Profile – Sandrine Ruffel



Sandrine Ruffel

Job Title:



Phone Number:

++ 33/0 4 99 61 27 12


Google Scholar Profile


Date of birth : December the 4th 1976 (40 years old)
Nationality : French

Since 2011, I am Research Scientist working for the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Physiology in Plants at the Plant Integrative Biology Institute in Montpellier (France).
From 2011 to 2014, I worked in Alain Gojon’s group that is interested in signaling pathways regulating the expression and the activity of major root nitrate transporters in Arabidopsis. I conducted a project aiming at identifying transcription factors involved into NRT2.1 regulation by carbon and nitrogen interactions.
In 2014, I joined Benoit Lacombe’s group named “Hormone, Nutrient and Development” and I develop now my own project on nitrogen-related long-distance signaling in Arabidopsis. Indeed, heterogeneous nitrate availability triggers an unbalanced response of roots to preferentially grow and take-up nitrate where it is available that depends largely on root-shoot communication. My aim is to understand this long-distance signaling pathway. To do so, I use several approaches like the exploitation of response variability in Arabidopsis ecotypes. My main focus these days is to understand the role of cytokinin translocation in this systemic signaling by combining genetic and transcriptomic approaches in Arabidopsis.

From 2004 to 2011, I did several post-doc in the nitrogen field:
– 2010-2011 “Systems Biology approach to model the gene regulatory network controlling the expression of the major nitrate transporter, in Arabidopsis” Advisors : Dr Laurence Lejay and Dr. Alain Gojon, Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Physiology of Plants (SupAgro/CNRS/INRA/Université Montpellier II) Montpellier – France.
2007-2010 “Systems Biology approach to decipher N-related systemic signaling controlling roots development and metabolism” Advisors : Pr. Gloria Coruzzi and Dr. Kenneth Birnbaum, Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, Department of Biology, New York University
2004-2006 “Regulation of Root Nitrogen Acquisition by the Nitrogen Status at the Whole Plant Level, in Medicago truncatula” – (Sixth Framework Programme, Grain Legume Integrated Project) Advisors : Dr Marc Lepetit and Dr Alain Gojon, Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Physiology of Plants (SupAgro/CNRS/INRA/Université Montpellier II) – Montpellier – France.

Finally, I obtained my PhD in 2004 in the Plant-Virus Interaction field (Defended: 26th Nov. 2004). My PhD project focused on “Recessive Resistance Genes against Potyviruses in Solanaceous and Translation Initiation Factors” at INRA, Avignon (France)
Research Areas:

  • Nitrogen molecular signaling in Arabidopsis

Current N-related Projects:

  • Nitrogen-related long-distance signaling


Ruffel, S. & Gojon, A. Systemic nutrient signalling: On the road for nitrate. Nat Plants 3, 17040, doi:10.1038/nplants.2017.40 (2017).
Ruffel, S., Poitout, A., Krouk, G., Coruzzi, G. M. & Lacombe, B. Long-distance nitrate signaling displays cytokinin dependent and independent branches. J Integr Plant Biol 58, 226-229, doi:10.1111/jipb.12453 (2016).
Ristova, D. et al. Combinatorial interaction network of transcriptomic and phenotypic responses to nitrogen and hormones in the Arabidopsis thaliana root. Science Signaling 9 (2016).
Medici, A. et al. AtNIGT1/HRS1 integrates nitrate and phosphate signals at the Arabidopsis root tip. Nat Commun 6, 6274, doi:10.1038/ncomms7274 (2015).
Ruffel, S., Gojon, A. & Lejay, L. Signal interactions in the regulation of root nitrate uptake. Journal of Experimental Botany 65, 5509-5517, doi:10.1093/jxb/eru321 (2014).
Li, Y., Krouk, G., Coruzzi, G. M. & Ruffel, S. Finding a nitrogen niche: a systems integration of local and systemic nitrogen signalling in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, doi:10.1093/jxb/eru263 (2014).
Alvarez, J. M. et al. Systems approach identifies TGA1 and TGA4 transcription factors as important regulatory components of the nitrate response of Arabidopsis thaliana roots. The Plant Journal 80, 1-13, doi:10.1111/tpj.12618 (2014).
Widiez, T. et al. High nitrogen insensitive 9 (HNI9)-mediated systemic repression of root NO3- uptake is associated with changes in histone methylation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108, 13329-13334, doi:1017863108 [pii] 10.1073/pnas.1017863108 (2011).
Ruffel, S. et al. Nitrogen economics of root foraging: transitive closure of the nitrate-cytokinin relay and distinct systemic signaling for N supply vs. demand. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108, 18524-18529, doi:1108684108 [pii] 10.1073/pnas.1108684108 (2011).
Krouk, G. et al. A framework integrating plant growth with hormones and nutrients. Trends Plant Sci 16, 178-182, doi:10.1016/j.tplants.2011.02.004 S1360-1385(11)00027-6 [pii] (2011).
Jeudy, C. et al. Adaptation of Medicago truncatula to nitrogen limitation is modulated via local and systemic nodule developmental responses. New Phytol 185, 817-828, doi:NPH3103 [pii] 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.03103.x (2010).
Ruffel, S. et al. Systemic signaling of the plant nitrogen status triggers specific transcriptome responses depending on the nitrogen source in Medicago truncatula. Plant Physiol 146, 2020-2035, doi:pp.107.115667 [pii] 10.1104/pp.107.115667 (2008).