Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science

Signaling Pathway Research Unit

Unit Leader: Son Phan Lam Tran (Ph.D.)
Son Phan Lam Tran(Ph.D.)

The population of the earth is rapidly increasing, setting food security one of the major issues in the world, especially in developing countries. Additionally, climate changes also put a great burden on food production. Environmental stresses, such as drought, high salinity, soil erosion and pollutants are the factors affecting yield and stability of crop production, thereby threatening sustainable agriculture. Our unit has interest in (i) studying the roles of plant growth regulators and their interactions in abiotic stress responses, as well as (ii) translational genomics aiming to enhance crop productivity under adverse environmental stress conditions.

Main Research Field


Related Research Fields

Agricultural sciences

Research Subjects

  • Molecular elucidation of signaling molecules in plant responses to drought, salt and heavy metal stresses
  • Mechanisms controlling nitrogen fixation in legumes under drought and phosphorus deficiency
  • Functional genomics of food crops for improvement of crop productivity in adverse conditions

Selected Publications

  1. Nguyen, K.H., Ha, C.V., Nishiyama, R., Watanabe, Y., Leyva-González, M.A., Fujita, Y., Tran U.T., Tanaka, M., Li, W., Seki, M., Schaller, G.E., Herrera-Estrella, L., Tran, L.S.:
    "Arabidopsis type B cytokinin response regulators ARR1, ARR10, and ARR12 negatively regulate plant responses to drought."
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA DOI. 10.1073/pnas.1600399113 (2016).
  2. Li, W., Yamaguchi, S., Khan, M.A., An, P., Liu, X., Tran, L.S.:
    "Roles of gibberellins and abscisic acid in regulating germination of Suaeda salsa dimorphic seeds under salt stress."
    Front Plant Sci 6,1235 (2016).
  3. Mostofa, M.G., Saegusa, D., Fujita, M., Tran, L.S.:
    "Hydrogen sulfide regulates salt tolerance in rice by maintaining Na+/K+ balance, mineral homeostasis and oxidative metabolism under excessive salt stress."
    Front Plant Sci 6,1055 (2015).
  4. Mostofa, M.G., Ansary, M.U., Watanabe, A., Fujita, M., Tran, L.S.:
    "Hydrogen sulfide modulates cadmium-induced physiological and biochemical responses to alleviate cadmium toxicity in rice."
    Sci Rep 5, 14078 (2015).
  5. Ha, C.V., Watanabe, Y., Tran, U.T., Le, D.T., Tanaka, M., Nguyen, K.H., Seki, M., Nguyen, D.V., Tran, L.S.:
    "Comparative analysis of root transcriptomes from two contrasting drought-responsive Williams 82 and DT2008 soybean cultivars revealed differentially expressed genes under dehydration conditions."
    Front Plant Sci 6, 551 (2015)
  6. Nguyen, K.H., Ha, C.V., Watanabe, Y., Tran, U.T., Nasr Esfahani, M., Nguyen, D.V., Tran, L.S.:
    "Correlation between differential drought tolerability of two contrasting drought-responsive chickpea cultivars and differential expression of a subset of CaNAC genes under normal and dehydration conditions."
    Front Plant Sci 6, 449 (2015).
  7. Mostofa, M.G., Hossain, M.A., Fujita, M., Tran, L.S.:
    "Physiological and biochemical mechanisms associated with trehalose-induced copper stress tolerance in rice."
    Sci Rep 5, 11433 (2015).
  8. Li, W., Tran, L.S.:
    "Are karrikins involved in plant abiotic stress responses?."
    Trends Plant Sci 20, 535-538 (2015)
  9. Thao, N.P., Khan, M.I.R., Thu, N.B.A., Hoang, X.L.T., Asgher, M., Khan, N.A., Tran, L.S.:
    "Role of ethylene and its crosstalk with other signaling molecules in plant responses to heavy metal stress."
    Plant Physiol 169, 73-84 (2015).
  10. Sulieman, S., Tran, L.S.:
    "Phosphorus homeostasis in legume nodules as an adaptive strategy to phosphorus deficiency."
    Plant Sci 239, 36-43 (2015).

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Son Phan Lam Tran
Unit Leader

Core Members

Weiqiang Li
Research Scientist
Rie Nishiyama
Research Scientist
Mohammad Mostofa
Visiting Researcher
Kien Nguyen
International Program Associate
Ha Chu
International Program Associate
Yasuko Watanabe
Technical Staff II
Chien Ha
Technical Staff II

Contact information

E610 East Research Building, 1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa, 230-0045,

Email: Son.Tran [at]

Related links