Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows


Frederica Theodoulou

Principal Investigator
Plant Sciences



Research in my group focuses on targeted protein degradation in plants, in particular the N-end rule pathway. We use a combination of genetics, quantitative proteomics and conventional biochemistry to probe the functions and substrates of E3 ligases and are also developing tools to measure protein lifetime in plants. We have a particular interest in protein turnover and oxygen sensing, with a long term goal of improving flood tolerance in crops. 


Rothamsted is a centre of excellence for plant lipid metabolism, and my lab belongs to the Lipid Signalling and Metabolism “supergroup”. We are interested in peroxisomal transport proteins (especially ABC transporters) involved in lipid catabolism and have also identified novel regulators of lipid breakdown via genetic screens. We discovered recently that targeted protein degradation plays a role in the control of lipid metabolism, uniting the two main research themes of the lab. 

If you are interested in working with us, please get in touch! Funded posts and studentships will be advertised in the “vacancies” section of the Rothamsted website but I am interested to hear from individuals interested in developing fellowship proposals in areas related to the scientific remit of the group.



Peroxisomes and transporters: Prof Alison Baker, University of Leeds; Prof Ron Wanders and Dr Carlo van Roermund, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam; Dr Nicole Linka, Düsseldorf University.

N-end rule pathway: Prof Mike Holdsworth, University of Nottingham; Dr Dan Gibbs, University of Birmingham.

Proteomics: Prof Kathryn Lilley, University of Cambridge.



  • Chair of Postgraduate Education Committee
  • Nottingham-Rothamsted Doctoral Training Programme Steering Committee
  • Institute Sift Panel



+44 (0) 1582 763 133 ext: +44 1582 938264
Rothamsted Research, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ
Past Projects
Principal Investigator
  • Lipid transport and metabolism
Project Leader
  • Purification and functional characterisation of COMATOSE a peroxisomal ABC transporter from Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Lipid transport and metabolism
  • *Design Oilseeds (Freddie Theodoulou)
  • Substrates of the N-end rule of targeted protein degradation
  • *Research Exp Student Directors
  • *Towards floodin-tolerant plants: a molecular toolkit for h poxia research
  • Designing oilseeds for nutrition and health


  • Theodoulou, F.L.*, Carrier, D.J., Schaedler, T.A., Baldwin, J.M., Baker, A. (2016) How to move an amphipathic molecule across a lipid bilayer: different mechanisms for different ABC transporters? Biochem Soc Trans, 44, 774-782


  • Zhang, H., Deery, M.J., Gannon, L., Powers, S.J., Lilley, K.S., Theodoulou, F.L.* (2015) A quantitative proteomics analysis of the Arg/N-end rule pathway of targeted degradation in Arabidopsis roots. Proteomics,15, 2447-2457


  • Theodoulou, F.L.*, Kerr, I.D. (2015) ABC transporters: going strong 40 years on. Biochem Soc Trans, 45, 1033-1040


  • Baker, A., Carrier, D., Schaedler, T.A., Waterham, H.R., van Roermund, C.W., Theodoulou, F.L. (2015) Peroxisomal ABC transporters: functions and mechanism. Biochem Soc Trans, 45, 959-965 


  • Gibbs, D.J, Isa, N.M., Movahedi, M., Lozano-Juste, J., Mendiondo, G.M., Berkhan, S., Marín-de la Rosa, N., Vicente-Conde, J., Correia, C.S., Pearce, S., Bassel, G.W., Hamali, B., Talloji, P., Tomé, D.FA., Coego, A., Beynon, J., Alabadi, D., Bachmair, A., León., J., Gray, J.E., Theodoulou, F.L. and Holdsworth, M.J. (2014) Nitric oxide sensing is mediated by proteolytic control of Group VII ERF transcription factors. Mol. Cell, 53, 1-11 (F1000 evaluated)


  • Theodoulou, F.L.*, Sibon, O.C.M., Jackowski, S., Gout, I. (2014) Coenzyme A: renaissance of a textbook classic. Biochem. Soc. Trans., 42, 1025-1032


