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Greg C. Vanlerberghe

B.Sc., M.Sc. (University of Western Ontario); Ph.D. (Queen’s University); Professor



Office: SW421B Phone:  416-287-7431
Lab: SW428 Phone:  416-287-7240



My laboratory applies physiological, biochemical and molecular biological approaches to study metabolism, nutrition, and cell physiology in plants. An integrative approach is taken whereby processes are studied at the whole plant, cell, organelle and molecular level. Nicotiana tabacum and Arabidopsis thaliana are used as model plant species for these studies. Interests include mitochondrial electron transport and the alternative oxidase, respiratory carbon metabolism, nitrogen and phosphorus nutrition, environmental and stress physiology, mitochondrial stress responses, oxidative stress, anaerobic metabolism, plant cell death mechanisms, terminal oxidases in cyanobacteria and marine invertebrates, plant-pathogen interactions, and comparative approaches to cellular energetics.

Current Research Group

Dr. Sasan Amirsadeghi – Research Associate

Marina Cvetkovska – MSc. candidate

Jia (Steven) Wang – MSc. candidate

Yanling (Dorothy) Zhao – Undergraduate

Sarah Salameh – Undergraduate



BGYB31H – Plant Physiology

BGYD37H – Biology of Plant Stress

BGYD01Y – Directed Research in Biology

BGYD03H – Supervised Study in Biology


Recent Publications

Robson CA, DY Zhao & GC Vanlerberghe (2007) Mitochondrial electron transport, reactive oxygen species and susceptibility to programmed cell death (submitted).

Amirsadeghi S, AE McDonald & GC Vanlerberghe (2007) A glucocorticoid-inducible gene expression system can cause growth defects in tobacco. Planta 226, 453-463.

Amirsadeghi S, CA Robson & GC Vanlerberghe (2007) The role of the mitochondrion in plant responses to biotic stress. Physiol. Plant. 129, 253-266.

Amirsadeghi S, CA Robson, AE McDonald & GC Vanlerberghe (2006) Changes in plant mitochondrial electron transport alter cellular levels of reactive oxygen species and susceptibility to cell death signaling molecules. Plant Cell Physiol. 47, 1509-1519.

McDonald AE & GC Vanlerberghe (2006) Origins, evolutionary history, and taxonomic distribution of alternative oxidase and plastoquinol terminal oxidase. Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part D 1, 357-364 (plus supplementary data online).

McDonald AE & GC Vanlerberghe (2006) New insights into the organization and control of plant mitochondrial metabolism. In: WC Plaxton, MT McManus, eds. Annual Plant Reviews: Control of primary metabolism in plants. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, United Kingdom, pp. 290-324.

Guy RD & GC Vanlerberghe (2005) Partitioning of respiratory electrons in the dark in leaves of transgenic tobacco with modified levels of alternative oxidase. Physiol. Plant. 125, 171-180.

Sieger SM, BK Kristensen, CA Robson, S Amirsadeghi, EWY Eng, A Abdel-Mesih, , IM Møller & GC Vanlerberghe (2005) The role of alternative oxidase in modulating carbon use efficiency and growth during macronutrient stress in tobacco cells. J. Exp. Bot. 56, 1499-1515.

McDonald AE & GC Vanlerberghe (2005) Alternative oxidase and plastoquinol terminal oxidase in marine prokaryotes of the Sargasso Sea. Gene 349, 15-24.


McDonald AE & GC Vanlerberghe (2004) Branched mitochondrial electron transport in the Animalia: presence of alternative oxidase in several animal phyla. IUBMB Life 56, 333-341.

Rhoads DM & GC Vanlerberghe (2004) Mitochondria-nucleus interactions: evidence for mitochondrial retrograde communication in plant cells. In: DA Day, AH Millar & J Whelan, eds. Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, Volume 17, Plant Mitochondria: From Genome to Function. Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, pp 83-106.

McDonald AE, S Amirsadeghi & GC Vanlerberghe (2003) Prokaryotic orthologues of mitochondrial alternative oxidase and plastid terminal oxidase. Plant Mol. Biol. 53, 865-876.

McDonald AE, SM Sieger & GC Vanlerberghe (2002) Methods and approaches to study plant mitochondrial alternative oxidase. Physiol. Plant. 116, 135-143.

Robson CA & GC Vanlerberghe (2002) Transgenic plant cells lacking mitochondrial alternative oxidase have increased susceptibility to mitochondria-dependent and -independent pathways of programmed cell death. Plant Physiol. 129, 1908-1920.

Ordog SH, VJ Higgins & GC Vanlerberghe (2002) Alternative oxidase is not a critical component of plant viral resistance but may play a role in the hypersensitive response. Plant Physiol. 129, 1858-1865.

Vanlerberghe GC, CA Robson & JYH Yip (2002) Induction of mitochondrial alternative oxidase in response to a cell signal pathway down-regulating the cytochrome pathway prevents programmed cell death. Plant Physiol. 129, 1829-1842.

Vanlerberghe GC & SH Ordog (2002) Alternative oxidase: integrating carbon metabolism and electron transport in plant respiration. In: CH Foyer & G Noctor, eds. Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, Volume 12, Photosynthetic Nitrogen Assimilation and Associated Carbon and Respiratory Metabolism. Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, pp 173-191.

Yip JYH & GC Vanlerberghe (2001) Mitochondrial alternative oxidase acts to dampen the generation of active oxygen species during a period of rapid respiration induced to support a high rate of nutrient uptake. Physiol. Plant. 112, 327-333.


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