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Professor Richard Napier





Life Sciences
University of Warwick
Tel: 024 7657 5094
WebLink: Molecular Recognition and Transport

Research Interests

  • See our paper on tomographic docking of auxins, link from group webpage.
  • Molecular recognition is at the heart of the group's activities, in particular the binding and selectivity of hormones by their receptors and transport proteins. The principal projects at present are; the kinetic characterisation of the auxin receptor TIR1; the structure and function of auxin transport proteins; and the development of biosensors for quantitating hormone concentrations in vivo.
  • Many of the defining responses to auxin are mediated through the receptor protein known as TIR1. In collaboration with Dr Stefan Kepinski (University of Leeds) we are investigating the auxin-mediated kinetics of Aux/IAA transcription factor binding to the SCFTIR1 complex. Much of the work uses Biacore surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to record binding in real-time. Pharmacophoric mapping of receptors informs rational design and selection of novel auxins. This work is now extended to similar studies of auxin transport proteins.
  • Biosensors combine a biological recognition domain with a physicochemical output unit. Like receptor proteins, recognition domains need to recognise analytes with appropriate sensitivity and selectivity and we are collecting suitable hormone sensor elements. In order to sample from living plants in real-time we are harnessing microtechnologies by working with the experienced neurobiology electrophysiology group of Prof Nick Dale. We have developed microsensors for cytokinins with low nanomolar sensitivity
  • Tomographic docking. We have developed a new application of AutoDock Vina to examine the interactions ligands make on their way down into deep binding pockets. Our work suggests molecular filters contribute to selection long before docking occurs.


BSc (Hons) Plant Science, University of Reading, 1980 PhD, University of Leicester, 1984 Awards and External Appointments: 1995 President's Medal, Society for Experimental Biology 2003 - 2011, Visiting Professor, University of Nottingham. Editorial Boards: Journal of Experimental Botany

Research Projects

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  • Busi, Roberto, Goggin, Danica E., Heap, Ian, Horak, Michael J., Jugulam, Mithila, Masters, Robert A., Napier, R., Riar, Dilpreet S., Satchivi, Norbert M., Torra, Joel, Westra, Phillip, Wright, Terry R., 2018. Weed resistance to synthetic auxin herbicides. Pest Management Science, 74 (10), pp. 2265-2276, View
  • Hoyerova, Klara, Hosek, Petr, Quareshy, Mussa, Li, Jun, Klima, Petr, Kubes, Martin, Yemm, Antony A., Neve, Paul, Tripathi, Ashutosh, Bennett , Malcolm J., Napier, R. (Richard), 2018. Auxin molecular field maps define AUX1 selectivity : many auxin herbicides are not substrates. New Phytologist, 217 (4), pp. 1625-1639, View
  • Quareshy, Mussa, Prusinska, Justyna, Kieffer, Martin, Fukui, Kosuke, Pardal, Alonso J., Lehmann, Silke, Schäfer, Patrick, Del Genio, Charo I., Kepinski, Stefan, Hayashi, Kenichiro, Marsh, Andrew, Napier, Richard M., 2018. The Tetrazole Analogue of the Auxin Indole-3-acetic Acid Binds Preferentially to TIR1 and Not AFB5. ACS Chemical Biology, 13 (9), pp. 2585-2594, View
  • Novák, Ondrej, Napier, R. (Richard), Ljung, Karin, 2017. Zooming in on plant hormone analysis : tissue- and cell-specific approaches. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 68 (1), View

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