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Staff Profile

Professor Ari Sadanandom, PhD

Professor in the Department of Biosciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41263
Room number: 268

Contact Professor Ari Sadanandom (email at

Research Interests

Plant diseases are major limiting factors of worldwide agriculture. Understanding the mechanisms by which pathogens invade plants and the means by which plant perceive the invasion is very important to developing novel control strategies in the future. The control of protein degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a central modifier of signaling in animals and plants. An emerging paradigm in biology is the pathogen mediated targeting of the UPS to suppress host immunity but how pathogens achieve this is not known.

Our group has identified regulatory factors of host UPS that could act as targets for defence suppression by plant pathogens. Using Arabidopsis, tobacco and tomato as model hosts my laboratory employs a cross disciplinary approach including genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques to identify components that are specifically Ubiquitinated by bacterial and fungal pathogens to undermine plant immunity. 

In recent years another class of ubiquitin-related polypeptide tags called small ubiquitin-like modifiers (SUMO) has emerged as a very influential regulator of stress signalling in plants and animals. Nearly all crops are highly susceptible to drought, heat stress and salinity. Our work on post-translational modification of proteins has shown that specific signalling proteins are SUMOylated as part of plant survival strategy during drought, heat and high salinity. We have developed experimental methods to specifically quantify and identify SUMOylated and Ubiquitinated proteins in plants. Understanding how protein modification is regulated will have huge implications for agriculture, as this knowledge will be crucial for generating stress resistant crops. 

Lab Members:


Dr. Cunjin Zhang

Dr. Beatriz Orosa

Dr. Anjil Srivastava

Dr. Vivek Verma

Phd students:

Charlotte Walsh

Gary Yates

Linda Millyard

Alberto Campanaro

Jack Lee


Research Groups

Department of Biosciences

  • Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology
  • Molecular Plant Sciences


