Studying thermomorphogenesis using the bio-active small molecule Heatin

Lennard Casper van der Woude

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)

1 Downloads (Pure)


Climate change is threatening global food security as rising average temperatures cause yield reductions of staple crops. Research into how plants respond to higher temperatures can result in the development of novel thermotolerant crop varieties. However, temperature affects (almost) all processes in the plant. Therefore, research into a single temperature effect, for example architectural adaptations of plants grown under high temperatures (thermomorphogenesis) with the aim of improving cooling capacity, is a big challenge. We employed a chemical-genetic strategy, where chemical compounds are used to study a biological system. This led to the identification of a novel chemical compound, named Heatin, that simulates thermomorphogenesis already under control temperature conditions. This allowed us to circumvent the difficulty of the pervasiveness of temperature effects. Following a chemical proteomics approach, proteins have been isolated that interact with Heatin. This led to the identification of the family of Nitrilase proteins as direct Heatin interactors and regulators of thermomorphogenesis. These proteins have previously been identified as a component of biosynthesis of the hormone auxin that is required for thermomorphogenesis. This knowledge can now be used to breed for climate adapted crops.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Smeekens, Sjef, Supervisor
  • van Zanten, Martijn, Co-supervisor
Award date25 Mar 2019
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Print ISBNs978-94-6380-216-1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019


  • Thermomorphogenesis
  • Chemical Genomics
  • Heatin
  • Auxin
  • Arabidopsis
  • Nitrilase


Dive into the research topics of 'Studying thermomorphogenesis using the bio-active small molecule Heatin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this