Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content


Profile Image

Peter B Goldsbrough

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Professor and Department Head
Lilly Hall Room 1-446

Dr. Goldsbrough is currently not accepting new graduate students into his program.

Our research is focused on understanding how plants respond and adapt to a variety of environmental stresses, including heavy metals and xenobiotics such as herbicides.

Some heavy metals, such as copper and zinc, are required for normal metabolic function while others, including cadmium and lead, are toxic. Plants use a variety of methods to prevent heavy metals from affecting their growth. Ligands such as phytochelatins and metallothioneins bind heavy metals within the cell thereby reducing the damage these metals would otherwise cause. We are currently examining the functions of phytochelatins and metallothioneins, in both metal tolerance and normal metal ion homeostasis. We are also using a genetic approach to understand how plants acquire heavy metals from the soil and regulate the distribution of metals among different tissues.

Plants are exposed to a wide variety of toxic chemicals, either from other organisms (e.g. allelochemicals) or by man (such as herbicides). Plants are equipped with a variety of mechanisms to detoxify these compounds and prevent damage. One mechanism involves conjugation to glutathione (GSH) and this is catalyzed by a family of enzymes knows as glutathiane S. transfereses (GSTs). In plants GSTs are encoded by a family of approximately 50 genes. We are interested in learning about the functions of these genes. Their regulation by various environmental factors, and how their genetic manipulation might be used to improve crop plants.

Awards & Honors

(2005) Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor. Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

(2004) Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor. Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

(2003) Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor. Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

Selected Publications

Vazquez, S. P., Goldsbrough, P. B., & Carpena, R. O. (2009). Comparative analysis of the contribution of phytochelatins to cadmium and arsenic tolerance in soybean and white lupin. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 47, 63-67.

Guo, W. J., Meetam, M., & Goldsbrough, P. B. (2008). Examining the specific contributions of individual Arabidopsis metallothioneins to copper distribution and metal tolerance. Plant Physiology, 146, 1697-1706.

Vazquez, S. P., Goldsbrough, P. B., Carpena, R. O., Vazquez, S. P., & Carpena, R. O. (2006). Assessing the relative contributions of phytochelatins and the cell wall to cadmium resistance in white lupin. Physiologia Plantarum, 128, 487-495.

DeRidder, B. P., & Goldsbrough, P. B. (2006). Organ-specific expression of glutathione S-transferases and the efficacy of herbicide safeners in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology, 140, 167-175.

Schor-Fumbarov, T., Goldsbrough, P. B., Adam, Z., & Tel-Or, E. (2005). Characterization and expression of a metallothionein gene in the aquatic fern Axolla filiculoides under heavy metal stress. Planta, 223, 69-76.

Mir, G., Domenech, J., Huguet, G., Guo, W. J., Goldsbrough, P. B., Atrian, S., & Molinas, M. (2004). A plant type 2 metallothionein (MT) from cork tissue responds to oxidative stress. Journal of Experimental Botany, 55, 2483-2493.

Smith, A. P., DeRidder, B. P., Guo, W. J., Seeley, E. H., Regnier, F. E., & Goldsbrough, P. B. (2004). Proteomic analysis of Arabidopsis glutathione S-transferases from benoxacor- and copper-treated seedlings.. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279, 26098-26104.

Smith, A. P., Nourizadeh, S. D., Peer, W. A., Xu, J. R., Bandyopadhyay, A., Murphy, A. S., & Goldsbrough, P. B. (2003). Arabidopsis AtGSTF2 is regulated by ethylene and auxin, and encodes a glutathione S-transferase that interact with flavonoids. The Plant Journal, 36, 433-442.

Guo, W. J., Bundithya, W., & Goldsbrough, P. B. (2003). Characterization of the Arabidopsis metallothionein gene family: tissue-specific expression and induction during senescence and in response to copper. New Phytologist, 159, 369-381.

Lee, S., Moon, J. S., Ko, T. S., Petros, D., Goldsbrough, P. B., & Korban, S. S. (2003). Overexpression of Arabidopsis phytochelatin synthase paradoxically leads to hypersensitivity to cadmium stress. Plant Physiology, 131, 656-663.