Journal Article

  • Orosa, Beatriz, He, Qin, Mesmar, Joelle, Gilroy, Eleanor M., McLellan, Hazel, Yang, Chengwei, Craig, Adam, Bailey, Mark, Zhang, Cunjin, Moore, Jonathan David, Boevink, Petra C., Tian, Zhendong, Birch, Paul R. J. & Sadanandom, Ari (2017). BTB-BACK Domain Protein POB1 Suppresses Immune Cell Death by Targeting Ubiquitin E3 ligase PUB17 for Degradation. PLOS Genetics 13(1): e1006540.
  • Bailey, Mark, Srivastava, Anjil, Conti, Lucio, Nelis, Stuart, Zhang, Cunjin, Florance, Hannah, Love, Andrew, Milner, Joel, Napier, Richard, Grant, Murray & Sadanandom, Ari (2016). Stability of small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteases OVERLY TOLERANT TO SALT1 and -2 modulates salicylic acid signalling and SUMO1/2 conjugation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Experimental Botany 67(1): 353-363.
  • Nelis, S., Conti, L., Zhang, C. & Sadanandom, A. (2015). A functional Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMO) interacting motif (SIM) in the gibberellin hormone receptor GID1 is conserved in cereal crops and disrupting this motif does not abolish hormone dependency of the DELLA-GID1 interaction. Plant Signaling & Behavior 10(2): e987528.
  • Verma, V., Sivaraman, J., Srivastava, A.K., Sadanandom, A. & Kumar, P.P. (2015). Destabilization of interaction between cytokinin signaling intermediates AHP1 and ARR4 modulates Arabidopsis development. New Phytologist 206(2): 726-737.
  • Lee, J., Orosa, B., Millyard, L., Edwards, M., Kanyuka, K., Gatehouse, A., Rudd, J., Hammond-Kosack, K., Pain, N. & Sadanandom, A. (2015). Functional analysis of a Wheat Homeodomain protein, TaR1, reveals that host chromatin remodelling influences the dynamics of the switch to necrotrophic growth in the phytopathogenic fungus Zymoseptoria tritici. New Phytologist 206(2): 598-605.
  • Domingues, M.N. Sforça, M.L. Soprano, A.S., Lee, J., Campos Brasil de Souza, T. de A., Cassago, A., Portugal, R.V., de Mattos Zeri, A.C., Murakami, M.T., Sadanandom, A., de Oliveira, P.S. & Benedetti, C.E. (2015). Structure and Mechanism of Dimer-Monomer Transition of a Plant Poly(A)-Binding Protein upon RNA Interaction: Insights into Its Poly(A) Tail Assembly. Journal of Molecular Biology 427(15): 2491-2506.
  • Sadanandom, A., Ádám, É., Orosa, B., Viczián, A., Klose, C., Zhang, C., Josse, E.M., Kozma-Bognár, L. & Nagy, F. (2015). SUMOylation of phytochrome-B negatively regulates light-induced signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(35): 11108-11113.
  • He, Q., McLellan, H., Boevink, P.C., Sadanandom, A., Xie, C., Birch, P.R. & Tian, Z. (2015). U-box E3 ubiquitin ligase PUB17 acts in the nucleus to promote specific immune pathways triggered by Phytophthora infestans. Journal of Experimental Botany 66(11): 3189-3199.
  • Conti, L., Nelis, S., Zhang, C., Woodcock, A., Swarup, R., Galbiati, M., Tonelli, C., Napier, R., Hedden, P., Bennett, M. & Sadanandom, A. (2014). Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier protein SUMO enables plants to control growth independently of the phytohormone gibberellin. Developmental Cell 28(1): 102-110.
  • Walsh, C.K. & Sadanandom, A. (2014). Ubiquitin chain topology in plant cell signaling: a new facet to an evergreen story. Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 122.
  • Laird, J., McInally, C., Carr, C., Doddiah, S., Yates, G., Chrysanthou, E., Khattab, A., Love, A.J., Geri, C., Sadanandom, A., Smith, B.O., Kobayashi, K. & Milner, J.J. (2013). Identification of the domains of cauliflower mosaic virus protein P6 responsible for suppression of RNA silencing and salicylic acid signalling. Journal of General Virology 94(12): 2777-2789.
  • Yates, G. & Sadanandom, A. (2013). Ubiquitination in plant nutrient utilization. Frontiers in Plant Science 4: 452.
  • Love, A.J., Geri, C., Laird, J., Carr, C., Yun, B.W., Loake, G.J., Tada, Y., Sadanandom, A. & Milner, J.J. (2012). Cauliflower mosaic virus protein P6 inhibits signaling responses to salicylic acid and regulates innate immunity. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47535.
