Plant cell walls are essential for plant growth and provide us with food, clothing, shelter, and renewable energy. Nevertheless, key aspects of cell wall structure and the molecular players involved in its biosynthesis remain poorly understood. In particular, about the mechanisms that underpin the formation of secondary walls, which constitute the bulk of biomass in plant cells, little is known. To narrow this gap in our knowledge this project attempts to characterise and manipulate transporters essential for the delivery of the building blocks required for the biosynthesis of cell walls and their precursors in tree species. Furthermore, recent studies in the model plant Arabidopsis revealed that the transport mechanisms required for polysaccharide biosynthesis are regulated and controlled by as yet unknown mechanisms. To uncover these mechanisms and new components that are required to make the plant cell wall, I will combine bioinformatics, biochemistry, molecular genetics, immunochemistry and quantitative cutting-edge microscopy and investigate the model plant species Arabidopsis, poplar and Norway spruce. Thereby this research will contribute to our fundamental understanding of plant biomass production, leverage translational opportunities and develop knowledge that can be used to exploit these processes in woody species. The project supports exciting fundamental research and research training, aims at reintegrating an experienced researcher in Europe, and has clear potential for improved human health via climate change mitigation, enhanced plant biomass production and improved fuel security.
Fields of science
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