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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Steve Chivasa

Assistant Professor in the Department of Biosciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41275

Contact Dr Steve Chivasa (email at

Research Interests

Cells in multicellular organisms communicate with each other to synchronise their responses to internal and external growth & developmental cues. Cell-to-cell communication is essential in adaptive responses to both biotic and abiotic stress. The Arabidopsis plasma membrane is endowed with numerous receptor-like kinases with a ligand-binding ecto-domain and an intracellular kinase domain. This suggests that cell-cell communications via the apoplastic route could be more widespread than previously thought. The functions of only a handful of these plasma membrane receptors and their cognate ligands have been characterised. We are using proteomics, genomics, and metabolomics to identify genes/proteins/metabolites important in plant stress responses. By focusing on the Extracellular Matrix, we hope to capture signals and signal-regulatory proteins in this sub-cellular compartment with roles in programmed cell death and adaptive responses to drought and pathogen attack. We created an extensive in-house database of plant ECM proteins and we are mining publicly available crop datasets for linking with model plants.

 Current projects in the group focus on identifying new genes/proteins in:

1]. Programmed Cell Death

2]. Adaptation to Drought Stress

3]. Pathogen Defence

Research Groups

Department of Biosciences

  • Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology
  • Molecular Plant Sciences


Journal Article

  • Goche, Tatenda, Shargie, Nemera G., Cummins, Ian, Brown, Adrian P., Chivasa, Stephen & Ngara, Rudo (2020). Comparative physiological and root proteome analyses of two sorghum varieties responding to water limitation. Scientific Reports 10(1): 11835.
  • Chivasa, Stephen (2020). Insights into Plant Extracellular ATP Signaling Revealed by the Discovery of an ATP-Regulated Transcription Factor. Plant and Cell Physiology 61(4): 673-674.
  • Chivasa, Stephen & Goodman, Heather L. (2020). Stress‐adaptive gene discovery by exploiting collective decision‐making of decentralised plant response systems. New Phytologist 225(6): 2307-2313.
  • Abedi, Sepideh, Astaraei, Fatemeh Razi, Ghobadian, Barat, Tavakoli, Omid, Jalili, Hassan, Greenwell, H. Christopher, Cummins, Ian & Chivasa, Stephen (2019). Decoupling a novel Trichormus variabilis-Synechocystis sp. interaction to boost phycoremediation. Scientific Reports 9: 2511.
  • Ramulifho, Elelwani, Goche, Tatenda, Van As, Johann, Tsilo, Toi John, Chivasa, Stephen & Ngara, Rudo (2019). Establishment and Characterization of Callus and Cell Suspension Cultures of Selected Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench Varieties: A Resource for Gene Discovery in Plant Stress Biology. Agronomy 9(5): 218.
  • Ngara, Rudo, Ramulifho, Elelwani, Movahedi, Mahsa, Shargie, Nemera G., Brown, Adrian P. & Chivasa, Stephen (2018). Identifying differentially expressed proteins in sorghum cell cultures exposed to osmotic stress. Scientific Reports 8(1): 8671.
  • González-Torralva, F., Brown, A.P. & Chivasa, S. (2017). Comparative proteomic analysis of horseweed (Conyza canadensis) biotypes identifies candidate proteins for glyphosate resistance. Scientific Reports 7: 42565.
  • Smith, Sarah J., Kroon, Johan. T. M., Simon, William. J., Slabas, Antoni R. & Chivasa, Stephen (2015). Open Access A Novel Function for Arabidopsis CYCLASE1 in Programmed Cell Death Revealed by Isobaric Tags for Relative and Absolute Quantitation (iTRAQ) Analysis of Extracellular Matrix Proteins. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 14(6): 1556-1568.
  • Smith, SJ, Wang, Y, Slabas, AR & Chivasa, S (2014). Light regulation of cadmium-induced cell death in Arabidopsis. Plant Signaling & Behavior 8(12): e27578.
