WG 3: Expression of genes involved in the production of osmo-protectants.
Metabolic responses of higher plants to hyperosmotic stress determine cell survival in an unfavourable environment and thus represent important aspects of stress adaptation. Different sugars, glutamate-derived amino acids, such as proline or amino acids belonging to the aspartate family, and chaperonins are important components of abiotic stress responses and contribute to maintaining cellular homeostasis, redox balance, and detoxification. Metabolic stress responses are controlled at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, as well as by modulating the activity of key regulatory proteins through post-translational modification, feed back regulation or protein degradation. ABA and sugar regulation play central roles in the signalling mechanisms that control the levels and turnover of key metabolites during osmotic stress. Research in WG 3 will focus on:
WG3.1 Dissection of stress-associated signalling cascades that control proline accumulation, and the synthesis of aspartate and glutamate-derived compounds using metabolomic and genomic approaches.
WG3.2 Study of cross-talk between abiotic stress, and dark and sugar starvation with respect to glutamate derived amino acids by employing transcription profiling and metabolomics.
WG3.3. Study of regulation of Asp-family metabolic network that controls methionine biosynthesis, and growth-associated processes via the S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) synthase.
WG3.4 Investigation of SnRK kinases and bZIP transcription factors regulating key genes in sugar, aspartate and proline metabolism.
WG3.5 Study of the expression of genes involved in the above mentioned metabolic processes and investigation of regulation of synthesis, stability and activity of specific proteins with chaperone-like functions.