Section for Molecular Plant Biology
Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frb. C, Building: T248
Associate Professor at DNRF Center DynaMo - Center for Dynamic Molecular Interactions
Research focus: Regulatory Networks and Interactomics
Plants handle environmental perturbation with the help of complex and intricate regulatory networks interconnected through the RNA, protein, and metabolites. To fully understand how plants integrate internal and external signaling cues to mount responses, we study transcriptional regulation (DNA methylation, transcription factor complexes, protein-DNA interactions), post-transcriptional regulation (long regulatory RNAs, microRNA processing), and post-translational regulation (protein modification, protein stability, protein-protein interactions, metabolite sensing), and how all of these levels of control are coordinated to produce a specific phenotype.
Arabidopsis thaliana and its primary defense compounds, the glucosinolates, have been identified as a prime model system to study regulatory networks. Particularly, the chemically diverse methionine-derived glucosinolates have been recognized for their complex and dynamic regulatory network. Three closely related R2R3 MYB transcription factors have been characterized as direct regulators that cooperatively interact to shape the profile of methionine-derived glucosinolates which changes dynamically in time and space. Additional regulatory mechanisms which appear to contribute to controlling glucosinolate levels in the plant include metabolite sensing, RNA-mediated regulation and protein-protein interactions between biosynthetic enzymes to facilitate efficient channeling of pathway intermediates.
Using glucosinolate biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana as a model pathway, my group currently focusses on:
- investigation of regulatory RNAs controlling glucosinolate biosynthesis and the surrounding metabolic grid including identification of their molecular targets.
- elucidation of the protein interaction network regulating the three known MYB transcription factors and investigation of their in vivo functions using advanced bioimaging technology.
- investigation of structure-function relations in closely related transcription factors.
- protein-protein interactions between the biosynthetic enzymes and their orchestration in enzyme clusters.
- investigation of the naturally variable regulatory network controlling glucosinolates and its interconnectivity to networks controlling general metabolic and developmental processes.
- investigation of trans-generational inheritance of plant resistance.