Diane Bassham

Walter E. and Helen Parke Loomis Professor of Plant Physiology
Diane Bassham photo

Professor Bassham received her B.Sc. (Honours) in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham, England. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Warwick, England. Dr. Bassham completed a post-doctoral appointment in the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, and joined the faculty at Iowa State University in 2001. In 1999, Dr. Bassham received the Anton Lang Memorial Research Excellence Award for post-doctoral research associates from Michigan State University.  In 2013, Dr. Bassham was chosen as the first Helen Parke Loomis Professor of Plant Physiology in GDCB.

Research Description

My research interests focus on understanding the biogenesis and functions of the plant vacuole. The vacuole is a large organelle that has diverse roles in maintenance of turgor, storage of proteins, ions and metabolites, and degradation of proteins and other macromolecules. A major research project in my lab involves the study of vacuolar autophagy, a pathway for uptake of proteins into the vacuole for degradation during environmental stress and senescence. Plants defective in this pathway are more sensitive to stress conditions and show premature leaf senescence. A second project is the analysis of the vesicle trafficking pathway delivering newly-synthesized proteins to the vacuole. Both projects involve cell and molecular approaches combined with genetic analyses to determine the function of individual proteins in the respective pathways.


  • Liu Y, J Soto Burgos, Y Deng, R Srivastava, SH Howell and DC Bassham. Degradation of the endoplasmic reticulum by autophagy during endoplasmic reticulum stress in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell, in press.
  • Floyd BE, SC Morriss, GC MacIntosh and DC Bassham. 2012. What to eat: Evidence for selective autophagy in plants. J Int Plant Biol 54: 907–920.
  • Klionsky et al. 2012. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy. Autophagy 8: 445–544.
  • Contento AL and DC Bassham. 2012. Structure and function of endosomes in plant cells. J Cell Sci 125: 3511–3518.
  • Liu Y and DC Bassham. 2012. Autophagy: pathways for self-eating in plant cells. Ann Rev Plant Biol 63: 215-237.
  • Schneller W, PJ Campbell, D Bassham and ES Wurtele. 2012. Meta!Blast computer game: a pipeline from science to 3D art to education. Proc. SPIE 8289, 828905. http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.911289
  • Kim SJ and Bassham DC. 2011. TNO1 is involved in salt tolerance and vacuolar trafficking in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol 156: 514–526.
  • MacIntosh GC and DC Bassham. 2011. The connection between ribophagy, autophagy and ribosomal RNA decay. Autophagy 7: 662-663.
  • Lenz HD, E Haller, E Melzer, K Kober, K Wurster, M Stahl, DC Bassham, RD Vierstra, JE Parker, J Bautor, A Molina, V Escudero, T Shindo, RAL van der Hoorn, AA Gust and Thorsten Nürnberger. 2011. Autophagy differentially controls plant basal immunity to biotrophic and necrotrophic pathogens. Plant J 66: 818–830.
  • Peng JL, H Ilarslan, ES Wurtele and DC Bassham. 2011. AtRabD2b and AtRabD2c have overlapping functions in pollen development and pollen tube growth. BMC Plant Biol 11: 25.
  • Hillwig MS, AL Contento, A Meyer, D Ebany, DC Bassham and GC MacIntosh. 2011. RNS2, a conserved member of the RNase T2 family, is necessary for ribosomal RNA decay in plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108: 1093-1098.
  • Liu Y and DC Bassham. 2010. TOR is a negative regulator of autophagy in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11883. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011883.
  • Contento AL and DC Bassham. 2010. Increase in catalase-3 activity as a response to use of alternative catabolic substrates during sucrose starvation. Plant Physiol Biochem 48: 232-238.
  • Wurtele ES, DC Bassham, J Dickerson, DJ Kabala, W Schneller, M Stenerson and A Vasanth. 2010. Meta!Blast: A serious game to explore the complexities of structural and metabolic cell biology. Proceedings of the ASME 2010 World Conference on Innovative Virtual Reality, Ames, Iowa, USA.
  • Zouhar J, E Rojo and DC Bassham. 2010. Retrograde transport from the prevacuolar compartment to the trans-Golgi network. Plant Science 178: 90-93.
