Plant Reproductive Biology and Epigenetics
The department of Prof. Dr. Claudia Köhler studies genetic and epigenetic processes regulating flowering plant reproduction and their impact on plant speciation. The main focus is to understand processes regulating seed formation, seed growth and the establishment of hybridization barriers.
Seeds form the basis for human nutrition and their tripartite composition of embryo, endosperm and seed coat makes them fascinating developmental models to study. All three structures have to coordinate their growth by exchanging specific signals that remain to be explored. Using genetics, genomics, epigenomics and bioinformatics, we aim at elucidating:
- the key factors initiating seed formation
- the signals regulating communication between the different seed compartments
- the basis for seed-based hybridization barriers
- parental-specific effects on seed development
- the evolutionary basis of endosperm formation
Other research topics focus on long-distance transport mechanisms of regulatory molecules within plants (AG Kragler) and the connection between metabolism and flowering time regulation (AG Wahl).
Director of Department 2: Plant Reproductive Biology and Epigenetics
The main goal of the research in the group "Epigenetic Mechanisms of Plant Reproduction" led by Prof. Dr. Claudia Köhler
is to understand the molecular events regulating seed development and plant speciation.
The workgroup of Dr. Duarte Figueiredo
studies seed development in flowering plants, with the aim of understanding the molecular mechanisms necessary for the formation of a viable endosperm and its surrounding seed coat. The group is particularly interested in the formation of apomictic seeds, which can form asexually.
The main focus of Dr. Fritz Kragler's
group is the characterization of the transport mechanism and function of proteins and RNA molecules moving between cells and via the phloem vasculature to distant plant parts. We are especially interested in the cellular factors facilitating selective intercellular RNA/protein transport and their regulatory function as morphogenic and metabolic signals in distant cells.
Dr. Vanessa Wahl’s
group focuses on how metabolic and nutritional status affects developmental transitions in plants. In particular, we are interested in processes at the shoot apical meristem (SAM) that regulate meristem size and the timing of the floral transition.