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Project details – Institut for Plante- og Miljøvidenskab - Københavns Universitet

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Metabolite sensing – how do plants monitor their metabolism?

Main area:Plant biochemistry
Target group:Biology-Biotechnology, Natural Resources, Environmental Science, Other Education
Educational level:Bachelor, Master, Project outside course scope
Project description:



As plants provide the basis of human life on earth, the question of how plants cope with environmental challenges is gaining more and more attention. In their natural and agricultural habitats, plants are exposed to dynamically changing environments. To cope with these, plants rely on a particularly complex metabolism fine-tuned by interconnected feedback loops. These regulatory loops do not only enable plants to partition resources between defense and growth depending on the environmental conditions, but also to recycle resources from stored defense compounds when nutrients become limited.

In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, biosynthesis of glucosinolate defense compounds requires both nitrogen and sulfur. Our recent findings provided evidence for structure-specific sensing and constant turnover of glucosinolates indicating that plants tightly monitor these compounds and continuously optimize resource allocation and recycling. Next, we need to identify the pathways and genes involved. Depending on your interests and background, your project will aim at answering one or more of the specific questions below.

Scientific questions:

What are the genes involved in structure-specific sensing of glucosinolate defenses in the plant?

Are the glucosinolates themselves sensed? Or rather derived molecules?

How do plants use this information, for example when nutrients like sulfur and nitrogen are limited?

Methods used:analysis of plant growth parameters, metabolite profiling (LC-MS, GC-MS), transcript analysis (qPCR, RNAseq), statistics
Keywords:plant metabolism, metabolite profiling, plant nutrition, transcriptional networks
Project home page:
Supervisor(s): Meike Burow