  • Mendiondo, G.M., Medhurst, A., van Roermund, C.W., Zhang, A., Devonshire, J., Scholefield, D., Fernández, J., Axcell, B., Ramsay, L., Waterham, H.R., Waugh, R., Theodoulou, F.L.*, and Holdsworth, M.J. (2014) Barley has two peroxisomal ABC transporters with multiple functions in β-oxidation. J. Exp. Bot., 65, 4833-4847 


  • Theodoulou, F.L., Baldwin, S.A., Baldwin, J.M. and Baker, A. (2014) Plant peroxisomal ABC transporters: flexible and unusual. Chapter 16 in M. Geisler, ed: Plant ABC Transporters, Signaling and Communication in Plants, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, in press


  • De Marcos Lousa, C., van Roermund, C.W., Postis, V.L.G., Dietrich, D., Kerr, I.D., Wanders, R.J.A., Baldwin, S.A., Baker, A. and Theodoulou, F.L. (2013) Intrinsic acyl-CoA thioesterase activity of a peroxisomal ABC transporter is required for transport and metabolism of fatty acids. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 110, 1279-1284 (F1000 evaluated)


  • Theodoulou, F.L., Bernhardt, K., Linka, N., Baker, A. (2013) Peroxisome membrane proteins: multiple trafficking routes and multiple functions? Biochem. J., 451, 345-352


  • Linka, N. and Theodoulou, F.L. (2013) Metabolite transporters of the plant peroxisomal membrane- known and unknown. Subcell Biochem.69,169-194


  • Nyathi, Y., Zhang, X., Baldwin, J.M., Bernhardt, K., Johnson, B., Baldwin, S.A., Theodoulou, F.L.*, Baker, A. (2012) Pseudo half-molecules of the ABC transporter, COMATOSE, bind Pex19 and target to peroxisomes independently but both are required for activity. FEBS Letters, 586, 2280-2286.


  • 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


  • Gibbs, D.J., Lee, S.C., Isa, N.M., Gramuglia, S., Fukao, T., Bassel, G.W., Correia, C.S., Corbineau, F., Theodoulou, F.L., Bailey-Serres, J., Holdsworth, M.J. (2011) Homeostatic response of plants to hypoxia is regulated by the N-end rule pathway. Nature 479, 415-418 (F1000 evaluated)


  • Zhang, X., De Marcos Lousa, C., Shutte-Lensink, N., Ofman, R., Wanders, R.J., Baldwin, S.A., Baker, A., Kemp, S., and Theodoulou, F.L. (2011) Conservation of targeting but divergence in function and quality control of peroxisomal ABC transporters: an analysis using cross-kingdom expression. Biochem. J., 436, 547-557


  • Salleh, F.M., Evans, K., Goodall, B., Machin, H., Mowla, S.B., Mur, L., Runions, J., Theodoulou, F.L., Foyer, C.H., Rogers, H.J. (2012) A novel function for a redox-related LEA-like protein (SAG21/AtLEA5) in root development and biotic stress responses. Plant Cell Environ., 35, 418-429


  • Kemp, S., Theodoulou, F.L. and Wanders, R.J.A. (2011) Mammalian peroxisomal ABC transporters: from endogenous substrates to pathology and clinical significance.  Br. J. Pharmacol. 164, 1753-1766.


  • Nyathi, Y., De Marcos Lousa, C., van Roermund, C.W., Wanders, R.J.A, Baldwin, S.A., Theodoulou, F.L., Baker, A. (2010) The Arabidopsis peroxisomal ABC transporter, COMATOSE, complements the Saccharomyces cerevisiae pxa1 pxa2Δ double mutant for metabolism of long chain fatty acids and exhibits fatty acyl-CoA stimulated ATPase activity. J. Biol. Chem. 285, 29892-29902


  • Theodoulou, F.L., Zhang, X., De Marcos Lousa, C., Nyathi, Y., Baker A. (2011) Peroxisomal transport systems: roles in signalling and metabolism.  In: Transporters and pumps in plant signalling. Eds. Markus Geisler and Kees Venema. Signaling and Communication in Plants 7, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.  pp 327-351


  • Holman, T., Jones, P.D., Russell, L., Medhurst, A., Talloji, P., Marquez, J., Úbeda-Tomás, S., Schmuths, H., Tung, S-A., Taylor , I., Footitt, S., Bachmair, A., Theodoulou, F.L. , Holdsworth, M.J. (2009) The N-end rule pathway promotes seed germination and establishment through removal of ABA sensitivity in Arabidopsis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 106, 4539-4554.


