Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows


Peter Eastmond

Deputy Head of Plant Biology and Crop Science
Plant Biology & Crop Science

I obtained a BSc from the University of Reading and a PhD from the University of East Anglia (John Innes Centre). I was a Postdoctoral Researcher and subsequently a BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow at the University of York (Centre for Novel Agricultural Products), before I moved to the University of Warwick, where I was an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences. In 2011 I moved to Rothamsted Research, where I am currently the Deputy Head of the Plant Biology and Crop Science Department.

My primarily research interest is in plant lipid metabolism. Lipids are among the largest and most structurally diverse families of chemicals in nature and they have a great many biological functions. Certain classes of lipid form membranes; permeability barriers that define cells and compartmentalise all the biochemical processes within them. Other lipids, namely fats and oils, act as nature’s most energy rich carbon currency, while others still function as signalling molecules (hormones and secondary messengers) controlling growth, development and responses to the environment. In my lab we are interested in understanding how plant lipid metabolism is regulated, what its many functions are, and how this knowledge can be applied for our benefit. This work utilises a range of experimental systems including Arabidopsis thaliana and various brassica crop species.

+44 (0) 1582 763 133 ext: +44 1582 938184
Rothamsted Research, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ
Past Projects
Principal Investigator
  • Pre-breeding research to support climate change adaptation and reduction of environmental footprint of oilseed rape: OREGIN
Project Leader
  • Industrial crops producing added value oils for novel chemicals: ICON
  • Regulation of plant phospholipid biosynthsis
  • Understanding the role of lipases in controlling seed storage oil composition
  • *Metabolic flux analysis in oilseeds


Craddock, C.P., Adams, N., Kroon, J.T.M., Bryant, F.M., Hussey, P.J., Kurup, S., Eastmond, P.J.* (2016) Cyclin-dependent kinase activity enhances phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis in Arabidopsis by repressing phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase activity. Plant J. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.13322.

Bryant, F.M., Munoz-Azcarate, O., Kelly, A.A., Beaudoin, F., Kurup, S., Eastmond, P.J.* (2016) ACYL-ACYL CARRIER PROTEIN DESATURASE2 and 3 are responsible for making omega-7 fatty acids in the Arabidopsis aleurone. Plant Physiol. 172, 154-162 

Chen, G.Q., van Erp, H., Martin-Moreno, J., Johnson, K., Morales, E., Browse, J., Eastmond, P.J., Lin, J.T. (2016) Expression of castor LPAT2 enhances ricinoleic acid content at the sn-2 position of triacylglycerol in Lesquerella seed. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 17, 507.


Karp, A., Beale, M.H., Beaudoin, F., Eastmond, P.J., Neal, A.L., Shield, I.F., Townsend, B.J., Dobermann, A. (2015) Growing the bioeconomy. Nat. Plants 1, 15193.

Craddock, C.P., Adams, N., Bryant, F.M., Kurup, S., Eastmond, P.J.* (2015) Regulation of endomembrane biogenesis in Arabidopsis by phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase. Plant Signal Behav. 10, e1065376. 

Craddock, C.P., Adams, N., Bryant, F.M., Kurup, S., Eastmond, P.J.* (2015) PHOSPHATIDIC ACID PHOSPHOHYDROLASE regulates phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis in Arabidopsis by phosphatidic acid-mediated activation of CTP:PHOSPHOCHOLINE CYTIDYLYLTRANSFERASE activity. Plant Cell 27, 1251-1264.

Eastmond, P.J., Astley, H.M., Parsley, K., Aubry, S., Williams, B.P., Menard, G.N., Craddock, C.P., Nunes-Nesi, A., Fernie, A.R., Hibberd, J.M. (2015) Arabidopsis uses two gluconeogenic gateways for organic acids to fuel seedling establishment. Nat. Commun. 6, 6659. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7659.


van Erp H., Kelly A.A., Menard G., Eastmond P.J.* (2014) Multi-gene engineering of triacylglycerol metabolism boosts seed oil content in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 165, 30-36.

Eastmond P.J.* (2014) Biomass oil crops: more than a pipe dream? Biofuels 5, 95-97.

