The main interest of the group is the signal transduction pathway that plant cells use to respond to the growth promoting hormones, brassinosteroids.

Eugenia Russinova

Group Leader
VIB Group Leader since 2006
Postdoc: Wageningen Univ., Wageningen, The Netherlands, 1998-2005
Postdoc: Norman Borlang Inst., UK, 1997-1998
PhD: Norman Borlang Inst., De Montfort Univ., Leicester, UK, 1996

Research areas

Plant biology Systems biology

Model organisms

Research Focus

The main interest of the group is the signal transduction pathway that plant cells use to respond to the growth promoting hormones, brassinosteroids.

Brassinosteroids are ubiquitously distributed throughout the plant kingdom sterol derivatives. Brassinosteroid deficient mutants display dramatic developmental defects including dwarfism, male sterility, delayed flowering, reduced apical dominance, and a light-grown morphology when grown in dark. Like their animal counterparts, brassinosteroids regulate the expression of numerous genes, impact the activity of complex metabolic pathways, contribute to the regulation of cell division and differentiation, and help control overall development. Brassinosteroids regulate photomorphogenesis, etiolation and cell expansion. Brassinosteroids have a broad spectrum of activities that have a positive effect on the quantity and quality of crops and they increase plant resistance to stress and pathogens.

Brassinosteroids are essential growth-promoting plant hormones. Phenotypes of Arabidopsis wild type and brassinosteroid receptor mutant bri1brl1brl3 plants are shown. The mutant displays severe dwarfism. 


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Russinova Lab news

New chemical tool to block endocytosis in plants identified


​Plant cells absorb many important substances through a process called endocytosis. In plants, endocytosis is essential for nutrient uptake, passing on cellular signals and plant-microbe interactions.  An international collaborative effort of scientists from several VIB Centers, Ghent University and the Free University of Berlin, coordinated by Prof. Jenny Russinova (VIB-UGent) found a new chemical that blocks endocytosis. 

Researchers discover novel “to divide or to differentiate” switch in plants


Scientists from VIB and Ghent University under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Jenny Russinova uncovered a novel mechanism in plants that controls an important decision step in stomatal lineage to divide asymmetrically or to differentiate. This is a decisive step for the formation of stomata, tiny pores on the plant surface, produced by asymmetric cell division. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana they identified a scaffolding protein, POLAR, and demonstrated that POLAR brings a subset of GSK3-like kinases to their interacting partners at the polarized end of the stomatal precursor cell to initiate asymmetric cell division. This surprising regulation through scaffolding might be a more common mechanism to control GSK3-like kinases functions in plants.