Our main interests are the molecular mechanisms for adaptation of the photosynthetic apparatus to changing light condition, whereby we focus on diatoms (Prof. C. Büchel) as well as on higher plants (Dr. L. Dietzel).
Diatoms are unicellular, eukaryotic algae, which are interesting due to the following reasons: they are responsible for about 25% of the world's primary production and are one of the major carbon sinks in the oceans. The regulation of the so-called light reactions of photosynthesis of these organisms is in the focus of our research. Especially their ability to switch from light-harvesting to protection against light is one of the reasons for their big success in the marine environment, despite lacking own means for mobility. Diatoms can be genetically manipulated, thus we use methods for overexpression of tagged proteins or down-regulate the expression of genes by antisense or RNAi methods. In addition, general biochemical and spectroscopic methods are used to analyse the structure and function of the proteins, and their interaction in protein complexes. To visualise the protein structures we also use electron microscopical methods.
Light is not only used for photosynthesis, but also an important signal in gene regulation received by receptor molecules. In diatoms genes for cryptochromes can be found. Cryptochromes can absorb blue light, and are working as receptors and/or function in DNA repair. One of these proteins, CryP, is currently analysed and was found to influence the regulation of light harvesting protein expression.
In addition diatoms are rather interesting in biotechnological research due to their ability to e.g. produce lipids in high amounts and especially lipids containing poly-unsaturated fatty acids. In a further project we genetically modify diatoms to increase the triacylglycerid production (pending patent 10 2011 113 283.3).
The projects are embedded in a DFG Research Group (Specific light driven reactions in unicellular model algae, FOR 1261, http://www.uni-jena.de/en/DFG_Research__Group_1261.html) and a Marie Curie Training and Research Network of the EU, “Solar Energy to Biomass – Optimisation of light energy conversion in plants and microalgae- SE2B“ (http://se2b.eu/), which is co-ordinated by us. In addition close collaboration exist inside (Prof. Wachtveitl, FB14, Prof. Sandmann and Prof. Bode, FB15) und and outside the Goethe University (in the framework of the projects mentioned above).
Plant Cell Phyiology
Prof. Dr. Claudia Büchel
Biocentre, Campus Riedberg
Building 210, Raum 202
60438 Frankfurt am Main
T +49 69 798-29602
F +49 69 798-29600
Fr 10-11 a.m. (N210-202)
T +49 69 798-29601
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