cellular homeostasis and surveillance depend on fluxes of information,
molecules, proteins, RNAs and organelles. Understanding the molecular
principles that ensure proper homeostasis and surveillance is fundamental for
the description of the behaviour of an organism and its manipulation by genetic
engineering, breeding or a chemical treatment. Our team aims to understand
central aspects of these processes. We focus on the fundaments of regulating
the life cycle of proteins and the signal transduction systems to maintain the
homeostatic state under changing environmental conditions using plant systems
as a model.
On the one hand, plant cells operate as eukaryotic cells where fundamental principles are globally conserved. However, plant cells are more complex than animal cells due to the existence of the plastids. On the other hand, in conjunction with the increase of the global population, climate change requires intensive plant research to ensure the production of food and renewable energy resources.
We have teamed up in four laboratories. The RiboBio-Lab aims to decipher the regulation of ribosome production as an example of an essential complex for cellular homeostasis. The DynaMem-Lab investigates downstream processes like cellular protein distribution or organelle positioning in cells as a central cellular function process. To describe the evolutionary conservation of fundamental processes, the Cyano-Lab investigates the homeostasis of cyanobacteria as they share common roots with plastids.
The HeatStress-Lab headed by the group leader Dr. Sotirios Fragkostefanakis describes the subsequent processes focusing on the plant reaction to altered environmental conditions like temperature fluctuations.
Altogether, the unified research in these four fields will lead to a global understanding of the molecular principles that allow cellular homeostasis and surveillance.
The spectrum of our methods ranges from the investigation of the structure and function of single proteins over the analysis of energetic processes in isolated membranes, and evolutionary processes, to genetic analysis of environmentally regulated processes in plants using different plant model systems.