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Research

Our group is interested in how chloroplast and mitochondrial gene expression is manipulated by nuclear-encoded proteins, in particular RNA binding proteins. Such manipulations are essential for setting up the photosynthetic machinery and the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Unfortunately, despite more than 30 years of research on chloroplast gene expression, there is still almost zero insights into which particular step(s) in chloroplast gene expression is/are rate limiting for the biogenesis and maintenance of the photosynthetic and respiratory apparatus. We are on the hunt for such truly regulatory steps.

Current Research:

  • How and why do nuclear-encoded RNA binding proteins (RBPs) interact with chloroplast and mitochondrial nucleic acids?

  • What are the functions of plant organellar non-coding RNAs?

  • Profiling of translated and nascent RNAs to identify regulatory steps in transcription and translation

Techniques:

  • Ribonomics: whole transcriptome identification of RNA targets of RBPs (RIP-Chip; RIP-Seq)

  • Analysis of the identity and processing status of individual RNAs

  • Plant genetic engineering: chloroplast transformation (tobacco), nuclear transformation (Arabidopsis and tobacco)