counterparts, brassinosteroids regulate the expression of numerous genes, impact the activity of complex metabolic pathways, contribute to the regulation of cell division and differentiation, and help control overall development. Brassinosteroids regulate photomorphogenesis, etiolation and cell expansion. Brassinosteroids have a broad spectrum of activities that have a positive effect on the quantity and quality of crops and they increase plant resistance to stress and pathogens.

Brassinosteroid pathway is one of the best-defined signal transduction pathways in plants. In Arabidopsis, brassinosteroids are perceived by receptor kinases that transduce the signal from the cell surface to the nucleus by an intracellular cascade of phosphorylation mediated protein-protein interactions, involving kinases, phosphatases, 14-3-3 proteins, and nuclear transcription factors. In addition, the brassinosteroid signaling is regulated by the plant endocytic machinery because the increased endosomal localization of the brassinosteroid receptor enhances the signaling.

The main objective of the group is to combine genetic, molecular and cell biology tools to study mechanism of brassinosteroid signaling regulation in plants. One aspect of the research is to understand the subcellular compartmentalization and trafficking of brassinosteroid receptor complexes and their relevance to brassinosteroids physiological responses. We use chemical genomics and proteomics to investigate the subcellular localization, mobility, transport routes and binding interactions of different brassinosteroid signaling components. In addition we want to position important downstream brassinosteroid signaling regulators such as the Arabidopsis GSK3-like kinases in subcellular compartments important for brassinosteroid receptor activity.

The potential application of brassinosteroids in agriculture is based not only on their ability to increase crop yields but also on the fact that they increase resistance to different stress conditions such as high salinity, drought, fungal and viral infections. Thus, unraveling the regulatory mechanisms of brassinosteroid signaling on the level of signaling components, brassinosteroid target genes, endomembrane trafficking regulators or identifying chemicals that modulate any of those components can be used to develop selective strategies for high-yielding plants.



POLAR-guided signalling complex assembly and localization drive asymmetric cell divisionHoubaert Anaxi Zhang Cheng Tiwari Manish Wang Kun De Marcos Serrano A Savatin Daniel x Mounashree Zhiponova M. K Gudesblat G. E Vanhoutte Isabelle Eeckhout Dominique Boeren S. Karimi Mansour Betti Camilla Jacobs Thomas Fenoll C Mena M de Vries S. De Jaeger Geert Russinova EugeniaNATURE, 563, 574-578, 2018
Nonselective Chemical Inhibition of Sec7 Domain-Containing ARF GTPase Exchange FactorsMishev Kiril Lu Qing Denoo B Peurois F Dejonghe Wim Hullaert J De Rycke Riet Boeren S. Bretou Marine De Munck Steven Sharma Isha Goodman K. E Kalinowska K Storme Véronique Nguyen Le Son Long Drozdzecki Andrzej Martins S Nerinckx Wim Audenaert Dominique Vert G Madder A Otegui M. S Isono E Savvides Savvas Annaert Willem de Vries S. Cherfils J Winne J Russinova EugeniaPLANT CELL, 30, 2573-2593, 2018
Mitochondrial uncouplers inhibit clathrin-mediated endocytosis largely through cytoplasmic acidificationDejonghe Wim Kuenen Sabine Mylle Evelien Vasileva M Keech O Viotti C Swerts Jef Fendrych M Ortiz-Morea Fausto Andres Mishev Kiril Delang S Scholl S Zarza X Heilmann M Kourelis J Kasprowicz Jaroslaw Nguyen Le Son Long Drozdzecki Andrzej Van Houtte I Szatmari A. M Majda M Baisa G Bednarek S. Y Robert S Audenaert Dominique Testerink C Munnik T Van Damme Daniël Heilmann I Schumacher K Winne J Friml J Verstreken Patrik Russinova EugeniaNature Communications, 7, 11710, 2016
V-ATPase-activity in the TGN/EE is required for exocytosis and recycling in ArabidopsisLuo Y* Scholl S* Doering A* Zhang Y Irani N Di Rubbo S Neumetzler L Krishnamoorthy P Van Houtte I Mylle E Bischoff V Vernhettes S Winne J Friml J Stierhof Y Schumacher K* Persson S* Russinova E*Nature Plants, 1, 15094, 2015* or °: authors contributed equally
SPEECHLESS integrates brassinosteroid and stomata signalling pathwaysGudesblat Gustavo Schneider-Pizon J Betti Camilla Mayerhofer J Vanhoutte Isabelle Van Dongen W. Boeren S. Zhiponova Miroslava De Vries S Jonak C Russinova EugeniaNATURE CELL BIOLOGY, 14, 548-54, 2012

Job openings


New chemical tool to block endocytosis in plants identified

22/04/2019 - An international team of scientists from several VIB Centers, Ghent University and the Free University of Berlin, coordinated by Jenny Russinova (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) found a new chemical that blocks endocytosis.

Researchers discover novel “to divide or to differentiate” switch in plants

14/11/2018 - Scientists from VIB and Ghent University under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Jenny Russinova uncovered a novel mechanism in plants that controls an important decision step in stomatal lineage to divide asymmetrically or to differentiate.

VIB scientists Jenny Russinova and Patrik Verstreken elected as EMBO Members

15/05/2018 - EMBO elected 62 outstanding life scientists to its membership, joining a group of more than 1800 of the best researchers in Europe and around the world.

VIB research sheds new light on the defense mechanisms of plants

10/10/2016 - ​When plants are damaged, they face significant dangers including the loss of nutrients from and the entry of microbes into the plant. As a result, plants have evolved sophisticated defense mechanisms.

Jenny Russinova

Jenny Russinova

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


​​PhD: Norman Borlang Inst., De Montfort Univ., Leicester, UK, 1996
Postdoc: Norman Borlang Inst., UK, 1997-98;
Postdoc: Wageningen Univ., Wageningen, The Netherlands, 1998-2005
VIB Group Leader since 2006

Contact Info

VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems BiologyUGent-VIB Research Building FSVMTechnologiepark 71 9052 GENTRoute description