  • Sadanandom, A., Bailey, M., Ewan, R., Lee, J. & Nelis, S. (2012). The ubiquitin-proteasome system: central modifier of plant signalling. New Phytologist 196(1): 13-28.
  • Gilroy, EM, Taylor, RM, Hein, I, Boevink, P, Sadanandom, A & Birch, PRJ (2011). CMPG1-dependent cell death follows perception of diverse pathogen elicitors at the host plasma membrane and is suppressed by Phytophthora infestans RXLR effector AVR3a. New Phytologist 190(3): 653-666.
  • Ewan, Richard Pangestuti, Ratih Thornber, Sarah Craig, Adam Carr, Craig O’Donnell, Liz, Zhang, Cunjn & Ari Sadanandom (2011). Deubiquitinating enzymes AtUBP12 and AtUBP13 and their tobacco homologue NtUBP12 are negative regulators of plant immunity. New Phytologist 191(1): 92-106.
  • Sadanandom, A & Napier, RM (2010). Biosensors in plants. Current Opinion In Plant Biology 13(6): 736-743.
  • Morris, K, Thornber, S, Codrai, L, Richardson, C, Craig, A, Sadanandom, A, Thomas, B & Jackson, S (2010). DAY NEUTRAL FLOWERING Represses CONSTANS to Prevent Arabidopsis Flowering Early in Short Days. Plant Cell 22(4): 1118-1128.
  • Bos, JIB, Armstrong, MR, Gilroy, EM, Boevink, PC, Hein, I, Taylor, RM, Tian, ZD, Engelhardt, S, Vetukuri, RR, Harrower, B, Dixelius, C, Bryan, G, Sadanandom, A, Whisson, SC, Kamoun, S & Birch, PRJ (2010). Phytophthora infestans effector AVR3a is essential for virulence and manipulates plant immunity by stabilizing host E3 ligase CMPG1. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America 107(21): 9909-9914.
  • Craig, A, Ewan, R, Mesmar, J, Gudipati, V & Sadanandom, A (2009). E3 ubiquitin ligases and plant innate immunity. Journal Of Experimental Botany 60(4): 1123-1132.
  • Haas, BJ, Kamoun, S, Zody, MC, Jiang, RHY, Handsaker, RE, Cano, LM, Grabherr, M, Kodira, CD, Raffaele, S, Torto-Alalibo, T, Bozkurt, TO, Ah-Fong, AMV, Alvarado, L, Anderson, VL, Armstrong, MR, Avrova, A, Baxter, L, Beynon, J, Boevink, PC, Bollmann, SR, Bos, JIB, Bulone, V, Cai, GH, Cakir, C, Carrington, JC, Chawner, M, Conti, L, Costanzo, S, Ewan, R, Fahlgren, N, Fischbach, MA, Fugelstad, J, Gilroy, EM, Gnerre, S, Green, PJ, Grenville-Briggs, LJ, Griffith, J, Grunwald, NJ, Horn, K, Horner, NR, Hu, CH, Huitema, E, Jeong, DH, Jones, AME, Jones, JDG, Jones, RW, Karlsson, EK, Kunjeti, SG, Lamour, K, Liu, ZY, Ma, LJ, MacLean, D, Chibucos, MC, McDonald, H, McWalters, J, Meijer, HJG, Morgan, W, Morris, PF, Munro, CA, O'Neill, K, Ospina-Giraldo, M, Pinzon, A, Pritchard, L, Ramsahoye, B, Ren, QH, Restrepo, S, Roy, S, Sadanandom, A, Savidor, A, Schornack, S, Schwartz, DC, Schumann, UD, Schwessinger, B, Seyer, L, Sharpe, T, Silvar, C, Song, J, Studholme, DJ, Sykes, S, Thines, M, van de Vondervoort, PJI, Phuntumart, V, Wawra, S, Weide, R, Win, J, Young, C, Zhou, SG, Fry, W, Meyers, BC, van West, P, Ristaino, J, Govers, F, Birch, PRJ, Whisson, SC, Judelson, HS & Nusbaum, C (2009). Genome sequence and analysis of the Irish potato famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Nature 461(7262): 393-398.
  • Lucio Conti, Dimitrios Kioumourtzoglou,, Elizabeth O’ Donnell,, Peter Dominy & Ari Sadanandom (2009). OTS1 and OTS2 SUMO proteases link plant development and survival under salt stress. Plant Signaling & Behavior 4(3): 225.
  • Sadanandom, A (2009). Preface. Journal Of Experimental Botany 60(4): 1083-1083.
  • Love, AJ, Milner, JJ & Sadanandom, A (2009). Response to Cacas and Diamond: Is the autophagy machinery an executioner of programmed cell death in plants? Trends In Plant Science 14(6): 300-301.
  • Birch, PRJ, Armstrong, M, Bos, J, Boevink, P, Gilroy, EM, Taylor, RM, Wawra, S, Pritchard, L, Conti, L, Ewan, R, Whisson, SC, van West, P, Sadanandom, A & Kamoun, S (2009). Towards understanding the virulence functions of RXLR effectors of the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Journal Of Experimental Botany 60(4): 1133-1140.