  • De Marcos Lousa, C., Dietrich, D., Johnson, B., Baldwin, S.A., Holdsworth, M.J., Theodoulou, F.L., Baker, A. (2009) The NBDs that wouldn’t die: a cautionary tale in the use of isolated nucleotide binding domains of ABC transporters. Communicative and Integrative Biology, 2, 97-99.


  • Dietrich, D., Schmuths, H., De Marcos Lousa, C., Baldwin, J.M., Baldwin, S.A., Baker, A., Theodoulou, F.L.*, Holdsworth, M.J. (2009) Mutations in the Arabidopsis peroxisomal ABC transporter COMATOSE allow differentiation between multiple functions in planta: insights from an allelic series. Mol. Biol. Cell, 20, 530-543 *Corresponding and joint senior author.


  • Linka, N., Theodoulou, F.L. , Haslam, R.P., Napier, J.A., Linka, M., Neuhaus, H.E., Weber, A.P.M. (2008) Peroxisomal ATP import is essential for seedling development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell 20, 3241-3257. (Featured “In brief” December 2008; F1000 evaluated)


  • Verrier, P.J., Bird, D., Burla, B., Dassa, E., Forestier, C., Geisler, M., Klein, M., Kolukisaoglu, Ü., Lee, Y., Martinoia, E., Murphy, A., Rea, P.A., Samuels, L., Schulz, B., Spalding, E.J., Yazaki, K., Theodoulou, F.L. (2008) Plant ABC proteins- a unified nomenclature and updated inventory. Trends Plant Sci., 13, 151-159 (TIPS top 10 cited in last five years)


  • Rensing, S.A., Lang, D., Zimmer, A.D., Terry, A., Salamov, A., Shapiro, H., Nishiyama, T., Perroud, P-F., Lindquist, E., Kamisugi, Y., Tanahashi, T., Sakakibara, K., Fujita, T., Oishi, K., Shin-I, T., Kuroki, Y., Toyoda, A., Suzuki, Y., Hashimoto, S., Yamaguchi, K., Sugano, S., Kohara, Y., Fujiyama, A., Anterola, A., Aoki, S. , Ashton, N., Barbazuk, W.B., Barker, E., Bennetzen, J.L, Blankenship, R. , Cho, S.H., Dutcher, S.K., Estelle, M. , Fawcett, J.A., Gundlach, H., Hanada, K., Heyl, A., Hicks, K.A. , Hughes, J., Lohr, M., Mayer, K., Melkozernov, A., Murata, T., Nelson, D., Pils, B., Prigge, M. , Reiss, B., Renner, T. , Rombauts, S., Rushton, P. , Sanderfoot, A. , Schween, G., Shiu, S-H., Stueber, K., Theodoulou, F.L., Tu, H., Van de Peer, Y., Verrier, P.J., Waters, E., Wood, A., Yang, L., Cove, D., Cuming, A.C., Hasebe, M., Lucas, S., Mishler, B.D., Reski, R., Grigoriev, I.V., Quatrano, R.S., Boore, J.L. (2008) The genome of the moss Physcomitrella patens reveals evolutionary insights into the conquest of land by plants. Science 319, 64-69.


