Organelle Biology, Biotechnology and Molecular Ecophysiology
Prof. Ralph Bock and his department focus on plant cell organelles (plastids and mitochondria), their physiology and gene expression as well as their metabolic and genetic interactions with the nucleo-cytosolic compartment.
Transgenic technologies for nuclear and organellar genomes are developed and combined with biochemical and physiological methods to elucidate:
the genetic mechanisms regulating metabolic pathways,
the assembly process of membrane protein complexes and
structure-function relationships within multiprotein complexes in energy-transducing membranes.
Applied research in the department addresses resistance management, metabolic engineering and the production of pharmaceuticals in plants. Other research topics concern the mechanisms of genome evolution in eukaryotes and the genetic and evolutionary processes that underlie the physiological plasticity of plant species, populations and ecosystems.
The overarching goal of the research in the group "Organelle Biology and Biotechnology" led by Prof. Dr. Ralph Bock is to obtain a systems-level understanding of chloroplast function in the context of the genetic and metabolic networks operating in plant cells.
The research group of Dr. Stephan Greiner "Cytoplasmic and Evolutionary Genetics" focuses on molecular and mechanistic aspects of plant evolution. We concentrate predominately on the role of cytoplasmic genetic elements (plastids and mitochondria) in speciation processes.
The group of Dr. Mark Aurel Schöttler analyses the functional organization and regulation of the photosynthetic light reactions. To understand this process more thoroughly, we currently investigate the role of small plastome-encoded subunits for photosynthetic complex assembly, stability and function, the role of PSI in photosynthetic flux control and the lateral differentiation of the thylakoid membrane and the integration of photosynthetic electron transport into the plant metabolism and its adjustment to the metabolic ATP and NADPH demands.
The group of Dr. Ute Armbruster aims to identify and characterize regulatory mechanisms of photosynthesis. Particular focus is on the question of how photosynthesis is regulated to achieve efficiency in fluctuating light conditions.
Dr. Reimo Zoschke's group studies translational regulation and ribosome behavior in plants. Their projects focus on plastid translation and its interconnections with cytosolic and mitochondrial protein synthesis. Thereby, they aim to understand the specific characteristics of the plastid ribosome and its translational features. Furthermore, they want to unravel how translational regulation contributes to acclimation processes in changing environmental conditions (i.e., light and temperature) and which cis-elements and trans-factors are involved in the modulation of translational activity.