  • Liu Y, Xiong Y and DC Bassham. 2009. Autophagy is required for tolerance of drought and salt stress in plants. Autophagy 5: 954-963.
  • Zouhar J, E Rojo and DC Bassham. 2009. AtVPS45 is a positive regulator of the SYP41/SYP61/VTI12 SNARE complex involved in trafficking of vacuolar cargo. Plant Physiol 149: 1668-1678.
  • Bassham DC. 2009. Function and regulation of macroautophagy in plants. Biochim Biophys Acta 1793: 1397-1403.
  • Phan NQ and DC Bassham. 2008. Overexpression of Arabidopsis sorting nexin AtSNX2b inhibits endocytic trafficking to the vacuole. Mol Plant 1: 961-976.
  • Bassham DC, F Brandizzi, MS Otegui and AA Sanderfoot. 2008. The secretory system of Arabidopsis: September 30, 2008. The Arabidopsis Book. Rockville, MD: American Society of Plant Biologists. doi: 10.1199/tab.0116, http://www.aspb.org/publications/arabidopsis/
  • Klionsky et al. 2008. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy in higher eukaryotes. Autophagy 4: 151-175.
  • Bassham DC and MR Blatt. 2008. SNAREs – cogs and coordinators in signaling and development. Plant Physiol 147: 1504-1515.Bassham DC. 2007. Plant autophagy – more than a starvation response. Curr Opin Plant Biol 10: 587-593.
  • Leon RG, DC Bassham and MDK Owen. 2007. Thermal and hormonal regulation of the dormancy–germination transition in Amaranthus tuberculatus seeds. Weed Res 47: 335-344.
  • Call AB, S Herrnstadt, ES Wurtele, J Dickerson and D Bassham. 2007. MetaBlast Virtual Cell: A Pedagogical Convergence between Game Design and Science Education. Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics 5: 27-31.
  • Xiong Y, AL Contento and DC Bassham. 2007. Disruption of autophagy results in constitutive oxidative stress in Arabidopsis. Autophagy 3: 257-258.
  • Bassham DC, M Laporte, F Marty, Y Moriyasu, Y Ohsumi, LJ Olsen and K Yoshimoto. 2006. Autophagy in development and stress responses of plants. Autophagy 2: 2-11.
  • Xiong Y, AL Contento, NQ Phan and DC Bassham. 2007. Degradation of oxidized proteins by autophagy during oxidative stress in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 143:291-299.
  • Leon RG, DC Bassham and MDK Owen. 2006. Germination and proteome analyses reveal intra-specific variation in seed dormancy regulation in common waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus). Weed Sci 54:305-315.
  • Leon RG, DC Bassham and MDK Owen. 2006. Inheritance of deep seed dormancy and stratification-mediated dormancy alleviation in Amaranthus tuberculatus. Seed Science Res 16:193-202.
  • Contento AL, Y Xiong and DC Bassham. 2005. Visualization of autophagy in Arabidopsis using the fluorescent dye monodansylcadaverine and a GFP-ATG8e fusion protein. Plant J 42:598-608.
  • Xiong Y, AL Contento and DC Bassham. 2005. AtATG18a is required for the formation of autophagosomes during nutrient stress and senescence in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant J 42:535-546.
  • Chen Y, Y-K Shin and DC Bassham. 2005. YKT6 is a core constituent of membrane fusion machineries at the Arabidopsis trans-Golgi network. J Mol Biol 350:92-101.
  • Contento AL, SJ Kim and DC Bassham. 2004. Transcriptome profiling of the response of Arabidopsis thaliana suspension culture cells to sucrose starvation. Plant Physiol 135:2330-2347.
  • Bassham DC. 2002. Golgi-independent trafficking of macromolecules to the plant vacuole. Adv Bot Res 38:65-92.
  • Sanderfoot AA, V Kovaleva, DC Bassham and NV Raikhel. 2001. Interactions between syntaxins identify at least five SNARE complexes within the Golgi/prevacuolar system of the Arabidopsis cell. Mol Biol Cell 12:3733-3743.
  • Bassham DC and NV Raikhel. 2000. Unique features of the plant vacuolar sorting machinery. Curr Opin Cell Biol 12:491-495.
  • Bassham DC and NV Raikhel. 2000. Plant cells are not just green yeast. Plant Physiol 122:999-1002.
  • Bassham DC, AA Sanderfoot, V Kovaleva, H Zheng and NV Raikhel. 2000. AtVPS45p complex formation at the trans-Golgi network. Mol Biol Cell 11:2255-2265.
Area of Expertise: 
Biogenesis and Functions of the Plant Vacuole
B.S., Biochemistry, First Class (Honours), University of Birmingham, England, 1990
Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, England, 1993
1035B Roy J. Carver Co-Lab