Research Training Group 2498

Research Training Group 2498

Communication and Dynamics of Plant Cell Compartments

Bye Bye 2019

Wednesday we had our RTG Christmas Party, our last get together this year. It was a great evening with extremely tasty selection of food and drinks. Thanks to all who contributed. Find pictures of the party in the Gallery.

Thanks to all RTG members for the good start of our RTG this year. We will continue next year!

Happy holidays and a happy new year 2020!

Dr. Marie Barberon is visiting

We proudly announce that our next RTG 2498 guest will be Dr. Marie Barberon from the Université de Genève, Switzerland. On the 26 November she will personally visit some RTG-groups and talk to the PIs and PhD-students about recent research. In the evening she will give a lecture about “Plasticity of root permeability for nutrient acquisition” as a part of the Halle Plant Science Colloquium. We’re really looking forward to meeting her.


Abstract: Plant roots forage the soil to acquire water and nutrients for growth and development. This function is closely linked to their anatomy: water and nutrients move radially through the concentric layers of epidermis, cortex, and endodermis before entering the vasculature. This arrangement allows for three uptake scenarios: the “symplastic pathway”, where the outer cells actively take up nutrients, which are then transported from cell to cell through plasmodesmata; the “apoplastic pathway”, where nutrients are transported in the apoplast and blocked by the endodermal apoplastic barrier (Casparian strips); and the “coupled trans-cellular pathway”, where nutrients are transported sequentially from one cell to another by polarized influx and efflux carriers and are barred by the endodermal diffusion barrier (suberin lamellae). My group aims to functionally characterize these pathways for nutrient acquisition by a combination of physiology, cell biology and developmental approaches. We are particularly interested in suberin lamellae and plasmodesmata function and regulations for nutrient acquisition.

New guest speaker: Prof. Ralph Hückelhoven

On Tuesday, 05 November the RTG 2498 welcomes Prof. Ralph Hückelhoven from TUM Weihenstephan in Freising. His research focuses the biological and molecular causes of plant diseases. In Halle he will give a talk as part of the Plant Science Colloquium at 17:00  about “Mechanisms of ROP GTPase signalling in plant disease susceptibility. We’re looking forward to meeting him and learn more about pathogen-host-interactions on the molecular level.


Abstract: Plant diseases and resistance to fungal pathogens are often considered as two sides of the same coin. In this context, disease is the result of the failure of defense due to a lack of pathogen recognition or suppression of host defenses or both. However, in case of long-lasting biotrophic interactions, it may be insufficient for the pathogen to just avoid recognition and suppress defense. Instead, a successful biotroph may take advantage of host susceptibility factors, which actively support the pathogen. The barley ROP (RHO OF PLANTs) GTPase RACB is a susceptibility factor in interaction with the barley powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh). In healthy plants, RACB is involved in cell polarity and cytoskeleton organization and we hypothesize that Bgh profits from these functions in effector triggered susceptibility. Indeed, a non-conventional effector of Bgh interacts with RACB and destabilizes microtubules. We now identified further possible upstream and downstream interaction partners of RACB by yeast two hybrid assays, co-immunoprecipitation and FRET FLIM assays. This identified another possible effector of Bgh, several scaffold proteins that might link RACB to downstream executer pathways and proteins of membrane signalling and organization. Several of those RACB-interaction partners show the potential to support susceptibility to Bgh and display RACB-dependent subcellular localization at sites of fungal invasion or at microtubules. Together, data strongly suggest that RACB is a central hub in a network of susceptibility factors that is directly´addressed by fungal effector proteins. Additionally, RACB could represent a susceptibility factor, which does not control host immunity but rather supports processes, which are required by Bgh during accommodation of the haustorium.

Guest speaker Prof. Jim Whelan is coming

The RTG 2498 invited Prof. Jim Whelan from LaTrobe University, Australia to give a talk as part of the Plant Science Colloquium on Tuesday, 08 October at 17:00. He is an outstanding expert in the field of plant mitochondrial biogenesis and with his talk about “Mitochondrial Signaling – Specific and Shared Pathways” he perfectly supports our RTG. We’re really looking forward to meeting him.


Abstract: To achieve functional plasticity, mitochondrial activity needs to be coordinated on the cellular level via anterograde and retrograde signaling pathways, that control mitochondrial biogenesis from seed germination to senescence. At a transcriptional level, the integration of these mitochondrial pathways with those in chloroplasts, hormonal and environmental signalling pathways is being uncovered. At a post-transcriptional level, the regulation of various cellular functions via controlling RNA and protein turnover, protein trafficking and enzyme activity, also impact mitochondrial function. Also, recent studies suggest post-translational regulation of mitochondrial retrograde signaling. Together these studies show that mitochondria not only respond to stress, but also act as a sensors for cellular metabolism, and inputs from mitochondria re-program cellular processes from mitotic activity to cell death to optimise plant growth.

First PhD meeting

Yesterday we had our first meeting with the PhD students of our RTG 2498. They got a short introduction to the scientific content of the RTG and to the structured education program. It was really nice to get to know each other. Great group!

Welcome to the RTG 2498

Communication and Dynamics of Plant Cell Compartments

//Speaker Prof. Dr. Ingo Heilmann

The Research Training Group (RTG) 2498 funded by the DFG to provide aspiring graduate students with a stimulating and interdisciplinary scientific environment at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. The scientific focus of the new RTG 2498 centers on the dynamic interplay of plant cell compartments, such as plastids and nuclei, which are key factors defining the properties of plant cells.