  • Love, A, Geri, C, Laird, J, Yuri, B, Loake, G, Sadanandom, A & Milner, J (2008). An effector protein encoded by cauliflower mosaic virus inhibits SA-dependent defence responses in Arabidopsis via an NPR1-dependent mechanism. Comparative Biochemistry And Physiology A-molecular & Integrative Physiology 150(3): S193-S193.
  • Conti, L, Price, G, O'Donnell, E, Schwessinger, B, Dominy, P & Sadanandom, A (2008). Small Ubiquitin-Like Modifier Proteases OVERLY TOLERANT TO SALT1 and-2 Regulate Salt Stress Responses in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 20(10): 2894-2908.
  • Sadanandom, A, Mesmar, J, Yang, C, Ewan, R, Carr, C & O' Donnell, E (2008). The cell death regulator AtPUB17 directly interacts with the BTB/POZ domain transcriptional repressor, AtBTB1 to control disease resistance in plants. Comparative Biochemistry And Physiology A-molecular & Integrative Physiology 150(3): S178-S179.
  • Love, AJ, Milner, JJ & Sadanandom, A (2008). Timing is everything: regulatory overlap in plant cell death. Trends In Plant Science 13(11): 589-595.
  • Love, AJ, Laird, J, Holt, J, Hamilton, AJ, Sadanandom, A & Milner, JJ (2007). Cauliflower mosaic virus protein P6 is a suppressor of RNA silencing. Journal Of General Virology 88: 3439-3444.
  • Conti, L., Donnel, E., Price, J., Love, A., Dominy, P. & Sadanandom, A. (2007). SUMO proteases regulate ROS production in Arabidopsis. Comparative Biochemistry And Physiology A-molecular & Integrative Physiology 146(4): S260-S260.
  • Sadanandom, A. (2007). The U-box protein AtPUB17 is a functional ortholog of NtACRE276 and its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity is required for plant cell death and defence. Comparative Biochemistry And Physiology A-molecular & Integrative Physiology 146(4): S203-S203.
  • Azevedo, C, Betsuyaku, S, Peart, J, Takahashi, A, Noel, L, Sadanandom, A, Casais, C, Parker, J & Shirasu, K (2006). Role of SGT1 in resistance protein accumulation in plant immunity. Embo Journal 25(9): 2007-2016.
  • Yang, CW, Gonzalez-Lamothe, R, Ewan, RA, Rowland, O, Yoshioka, H, Shenton, M, Ye, H, O'Donnell, E, Jones, JDG & Sadanandom, A (2006). The E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of Arabidopsis PLANT U-BOX17 and its functional tobacco homolog ACRE276 are required for cell death and defense. Plant Cell 18(4): 1084-1098.
  • Sadanandom, A, Findlay, K, Doonan, JH, Schulze-Lefert, P & Shirasu, K (2004). CHPA, a cysteine- and histidine-rich-domain-containing protein, contributes to maintenance of the diploid state in Aspergillus nidulans. Eukaryotic Cell 3(4): 984-991.
  • Muskett, PR, Kahn, K, Austin, MJ, Moisan, LJ, Sadanandom, A, Shirasu, K, Jones, JDG & Parker, JE (2002). Arabidopsis RAR1 exerts rate-limiting control of R gene-mediated defenses against multiple pathogens. Plant Cell 14(5): 979-992.
  • Tornero, P, Merritt, P, Sadanandom, A, Shirasu, K, Innes, RW & Dangl, JL (2002). RAR1 and NDR1 contribute quantitatively to disease resistance in Arabidopsis, and their relative contributions are dependent on the R gene assayed. Plant Cell 14(5): 1005-1015.
  • Azevedo, C, Sadanandom, A, Kitagawa, K, Freialdenhoven, A, Shirasu, K & Schulze-Lefert, P (2002). The RAR1 interactor SGT1, an essential component of R gene-triggered disease resistance. Science 295(5562): 2073-2076.
  • Peart, JR, Lu, R, Sadanandom, A, Malcuit, I, Moffett, P, Brice, DC, Schauser, L, Jaggard, DAW, Xiao, SY, Coleman, MJ, Dow, M, Jones, JDG, Shirasu, K & Baulcombe, DC (2002). Ubiquitin ligase-associated protein SGT1 is required for host and nonhost disease resistance in plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99(16): 10865-10869.
  • Sadanandom, A, Poghosyan, Z, Fairbairn, DJ & Murphy, DJ (2000). Differential regulation of plastidial and cytosolic isoforms of peptide methionine sulfoxide reductase in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 123(1): 255-263.
  • Sadanandom, A, Piffanelli, P, Knott, T, Robinson, C, Sharpe, A, Lydiate, D, Murphy, D & Fairbairn, DJ (1996). Identification of a peptide methionine sulphoxide reductase gene in an oleosin promoter from Brassica napus. Plant Journal 10(2): 235-242.