  • Carrera, E., Holman, T., Medhurst, A., Footitt, S., Theodoulou, F.L. , Holdsworth, M.J. (2008) Seed after-ripening is a discrete developmental pathway associated with specific gene networks in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 53, 214-224


  • Footitt, S., Dietrich, D., Fait, A., Fernie, A., Holdsworth, M.J., Baker, A., Theodoulou, F.L. (2007) The COMATOSE ABC transporter is required for full fertility in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol., 144, 1467-1480


  • Carrera, E., Holman, T., Medhurst, A., Peer, W., Schmuths, H., Footitt, S., Theodoulou, F.L. , Holdsworth, M.J. (2007) Gene expression profiling reveals defined functions of the ABC transporter COMATOSE late in phase II of germination. Plant Physiol. 143, 1669-1679


  • Mowla, S.B., Cuypers, A., Driscoll, S.P., Thompson, J., Foyer, C.H., Theodoulou, F.L. (2006) Yeast complementation reveals a role for an Arabidopsis thaliana late embryogenesis abundant (LEA)-like protein in oxidative stress tolerance. Plant J. 48, 743-756


  • Rottensteiner, H., Theodoulou, F.L. (2006) The ins and outs of peroxisomes: co-ordination of membrane transport and peroxisomal metabolism. BBA, Mol. Cell. Res., 1763, 1527-1540


  • Footitt, S., Marquez, J., Schmuths, H., Baker, A., Theodoulou, F.L ., Holdsworth, M. (2006) Analysis of the role of COMATOSE and peroxisomal beta-oxidation in the determination of germination potential in Arabidopsis. J. Exp. Bot., 57, 2805-2814.


  • Theodoulou, F.L. , Holdsworth, M., Baker A. (2006) Peroxisomal ABC transporters. FEBS Lett. 580, 1139-1155


  • Baker, A., Graham, I.A., Holdsworth, M., Smith, S.J., Theodoulou, F.L. (2006) Chewing the fat: β-oxidation in signalling and development. Trends Plant Sci., 11, 124-132.


  • Theodoulou, F.L. , Job, K., Slocombe, S.P., Footitt, S., Holdsworth, M., Baker, A., Larson, T.R., Graham, I.A. (2005) Jasmonic acid levels are reduced in COMATOSE ABC transporter mutants: implications for transport of jasmonate precursors into peroxisomes. Plant Physiol. 137, 835-840. (Featured in “On the inside”, March Issue)


  • Bartoli, CG., Guiamet, J.J, Kiddle, G., Pastori, G., Di Cagno, R., Theodoulou, F.L. , Foyer, C.H. (2005) Ascorbate content of wheat leaves is not determined by maximal L-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase (GalLDH) activity under drought stress. Plant, Cell Environ., 28, 1073-1081


  • Mittova, V., Theodoulou, F.L. , Kiddle, G., Volokita, M., Tal, M., Foyer, C.H., Guy, M. (2004) Comparison of mitochondrial ascorbate peroxidase in the cultivated tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum, and its wild, salt-tolerant relative, L. pennellii- a role for matrix isoforms in protection against oxidative damage. Plant Cell Environ., 27, 237-250


  • Mittova, V., Theodoulou, F.L. , Kiddle, G., Gomez, L., Volokita, M., Tal, M., Foyer, C.H., Guy, M. (2003) Coordinate induction of glutathione biosynthesis and glutathione-metabolizing enzymes is correlated with salt tolerance in tomato. FEBS Lett. 554, 417-421


  • Millar, A.H., Mittova, V., Kiddle, G., Heazlewood, J.L., Bartoli, C.G., Theodoulou, F.L., Foyer, C.H. (2003) Control of ascorbate synthesis by respiration and its implications for stress responses. Plant Physiol., 133, 443-447


  • Swarbreck, D., Ripoll, P.-J., Brown, D.A., Edwards, K.J., Theodoulou, F.L. (2003) Isolation and characterisation of two multidrug resistance associated protein (MRP) genes from maize. Gene, 315, 153-164


  • Lao, S-h, Loutre, C., Brazier, M., Coleman, J.O.D., Cole, D.J., Edwards, R., Theodoulou, F.L. (2003) 3,4-Dichloroaniline is detoxified and exported via different pathways in Arabidopsis and soybean. Phytochemistry 63, 653-661


