Research Group: Plant Development
The plant development research group studies how developmental processes are regulated, how they can be controlled and how they change in response to alterations in the environment (e.g. light).
The group has a special focus on microProteins. MicroProteins are small regulatory proteins that can engage their targets in protein complexes which can strongly influence their biological activity.
For in-depth studies of plant microProteins, several technology platforms are being used: 1) genome-re-sequencing of EMS-suppressor mutants 2) enrichment-proteomics 3) The use of synthetic microProteins expanded our toolset to regulate biological pathways. 4) CRISPR-Cas9 guided genome-engineering.
- MicroProteins: We have uncovered the regulation of protein activity by small proteins, known as microProteins. These microProteins establish feedback loops and we can use genome-engineering to rewire signaling pathways.
- Light-regulated development: We work on transcription factors and microProteins that control light-dependent growth responses.
- Biotechnology: How can we use our findings in model plants to improve the growth of crop plants? This is a central theme in our group and we have recently shown that we can use microProteins to manipulate the growth of crop plants.
- Novo Nordisk Biotechnology Based Synthesis Project Grant ‘Increasing folate levels in crop plants by microProtein-engineering’: We have identified novel microProteins in crops that are related to metabolic enzymes. Goal of the project is to rewire the production of folate.
- Novo Nordisk Foundation Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy grant ‘QuantumBioengineering - Developing a next-generation magneto-sensitive optogenetic system’: Together with researchers from DTU Physics and Sorbonne University, Paris, France we are aiming to develop a magneto-sensitive optogenetic switch.
- NovoCrops - Accelerated domestication of resilient climate-change friendly plant species: In this project we will use genome-engineering to improve growth and development of alfalfa using genome-engineering.
- Novo Nordisk Foundation Ascending Investigator grant ' MORE – MicroProtein-engineering to Optimize plant development to increase REsources': In this project we will employ CRISPR/Cas9-based genome engineering to modify microProtein pathways in crop plants.
- The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation ' UnZIPping tomato fruit production': This project aims to manipulate the LITTLE ZIPPER microProteins in tomato.
- The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (FNU) ‘Adapting to change – The role of alternative microProteins unfolding their hidden potential’: This project aims to identify alternative microProteins that are hidden in the genome and we will elucidate their biological potential.
Hong SY, Sun B, Straub D, Blaakmeer A, Mineri L, Koch J, Brinch-Pedersen H, Holme IB, Burow M, Jørgensen HJL, Albà MM and Wenkel S.
Heterologous microProtein expression identifies LITTLE NINJA, a dominant regulator of jasmonic acid signaling
PNAS 117(42):26197-26205, 2020
Bhati KK, Kruusvee V, Straub D, Chandran AKN, Jung KH and Wenkel S.
Global analysis of cereal microProteins suggests diverse roles in crop development and environmental adaptation
G3: Genes | Genomes | Genetics 10(10):3709-3717, 2020
Hong SY, Botterweg-Paredes E, Doll J, Eguen T, Blaakmeer A, Xie Y, Matton, SEA, Lunding BS, Zentgraf U, Guan C, Jiao Y and Wenkel S.
Multi-level analysis of the interactions between REVOLUTA and MORE AXILLARY BRANCHES2 in controlling plant development reveals parallel, independent and antagonistic functions.
Development 147(10):dev183681, 2020
Botterweg-Paredes E, Blaakmeer A, Hong SY, Sun B, Mineri L, Kruusvee V, Xie Y, Straub D, Menard D, Pesquet E and Wenkel S
Light affects tissue patterning of the hypocotyl in the shade-avoidance response.
PLoS Genetics 6(3):e1008678, 2020
DeHann L, Larson S, Lopez-Marquez RL, Wenkel S, Gao X and Palmgren M.
Roadmap for accelerated domestication of a future perennial grain crop.
Trends in Plant Science 25(6):525-537, 2020
Eguen T, Gomez Ariza J, Bhati K, Sun B, Fornara F and Wenkel S.
Control of flowering in rice through synthetic microProteins.
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 62(6):730-736, 2020
Dolde U, Rodrigues V, Straub D, Bhati K, Choi S, Yang SW, Wenkel S.
Synthetic microProteins – versatile tools for post-translational regulation of target proteins.
Plant Physiology 176(4):3136-3145, 2018
Full publication list, please see: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=wenkel+s&sort=date
We were the first…
- to characterize the first plant microProteins (see Wenkel et al., Plant Cell, 2007).
- to coin the microProtein concept (see Staudt and Wenkel, EMBO Reports 2011).
- to identify microProteins involved in the control of flowering (see Graeff et al., PLoS Genetics, 2016)
- to CRISPR/Cas9-engineer a microProtein in a genome where it naturally not exists (see Hong et al., PNAS, 2020)
- Quingyuan Han
- Sihua ZhuMaster students