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Ben Field

CNRS Researcher
Laboratory of Plant Genetics and Biophysics (LGBP)
Luminy, Marseille, France

Short Biography

Ben Field's research career has spanned three subject areas, starting with a PhD at the John Innes Centre (a leading international plant research institute in the UK) working on defence metabolism in Arabidopsis. This was followed in 2004 by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sainsbury Laboratory (UK), working on the evolution and genomic architecture of adaptive metabolic pathways in Arabidopsis. In 2009 Ben Field was recruited as a CNRS project leader at the LGBP in Marseille to establish a new project on chloroplast signalling in plants, an emerging frontier of plant biology.

Research Interest

Chloroplastic signalling pathways may play a key role in driving stress adaption and survival in plants.


Chloroplasts within an Arabidopsis mesophyll cell. (Matteo Sugliani)


Chloroplasts are essential organelles that are the site of photosynthesis in green plants. By capturing sun light photosynthesis is the primary source of chemical energy for the whole biosphere. Chloroplasts were formed when a eukaryotic cell swallowed an ancient cyanobacterium. Today bacteria-like processes including photosynthesis, transcription and translation continue within the chloroplast, with the addition of new eukaryotic processes such as hormone and starch metabolism. Chloroplasts are now at the heart of plant energy metabolism and are particularly sensitive to changes in the environment and the specific nutrient requirements of the plant. We want to find out how chloroplasts are involved in sensing environmental stress, the signalling pathways that relay this information, and how chloroplast signalling mediates chloroplast and whole plant stress adaptation. We are using innovative genetic and biochemical approaches to address these questions in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. In collaboration with other teams we are also extending our investigations to moss (Physcomitrella patens, a non-vascular land plant) and other organisms.

If you are interested by this subject then please don’t hesitate to contact me directly by email.


G4PLAST ANR (coordinator)
SIGNAUX_BIONRJ (coordinator with Benoit Menand)
CHLORO_SAP ANR (coordinator)
FEBS Fellowship


Google Scholar profile

  • Field B* and Bechtold U* (2018) Molecular mechanisms controlling plant growth during abiotic stress. Journal of Experimental Botany. Editorial. Link
  • Field B* (2018) Green magic: regulation of the chloroplast stress response by (p)ppGpp in plants and algae. Journal of Experimental Botany. Review. Link
  • Harchouni S, Field B* and Menand B* (2018) AC202, a novel lipid stain for the visualisation of lipid droplets in algae. Biotechnology for Biofuels. 11, 120
  • Prioretti L, Carrière F, Montané M, Field B, Grégori G, Menand B*, Gontero B (2017) The inhibition of TOR in the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum promotes a get-fat growth regime. Journal of Algal Research Link
  • Abdelkefi H, Sugliani M, Ke H, Harchouni S, Soubigou-Taconnat L, Citerne S, Mouille G, Fakhfakh H, Robaglia C, Field B*. (2017) Guanosine tetraphosphate modulates salicylic acid signaling and the resistance of Arabidopsis thaliana to Turnip Mosaic Virus. Molecular Plant Pathology Link
  • Sugliani M, Abdelkefi H, Ke H, Bouveret E, Robaglia C, Caffarri S, Field B*. (2016) An Ancient Bacterial Signaling Pathway Regulates Chloroplast Function to Influence Growth and Development in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 28:661-79 Link
  • Yu N, Nützmann HW, MacDonald JT, Moore B, Field B, Berriri S, Trick M, Rosser SJ, Kumar SV, Freemont PS, Osbourn A. (2016) Delineation of metabolic gene clusters in plant genomes by chromatin signatures. Nucleic Acids Res. Link
  • Krokida A, Delis K, Geisler K, Garagounis C, Tsikou D, M. Peña-Rodríguez L, Katsarou D, Field B, Osbourn A, Papadopoulou K (2013) A metabolic gene cluster in Lotus japonicus discloses novel enzyme functions and products in triterpene biosynthesis. New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.12414 Link
  • Osbourn A, Papadopoulou K, Qi X., Field B, Wegel E. (2012) Finding and analyzing plant metabolic gene clusters Methods in enzymology 517, 113-138 Link
  • Field B* and Osbourn A. (2012) Order in the playground- formation of plant gene clusters in dynamic chromosomal regions. Mobile Genetic ElementsLink
  • Field B* Fiston-Lavier A, Kemen A, Geisler K, Quesneville H, and Osbourn A. (2011) Formation of plant metabolic gene clusters within dynamic chromosomal regions. PNAS 108:16116-21 Link
  • Inagaki Y-S, Etherington G, Geisler K, Field B, Dokarry M, Ikeda K, Mutsukado Y, Dicks J, Osbourn A. (2011). Investigation of the potential for triterpene synthesis in rice through genome mining and metabolic engineering. New Phytologist 191:432-448. Link
  • Osbourn A and Field B (2010) PRIMER: Operons. Nature Chemical Biology 2010, 6. Link
  • Osbourn A and Field B (2009) Operons. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences DOI: 10.1007/s00018-009-0114-3 Link
  • Field B, and Osbourn A. (2008) Metabolic Diversification—Independent Assembly of Operon-Like Gene Clusters in Plants. Science 320, 543-547 Link
  • Field B, Jordan F, & Osbourn A. (2006) First encounters - deployment of defence-related natural products by plants. Tansley review. New Phytologist 172, 193-204. Link
  • Field B*, Furniss C, Wilkinson A, & Mithen R. (2006) Expression of a Brassica isopropylmalate synthase gene in Arabidopsis perturbs both glucosinolate and amino acid metabolism. Plant Molecular Biology 60, 717-727. Link
  • Field B, Cardon G, Traka M, Botterman J, Vancanneyt G, & Mithen R. (2004) Glucosinolate and amino acid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 135, 828-839. Link

*= corresponding author

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