Molecular Cell Biology of Plants
The lab is engaged in answering fundamental questions of protein synthesis in plant cells and investigates the distribution of proteins in different cellular compartments. Because of the presence of the photosynthetic plastids, plant cells reveal a much higher complexity than animal cells, and many problems resulting from this high complexity still have to be addressed. How are proteins synthesized at the ribosomes guided to different cellular organelles? Which mechanisms are responsible for the targeting to the right destinations, e. g. chloroplasts, mitochondria or the endoplasmatic reticulum? Another fascinating problem is the transport of macromolecules, like proteins, through membranes. These membranes surround the different cellular compartments as well as the whole cell. To prevent uncontrolled transport of small molecules through the membrane, the membrane has to feature ingenious security systems which bear resemblance to the entrance of high-security laboratories, where airlocks, protective clothing and filters prevents the entrance of small particles.
The spectrum of our work ranges from the investigation of the structure and function of single proteins (e. g. from pea) over the analysis of energetic processes in isolated membranes (e.g. from cyanobacteria/Anabaena), and of evolutionary processes, to genetic analysis of environmentally regulated processes in plants using the model system Arabidopsis thaliana.