A large variety of metabolic processes essential for plant viability and development take place in mitochondria and chloroplasts. Thus, organellar biogenesis and function has to be carefully balanced in accordance with the developmental stage and metabolic requirements of the plant. To that end, both organelles are tightly integrated into the signalling networks and regulatory circuits of the cell. In this context, my group is currently studying different biochemical and cell biological aspects of organellar function and biogenesis as well as the integration of chloroplasts and mitochondria into the calcium signalling network of the cell.
Our research is currently funded by:
DFG VO 656/5-1 (Begin July 2013)
ITN 'CALIPSO' (Begin October 2013)
1) Calcium-Regulation in Plant Organelles
Plants are susceptible to a great variety of abiotic and biotic factors that influence development and adaptation. Calcium is an important second messenger that confers environmental signals to a number of different cellular processes. It is thus a vital part of the biological communication network. In order to understand the integration of plant organelles into the calcium-signaling network of the cell, my group is systematically elucidating the calcium-signalosome with a special focus on organellar calmodulins and calcium-dependent phosphorylation. In addition to elucidating of the molecular basis of organellar calcium regulation, we are also analyzing which environmental signals are transduced into organelles by this system.
2) Regulatory and Functional Components of Chloroplast Membrane Biogenesis
Formation, maintenance and adaptation of chloroplast membranes in concert with the environmental and developmental needs of the plant cell are of foremost importance for plant energy metabolism. Especially the thylakoid membrane system is an essential feature of oxygenic photosynthesis and many aspects of the process of thylakoid biogenesis are very little understood. The aim of my research is thus to elucidate, which components and processes are required in to build-up, adapt and maintain of chloroplast membranes within the context of the plant cell.