Organisational unit: Research Group

Organisation Profile

We address chloroplast functions in the course of plant stress reactions and development by diverse techniques including chlorophyll fluorescence imaging and biochemical characterization of photosynthetic protein-pigment complexes.

The rcd1 mutant of Arabidopsis is altered in development, stress signalling and biology of chloroplasts. Thus, we use rcd1 mutant as a tool in forward genetic screens aimed to define the signalling networks that integrate the above aspects of plant life.

Our group has identified the RCD1 protein to be centrally involved in many different signalling processes. Protein-protein interaction studies suggest an extensive interaction network of members of this protein family with specific transcription factor families. Biochemical analysis of RCD1 revealed a link to poly(ADP-ribos)ylation, a reversible posttranslational modification mediated by PARP and PARG enzymes. It has been implicated in abiotic stress responses and development in plants and has been shown to regulate diverse signalling cascades such as calcium signalling and protein phosphorylation, in animal systems. 

The analysis of these protein interactions and the detailed study of protein complexes and post-translational modifications (including poly(ADP-ribos)ylation) under different conditions will provide exciting insights into the mechanisms of inducible transcriptional regulation.

Our interests extend also to developmental processes in trees. While much of our work is conducted in the model plant Arabidopsis, the biological processes that involve perennial growth habit are studied in poplar. We are especially interested in signalling networks that regulate wood formation and stomatal responses in trees.

The plant hormone ethylene has the capacity to stimulate wood production by increasing cell divisions within the cambium (Cf. figure below). Our research focuses on Ethylene Response Factors that directly regulate ethylene-dependent gene expression, which in turn stimulate xylem formation. This work has a bioenergy-directed goal to increase the yield of wood and to modify its chemistry.

Regarding stomatal responses, the sequence information available suggests that poplar species may have lost the functionally important regulatory features of rapid stomatal closure, and thus we are investigating this possibility.

Latest research outputs

  1. Arabidopsis RCD1 coordinates chloroplast and mitochondrial functions through interaction with ANAC transcription factors

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Mechanistic insights into the evolution of DUF26-containing proteins in land plants

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. E-pub ahead of print

    Tissue-specific study across the stem reveals the chemistry and transcriptome dynamics of birch bark.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

ID: 2622483