Molecular Plant Physiology

Our group is interested in plant development and in plant responses to environmental cues using primarily the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. The work focuses on:

  • Plant water relations: Aquaporins or major intrinsic proteins (MIP) are membrane proteins, which facilitate the passage of water and other small, uncharged molecules. Plant genomes encode more than 30 MIP isoforms. We focus on the regulation plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIP) at the transcript and protein level and their role in plant development and in response to water stress conditions.

  • Small-molecule glycosyltransferases (UGTs): a plethora of small endogenous molecules are involved in plant defense and signaling. Their biosynthesis and activity is frequently controlled by conjugation with carbohydrates. Systems biology approaches involving genetics and metabolomics are employed to elucidate the crucial role of glycosylation in plant-environment interactions. In particular, we are interested in UGTs and their substrates affecting plant pathogen defense.

  • Systems Biology: In collaboration with other groups at the Helmholtz Zentrum (Environmental Engineering, Scientific Computing, Analytical Biogeochemistry, Plant Genomice and Systems Biology) and at CIPB, Nottingham, UK and SupAgro, Montpellier, France we are integrating activities related to the above projects addressing plant developmental and stress-related processes in A. thaliana (aquaporins, UGTs). See also DPPN/ EPPN