Karen Schumaker

Director - The School of Plant Sciences
Marley 441B
(520) 621-9635 / (520) 621-8910 (Lab)

Educational Background

  • B.S., Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis
  • M.S., Plant Breeding and Genetics, Oregon State University
  • Ph.D., Botany, University of Maryland
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine

Research Interests

  • Activities of living organisms require the performance of chemical, mechanical, osmotic or electrical work. The energy required for this work is supplied by metabolism; by respiration, photosynthesis and fermentation. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) has long been recognized as the universal energy currency, with metabolism supporting the synthesis of ATP and the hydrolysis of ATP being used for the subsequent work. However, ATP is not the only energy currency in living organisms. A second and very different energy currency links metabolism to work by a current of ions passing from one side of a membrane to the other. These ion currents play a major role in energy capture and they support a range of physiological processes from the active transport of nutrients to the removal of toxic ions. To more efficiently capture and utilize energy, it will be necessary to uncover mechanisms regulating these ion currents. In a project funded by the Physical Biosciences Program of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences at the Department of Energy, we are asking how calcium-binding proteins regulate the activity of specific secondary active transporters to control cellular sodium ion homeostasis during plant growth in saline conditions.
  • The build-up of salt in agricultural soils is a widespread problem that limits the growth and yield of important crop species worldwide. While genetic variation for plant growth in salinity (salt tolerance) exists, little is known about the genes and pathways underlying this variation. In a project funded by the Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems at the National Science Foundation, we are analyzing the molecular evolution of the genes and associated networks that control plant adaptation to soil salinity. To do this we are assessing the evolutionary forces acting on plant salt tolerance and mapping and isolating genes that underlie natural variation for this trait.

Selected Publications

  • Zhao Y, Pan Z, Zhang Y, Qu X, Zhang Y, Yang Y, Jiang X, Huang S, Yuan M, Schumaker KS, Guo Y. 2013. The Actin-Related Protein2/3 Complex Regulates Mitochondrial-Associated Calcium Signaling during Salt Stress in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell (http://www.plantcell.org/cgi/doi/10.1105/tpc.113.117887).
  • Yang R, Jarvis DE, Chen H, Beilstein MA, Grimwood J, Jenkins J, Shu SQ, Prochnik S, Xin M, Ma C, Schmutz J, Wing RA, Mitchell-Olds T, Schumaker KS, Wang X. 2013. The reference genome of the halophytic plant Eutrema salsugineum. Frontiers in Plant Science (doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00046).
  • Haudry A, Platts AE, Vello E, Hoen D, Leclercq M, Williamson R, Forczek E, Joly-Lopez Z, Steffen JG, Hazzouri KM, Dewar K, Stinchcombe JR, Schoen DJ, Wang X, Schmutz J, Town CD, Edger PP, Pires JC, Schumaker KS, Jarvis DE, Mandáková T, Lysak MA, van den Bergh E, Schranz ME, Harrison PM, Moses AM, Bureau TE, Wright SI, Blanchette M. 2013. An atlas of over 90,000 conserved noncoding sequences provides insight into crucifer regulatory regions. Nature Genetics (doi:10.1038/ng.2684).
  • Zheng Y, Schumaker KS, Guo Y. 2012. Sumoylation of transcription factor MYB30 by the small ubiquitin-like modifier E3 ligase SIZ1 mediates abscisic acid response in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 109, 12822–12827.
  • Zhou H, Zhao J, Yang Y, Chen C, Liu Y, Jin X, Chen L, Li X, Deng X-W, Schumaker KS, Guo Y. 2012. UBIQUITIN-SPECIFIC PROTEASE 16 modulates salt tolerance in Arabidopsis by regulating Na+/H+ antiport activity and serine hydroxymethyltransferase stability. Plant Cell 24, 5106-5122.
  • Drews GN, Wang D, Steffen JG, Schumaker KS, Yadegari R. 2011. Identification of genes expressed in the angiosperm female gametophyte. J. Exp. Bot. 62, 1593-1599.
  • Yang Y, Qin Y, Xie C, Zhao F, Zhao J, Liu D, Chen S, Fuglsang AT, Palmgren MG, Schumaker KS, Deng XW, Guo Y. 2010. The Arabidopsis chaperone J3 regulates the plasma membrane H+-ATPase through interaction with the PKS5 kinase. Plant Cell 22, 1313-1332.
  • Zhang C, Guo H, Zhang J, Guo G, Schumaker KS, Guo Y. 2010. Arabidopsis CSAat1A and CSAat1B proteins form a complex with CULLIN4 and DDB1A and regulate the response to UV radiation. Plant Cell 22, 2352-2369.
  • Wang D, Zhang C, Hearn DJ, Kang I-H, Punwani JA, Skaggs MI, Drews GN, Schumaker KS, Yadegari R. 2010. Identification of transcription-factor genes expressed in the Arabidopsis female gametophyte. BMC Plant Biology 10:110.
  • Lin H, Yang Y, Quan R, Mendoza I, Wu Y, Du W, Zhao S, Schumaker KS, Pardo JM, Guo Y. 2009. SOS2 phosphorylation of SCaBP8 stabilizes the SCaBP8-SOS2 complex and enhances salt tolerance in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 21, 1607-1619.
  • Nah G, Pagliarulo CL, Mohr PG, Luo M, Sisneros N, Yu Y, Collura K, Currie J, Goicoechea JL, Wing RA, Schumaker KS. 2009. Comparative Sequence Analysis of the SALT OVERLY SENSITIVE1 Orthologous Region in Thellungiella halophila and Arabidopsis thaliana. Genomics 94, 196-203.
  • Batelli G, Versules PE, Agius F, Qiu Q-S, Songqin FH, Schumaker KS, Grillo S, Zhu J-K. 2007. SOS2 promotes salt tolerance in part by interacting with the vacuolar H+-ATPase and upregulating its transport activity. Mol. Cell. Biol. 27, 7781-7790.
  • Fulsang AT, Guo Y, Cuin TA, Qiu Q-S, Song C, Kristiansen KA, Bych K, Schulz A, Shabala S, Schumaker KS, Palmgren MG, Zhu J-K. 2007. Arabidopsis protein kinase PKS5 inhibits the plasma membrane H+-ATPase by preventing interaction with 14-3-3 protein. Plant Cell 19, 1617-1634.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • PLS/MCB/EEB 440/540, Mechanisms of Plant Development
  • PLS/MCB/EEB 560, Current Topics in Plant Biology

Areas of Research

  • Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Environmental and Stress Biology
  • Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Systems Biology