  • Theodoulou, F.L. , Clark , I.M., He, X-l., Pallett, K.E., Cole, D.J., Hallahan, D.L. (2003) Xenobiotics induce glutathione transferases and multidrug resistance associated protein in wheat. Pest Manag. Sci., 59, 202-214


  • Foyer, C.H., Theodoulou, F.L. , Delrot, S. (2001) The functions of intercellular and intracellular glutathione transport systems in plants. Trends Plant Sci. 6, 486-492


  • Lao, S., Theodoulou, F.L. , Coleman, J.O.D., Cole, D., Edwards, R. (2001) Role of 3,4-dichloroaniline N-malonyltransferase in the detoxification of herbicides. Proceedings Brighton Crop Protection Conference- Weeds 2001. 349-352


  • Zhou, J.J., Trueman, L.J., Boorer, K.J., Theodoulou, F.L. , Forde, B.G., Miller, A.J. (2000) A high-affinity fungal nitrate carrier with two transport mechanisms. J. Biol. Chem. 275: 39894-39899


  • Theodoulou, F.L. (2000) Plant ABC transporters. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1465: 79-103


  • Theodoulou, F.L. , Clark , I.M, Pallett, K.E., Hallahan, D.L. (1999) Nucleotide sequence of Cla 30 (Accession No. Y17386), a xenobiotic-inducible member of the GST superfamily from Triticum aestivum. L. (PGR99-049) Plant Physiol. 119: 1567


  • Zhou, J-J., Theodoulou, F.L. , Muldin I., Ingemarsson, B., Miller, A.J. (1998) Cloning and functional characterisation of a Brassica napus transporter which is able to transport nitrate and histidine. J. Biol. Chem. 273: 12017-12023


  • Zhou, J-J., Theodoulou, F.L. , Sauer, N., Sanders, D., Miller, A.J. (1997) A kinetic model with ordered cytoplasmic dissociation for SUC1, an Arabidopsis H+/sucrose cotransporter expressed in Xenopus oocytes. J. Membr. Biol. 159: 113-125


  • Davies, T.G.E., Theodoulou, F.L. , Hallahan, D.L., Forde, B.G. (1997) Cloning and characterisation of a novel P-glycoprotein homologue from barley. Gene 199: 195-202


  • Theodoulou, F.L. and Miller, A.J. (1995) Xenopus oocytes as a heterologous expression system. Mol. Biotechnol., 3: 101-115.


  • Theodoulou, F.L ., Miller, A.J. (1995) Xenopus oocytes as a heterologous expression system. Methods Mol Biol. 49: 317-340.


  • Miller, A.J., Smith, S.J., Theodoulou, F.L. (1994) The heterologous expression of H+-coupled transporters in Xenopus oocytes. Symp. Soc. Exp. Biol. 48: 167-179


  • Theodoulou, F.L. , Dewey, F.M., Evans, D.E. (1994) Calmodulin-stimulated ATPase of maize cells: functional reconstitution, monoclonal antibodies and subcellular localisation. J. Exp. Bot. 45: 1553-1564


  • Evans, D.E., Theodoulou, F.L. , Williamson, I.M., Boyce, J.M. (1994) The calcium pumps of plant cell membranes. Symp. Soc. Exp. Biol. 48: 43-61


  • Evans, D.E., Askerlund, P., Briars, S.A. , Boyce, J.M., Coates, D., Cook, D.T., Theodoulou, F.L. (1992) Studies on the higher plant calmodulin-stimulated ATPase. In: Cook, D.T., and Clarkson, D.T. (eds) Transport and receptor proteins of plant membranes. Plenum Press, New York .



DPhil in Plant Sciences (University of Oxford)


BA in Botany (University of Oxford)

Measures of esteem


  • Honorary Professor, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield


  • Convenor, SEB Plant Transport Group
  • UK Plant Sciences Federation, Steering Committee Member


  • General Editor, "The Biochemist", magazi:


  • External Examiner, various UK and overseas universities: Cambridge, Nottingham, Durham, Warwick, York, Manchester, Open University, University of Paris, University of Western Australia, Linkoping University, University of Adelaide.