Bailey-Serres Group

UC Riverside

Bailey-Serres Group, ASPB Western Section Meeting 2024

The Bailey-Serres group performs translational plant biology from gene to field.  We seek to harness genetic mechanisms that provide climate change resilience to crops, particularly flooding, drought and nutrient stress resilience. We work from the single cell to whole plant level. Our studies have defined mechanisms of low oxygen sensing and post-transcriptional gene regulation, from the epigenome to the "mRNPome" and translatome. This knowledge is of importance to efforts that seek to stabilize crop yields as Earth’s population grows, arable land decreases, and climate patterns change.

Professor Julia Bailey-Serres directs UCR's Center for Plant Cell Biology and NSF-funded Plants3D-NRT (National Research Trainineeship) program for graduate studies bridging plant biology and engineering.  

The group is dedicated to promoting science education and professional development as well as fostering diversity and innovation in collaborative and interdisciplinary research. 

Interested in flooding and low oxygen biology? Check out the ISPA community website


Young farmer in his Swarna Sub1 field.  His rice endured a 16 day flood. The non-Sub1 Swarna crop was destroyed; that area sown early with lentils. India visit with IRRI, 2008. Photo: JBS 

Farmers of Bangladesh and India risk losing all or part of their rice crops each year to Monsoon floods. Fortunately, flood-resilient rice has become a reality due to the identification of a rice gene called SUB1A that allows vegetative stage plants to survive prolonged period of time underwater. New rice varieties have been bred for submergence tolerance and provided to farmers, primarily through the initiatives of the International Rice Research Institute. Our team has elucidated the complex mechanisms of function of the SUB1A gene.


Field Atlas of Gene Activity


Waterlogging, Drought, Submergence


Transcription and Beyond 

To define low oxygen sensing and response mechanisms that enable survival for a short period of oxygen deprivation in the model plant Arabidopsis, we have studied extensively the regulation of gene expression that occurs after a gene transcript is produced, as the modulation of mRNA translation and storage provides a means to conserve energy when cells are deprived of oxygen. 

Our group developed the method "Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification" (TRAP) that enables researchers to monitor the mRNAs undergoing translation by ribosomes (the Translatome). This method can be used to monitor gene activity in specific cells and developmentally defined regions of plants. We have promoted use of TRAP and INTACT for multi-scale and cell type specific gene regulation analysis in crops. 

In our recent work defines transcriptional gene regulatory networks  and post-transcriptional gene regulatory mechanisms across species and in response to abiotic and biotic stress. 

Recent Papers

Alek Thomas Kettenburg, Miguel Angel Lopez, Kalenahalli Yogendra, Matthew J Prior, Teresa Rose, Sabrina Bimson, Sigrid Heuer, Stuart John Roy, Julia Bailey-Serres. OsPSTOL1 is prevalent in upland rice and its expression in wheat enhances root growth and hastens low phosphate signaling, Plant Cell and Environment, 2023

Reynoso MA, Borowsky AT, Pauluzzi GC, Yeung E, Zhang J, Formentin E, Velasco J, Cabanlit S, Duvenjian C, Prior MJ, Akmakjian GZ, Deal RB, Sinha NR, Brady SM, Girke T, Bailey-Serres J. Gene regulatory networks shape developmental plasticity of root cell types under water extremes in rice. Dev Cell. 2022 May 9;57(9):1177-1192

Kajala, K., Goran, M., Shaar-Moshe L., Mason, G., Rodriguez-Medina, J., et al. Cell. 2021.  Innovation, conservation, and repurposing of gene function in root cell type development. Lead by our amazing collaborator Siobhan Brady, a translatome atlas for tomato root cell types, including comparisons with rice and Arabidopsis. 

Bailey-Serres, J., Parker, J.E., Ainsworth, E.A. et al. Genetic strategies for improving crop yields. Nature 575, 109–118 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1679-0  in the 150 years of Nature reviews collection.

Reynoso, Kajala, Bajic, West, Pauluzzi et al. Science. This is the NSF PGR funded "Plasticity Project" team's deep genomic study comparing root tip gene regulatory networks responding to submergence responses in rice, medicago, tomato and a wild tomato.  Resources on our Data page.

Travis Lee and Julia Bailey-Serres;  The Plant  Cell.  A deep study of nuclear gene regulatory processes in response to hypoxia and re-aeration in Arabidopsis.  See chromtin, RNAPII, ATAC-seq, and four different popultions or mRNA for your favorite gene in a browser:  Data page.

Traubenik S, et al.  Reprogramming of Root Cells during Nitrogen-Fixing Symbiosis Involves Dynamic Polysome Association of Coding and Noncoding RNAs Plant Cell 2020. 

Chantarachot et al.  DHH1/DDX6-like RNA helicases maintain ephemeral half-lives of stress-response mRNAs associated with innate immunity and growth inhibition, Nature Plants.  Free Read Only Version

Alam, R., Hummel, M., Locke, A., Jia, Z., Ignaci, C.C.I., Baltazar, M.D., Ismail, A., Septiningsih, E.M. and Bailey-Serres, J. (2020) Flood resilience loci SUBMERGENCE 1 and ANAEROBIC GERMINATION 1 interact in seedlings established underwater. Plant Direct.  

See our Publications page for more