  • Wang, Y., Kroon, J.K.M., Slabas, A.R. & Chivasa, S. (2013). Proteomics reveals new insights into the role of light in cadmium response in Arabidopsis cell suspension cultures. Proteomics 13(7): 1145-1158.
  • Chivasa, S, Tomé, DF & Slabas, AR (2013). UDP-Glucose Pyrophosphorylase Is a Novel Plant Cell Death Regulator. Journal of Proteome Research 12(4): 1743-1753.
  • Chivasa, S & Slabas, AR (2012). Plant extracellular ATP signalling: new insight from proteomics. Molecular BioSystems
  • Wang, Y, Slabas, AR & Chivasa, S (2012). Proteomic analysis of dark response in Arabidopsis cell suspension cultures. Journal of Plant Physiology 169(17): 1690-1697.
  • Chivasa S, , Tome DF, , Hamilton JM, & Slabas AR. (2010). Proteomic analysis of extracellular ATP-regulated proteins identifies ATP synthase {beta}-subunit as a novel plant cell death regulator. Molecular Cell Proteomics
  • Chivasa, S., Simon, J.W., Murphy, A.M., Lindsey, K., Carr, J.P. & Slabas, A.R. (2010). The effects of extracellular adenosine 5'-triphosphate on the tobacco proteome. Proteomics 10(2): 235-244.
  • Chivasa, S., Murphy, A., Hamilton, J., Lindsey, K., Carr, J. & Slabas, A.R. (2009). Extracellular ATP is a regulator of pathogen defence in plants. The Plant Journal 60(3): 436-448.
  • Chivasa, S, Tomé, DF, Murphy, AM, Hamilton, JM, Lindsey, K, Carr, JP & Slabas, AR (2009). Extracellular ATP: a modulator of cell death and pathogen defense in plants. Plant Signaling & Behavior 4(11): 1078-1080.
  • Demidchik, V, Shang, ZL, Shin, R, Thompson, E, Rubio, L, Laohavisit, A, Mortimer, JC, Chivasa, S, Slabas, AR, Glover, BJ, Schachtman, DP, Shabala, SN & Davies, JM (2009). Plant extracellular ATP signalling by plasma membrane NADPH oxidase and Ca2+ channels. Plant Journal 58(6): 903-913.
  • Chivasa, S., Hamilton, J.M. , Pringle, R.S. Ndimba, B.K. Simon, J.W., Lindsey, K. & Slabas, A.R. (2006). Proteomic analysis of differentially expressed proteins in fungal elicitor-treated Arabidopsis cell cultures. Journal of Experimental Botany 57: 1553-1562.
  • Chivasa, S, Ndimba, BK, Simon, JW, Lindsey, K & Slabas, AR (2005). Extracellular ATP functions as an endogenous external metabolite regulating plant cell viability. Plant Cell 17(11): 3019-3034.
  • Ndimba, BK, Chivasa, S, Simon, JW & Slabas, AR (2005). Identification of Arabidopsis salt and osmotic stress responsive proteins using two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Proteomics 5(16): 4185-4196.
  • Chivasa, S, Simon, WJ, Yu, XL, Yalpani, N & Slabas, AR (2005). Pathogen elicitor-induced changes in the maize extracellular matrix proteome. Proteomics 5(18): 4894-4904.
  • Slabas, AR, Ndimba, B, Simon, JW & Chivasa, S (2004). Proteomic analysis of the Arabidopsis cell wall reveals unexpected proteins with new cellular locations. Biochemical Society Transactions 32: 524-528.
  • Ndimba, BK, Chivasa, S, Hamilton, JM, Simon, WJ & Slabas, AR (2003). Proteomic analysis of changes in the extracellular matrix ofArabidopsis cell suspension cultures induced by fungal elicitors. Proteomics 3(6): 1047-1059.
  • Chivasa, S, Ekpo, EJA & Hicks, RGT (2002). New hosts of Turnip Mosaic Virus in Zimbabwe. Plant Pathology 51(3): 386-386.
  • Chivasa, S, Ndimba, BK, Simon, JW, Robertson, D, Yu, XL, Yu, XL, Knox, JP, Bolwell, P & Slabas, AR (2002). Proteomic analysis of the Arabidopsis thaliana cell wall. Electrophoresis 23(11): 1754-1765.
  • Chivasa, S, Berry, OJ, ap Rees, T & Carr, JP (1999). Changes in gene expression during development and thermogenesis in Arum. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 26(5): 391-399.
  • Murphy, AM, Chivasa, S, Singh, DP & Carr, JP (1999). Salicylic acid-induced resistance to viruses and other pathogens: a parting of the ways? Trends in Plant Science 4(4): 155-160.
  • Chivasa, S & Carr, JP (1998). Cyanide restores N gene-mediated resistance to tobacco mosaic virus in transgenic tobacco expressing salicylic acid hydroxylase. Plant Cell 10(9): 1489-1498.
  • Chivasa, S, Murphy, AM, Naylor, M & Carr, JP (1997). Salicylic Acid Interferes with Tobacco Mosaic Virus Replication via a Novel Salicylhydroxamic Acid-Sensitive Mechanism. Plant Cell 9(4): 547-557.