Zhu Q., Dugardeyn J., Zhang C., Mühlenbock P., Eastmond P.J., Valcke R., De Coninck B., Oden S., Karampelias M., Cammue B.P., Prinsen E., Van Der Straeten D. (2014) The Arabidopsis thaliana RNA Editing Factor SLO2, which Affects the Mitochondrial Electron Transport Chain, Participates in Multiple Stress and Hormone Responses. Mol. Plant. 7, 290-310.


Mendes A., Kelly A.A., van Erp H., Shaw E., Powers S.J., Kurup S., Eastmond P.J.* (2013) bZIP67 regulates the omega-3 fatty acid content of Arabidopsis seed oil by activating fatty acid desaturase3. Plant Cell 25, 3104-3116.

Kelly, A.A., van Erp, H., Quettier, A-L., Shaw, E., Menard, G., Kurup, S. and Eastmond, P.J.* (2013) The SUGAR-DEPENDENT1 lipase limits triacylglycerol accumulation in vegetative tissues of Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 162, 1282-1289.

Kelly, A.A., Shaw, E., Powers, S.J., Kurup, S. and Eastmond, P.J.* (2013) Suppression of the SUGAR-DEPENDENT1 triacylglycerol lipase family during seed development enhances oil yield in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.). Plant Biotech. J 11, 355-361.

Rajangam, A.S., Gidda, S.K., Craddock, C., Mullen, R.T., Dyer, J.M. and Eastmond, P.J.* (2013) Molecular characterization of the fatty alcohol oxidation pathway for wax-ester mobilization in germinated jojoba seeds. Plant Physiol. 161, 72-80.


Wang, E., Schornack, S., Marsh, J.F., Gobbato, E., Schwessinger, B., Eastmond, P., Schultze, M., Kamoun, S. and Oldroyd, G.E.D. (2012) A common signaling process that promotes mycorrhizal and oomycete colonization of plants. Curr. Biol. 22, 2242-2246.

Haslam, R.P., Ruiz-Lopez, N., Eastmond, P., Moloney, M., Sayanova, O. and Napier, J.A. (2012) The modification of plant oil composition via metabolic engineering-better nutrition by design. Plant Biotech. J 11, 157-168.

Zhu, Q., Dugardeyn, J., Zhang, C., Takenaka, M., Kühn, K., Craddock, C., Smalle, J., Karampelias, M., Denecke, J., Peters, J., Gerats, T., Brennicke, A., Eastmond, P., Meyer, E. and Van Der Straeten, D. (2012) SLO2, a mitochondrial PPR protein affecting several RNA editing sites, is required for energy metabolism. Plant J 71, 836-849.

Theodoulou, F.L. and Eastmond, P.J.* (2012) Seed storage oil catabolism: a story of give and take. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 15, 322-328.


Kelly, A.A., Quettier, A-L., Shaw, E. and Eastmond, P.J.* (2011) Seed storage oil mobilization is important but not essential for germination or seedling establishment in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 157, 866-875.

Eastmond, P.J.,* Quettier, A-L., Kroon, J.T., Craddock, C., Adams, N. and Slabas, A.R. (2011) A phosphatidate phosphatase double mutant provides a new insight into plant membrane lipid homeostasis. Plant Signal. Behav. 6, 526-527.


Tolley, N., Sparkes, I., Craddock, C., Eastmond, P.J., Runions, J., Hawes, C. and Frigerio, L. (2010) Transmembrane domain length is responsible for the ability of a plant reticulon to shape endoplasmic reticulum tubules in vivo. Plant J 64, 411-418.

Eastmond, P.J.,* Quettier, A.L., Kroon, J.T., Craddock, C., Adams, N. and Slabas, A.R. (2010) PHOSPHATIDIC ACID PHOSPHOHYDROLASE1 and 2 Regulate Phospholipid Synthesis at the Endoplasmic Reticulum in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 22, 2796-2811.


Quettier, A-L., Shaw, E. and Eastmond, P.J.* (2008) SUGAR-DEPENDENT6 encodes a mitochondrial flavin adenine dinucleotide-dependent glycerol-3-p dehydrogenase, which is required for glycerol catabolism and post germinative seedling growth in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 148, 519-528.


