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Sainsbury Laboratory

Research Interests

Most legumes could form nitrogen-fixing nodules through mutualistic symbiosis with soil bacteria. Therefore, legume crops do not rely heavily on nitrogen fertilisers. Since high nitrogen fertilisers usage consumes fossil fuels and leads to various environmental problems, nitrogen-fixing crops provide more sustainable option for food production. I am fascinated by the high plasticity of legume root development and this drives my research interest in understanding the mechanisms underlying this property.


Regulatory micropeptides in nodule development

During my PhD, I have characterised the first CEP (C-terminally Encoded Peptide) in the model legume, Medicago truncatula. This signaling peptide, MtCEP1, is secreted extracellularly and binds to its putative receptor, CRA2. This peptide regulates nodule formation during nitrogen limitation. Currently, I am exploring another type of regulatory peptides that act intracellularly called micropeptides. I am studying the roles of one of these micropeptides in nodule vascular development.

Micropeptide expression in nodule vascular bundles


Tuber development in forgotten and underutilized legumes

I am currently a co-PI in an interdisciplinary project to rehabilitate a forgotten and underutilized African legume, African Yam Bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa). This project is in collaboration with IITA and is currently funded by Research England under GCRF. Compared to other more well-known legume crops that are consumed for their beans, the African Yam Bean (AYB) can be consumed for both beans and tubers formed on the same plant. From our Peas ‘n Chips Project, we had identified several traits that need to be improved for AYB. One of these traits is bigger tubers. However, tuber development in legume plants has not been comprehensively characterised yet. Therefore, my project focuses on characterising the tuber development in AYB and understanding the mechanism for further trait improvement.

Tubers of African Yam Bean. Picture is courtesy of Ademola Aina (IITA)


Selected publications

  • Mohd-Radzman NA, Laffont C, Ivanovici A, Patel N, Reid D, Stougaard J, Frugier F, Imin N, Djordjevic MA. (2016). Different pathways act downstream of the peptide receptor CRA2 to regulate lateral root and nodule development. Plant Physiology, 171 (4), 2536–2548.
  • Mohd-Radzman NA, Binos S, Truong TT, Imin N, Mariani M, Djordjevic MA. (2015) Novel MtCEP1 peptides produced in vivo differentially regulate root development in Medicago truncatula. Journal of Experimental Botany, 66 (17): 5289-5300.
  • Imin N*, Mohd-Radzman NA*, Ogilvie HA, Djordjevic MA. (2013) The peptide-encoding CEP1 gene modulates lateral root and nodule numbers in Medicago truncatula. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64(17):5395-409. (*Co-first authors)


Research Associate
Nadia Radzman

Contact Details

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street
Cambridge CB2 1LR