Eastmond, P.J.* (2007) MONODEHYDROASCORBATE REDUCTASE4 is required for seed storage oil hydrolysis and post-germinative growth in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 19, 1376-1387.


Rylott, E.L., Eastmond, P.J., Gilday, A.D., Slocombe, S.P., Larson, T.R., Baker, A. and Graham, I.A. (2006) The Arabidopsis thaliana multifunctional protein gene (MFP2) of peroxisomal beta-oxidation is essential for seedling establishment. Plant J. 45, 930-941.

Eastmond, P.J.* (2006) SUGAR-DEPENDENT1 encodes a patatin domain triacylglycerol lipase that initiates storage oil breakdown in germinating Arabidopsis seeds. Plant Cell 18, 665-675.


Eastmond, P.J.* and Jones, R.L. (2005) Hormonal regulation of gluconeogenesis in cereal aleurone is strongly cultivar dependent and GA action involves SLENDER1 but not GAMYB. Plant J. 44, 483-493.


Eastmond, P.J.* (2004) Cloning and characterization of the acid lipase from castor beans. J. Biol. Chem. 279, 45540-45545.

Lange, P.R., Eastmond, P.J., Madagan, K., Graham, I.A. (2004) An Arabidopsis mutant disrupted in valine catabolism is also compromised in peroxisomal fatty acid beta-oxidation. FEBS Lett. 571, 147-153.

Eastmond, P.J.* (2004) Glycerol insensitive Arabidopsis mutants: gli1 lacks glycerol kinase, accumulates glycerol and is more resistant to abiotic stress. Plant J. 37, 617-625.


Eastmond, P.J., van Dijken, A.J.H., Spielman, M., Kerr, A., Dickinson, H., Jones, J.D.G., Smeekens, S. and Graham, I.A. (2002) Trehalose-6-phosphate synthase 1, which catalyses the first step in trehalose synthesis, is essential for Arabidopsis embryo maturation. Plant J. 29, 225-235.


Eastmond, P.J., Hooks, M., Williams, D., Lange, P.R., Bechtold, N., Sarrobert, C., Nussaume, L. and Graham, I.A. (2000) Promoter trapping of a novel medium-chain acyl-CoA oxidase, which is induced during Arabidopsis seed germination. J. Biol. Chem. 275, 34375-34381.

Eastmond, P.J., Germain, V., Lange, P.R., Bryce, J.H., Smith, S.M. and Graham, I.A. (2000) Post-germinative growth and lipid catabolism in oilseeds lacking the glyoxylate cycle. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97, 5669-5674.

Eastmond, P.J. and Rawsthorne, S. (2000) Co-ordinate changes in carbon partitioning and plastidial metabolism during the development of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) embryos. Plant Physiol. 122, 767-774.

Eastmond, P.J. and Graham, I.A. (2000) The multifunctional protein AtMFP2 is co-ordinately expressed with other genes of fatty acid beta-oxidation during seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 28, 95-99.


Eastmond, P.J. and Rawsthorne, S. (1998) Comparison of the metabolic properties of plastids isolated from developing leaves and embryos of Brassica napus L. J. Exp. Bot. 49, 1105-1111.


Eastmond, P.J. and Ross, J.D. (1997) Evidence that the induction of crassulacean acid metabolism by water stress in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. involves root signaling. Plant Cell Environ. 20, 1559-1565.

DaSilva, P.M.F.R., Eastmond, P.J., Hill, L.M., Smith, A.M. and Rawsthorne, S. (1997) Starch metabolism in developing embryos of oilseed rape. Planta 203, 480-487.

Eastmond, P.J., Dennis, D.T. and Rawsthorne, S. (1997) Evidence that a malate/inorganic phosphate exchange translocator imports carbon across the leucoplast envelope for fatty acid synthesis in developing castor endosperm. Plant Physiol. 114, 851-856.


Eastmond, P.J., Kolacna, L. and Rawsthorne, S. (1996) Photosynthesis by developing embryos of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.). J. Exp. Bot. 47, 1763-1769.



PhD in Plant Biochemistry (University of East Anglia (John Innes Centre))


BSc in Plant Biology (University of Reading)