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Proteomic analysis of plant cell wall biosynthesis


Plant cell walls provide a major renewable resource that is extensively used in food (gelling agents) and non-food applications (paper and textiles). Expanding scientific knowledge of cell wall biosynthesis has the potential to greatly enhance valuable quality traits in crop plants in the European region and around the world. This project will allow us to find and elucidate the functions of novel proteins involved in plant cell wall assembly-Arabidopsis thaliana cell suspension cultures will be used to generate samples for proteomic analysis. The advantage of this system is that cells in their regeneration phase (after protoplastation) synthesize predominately new wall material. Using 2D-gel electrophoresis, proteins that are highly up regulated in the cell wall during the regeneration process will be identified and subjected to peptide mass fingerprinting using MALDI- TOF MS. The resulting data will make it possible to identify the gene for each identified protein. The function of these genes will be elucidated individually through the production of transgenic Arabidopsis plants in which gene expression is either increased or decreased. The cell walls of these plants will be analyzed in detail to demonstrate the effect of the genes and their encoded proteins on cell wall structure and synthesis. Discovering the functions of these genes in Arabidopsis will tell us much about the roles of similar genes in crop plants and highlight potential commercial applications. I have a strong background in molecular biology, particularly in elucidating gene function through producing and analyzing transgenic plants expressing reporter gene constructs and over or under-expressing genes of interest. At the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP), I will have the opportunity to be trained in proteomic analysis of protein samples, including protein separation (2D-gel electrophoresis) and identification (MALDI- TOF MS) procedures. The facilities at hand will also enable plant cell wall analysis using techniques involving analytical carbohydrate chemistry. Moreover, the MPI-MP possesses an outstanding infrastructure for plant cultivation and transformation, and for subsequent molecular and physiological analyses. The large spectrum of biochemical and genetic techniques available within the MPI-MP is unique in Europe and, in combination with my experience, will allow the rapid and successful achievement of the project goals.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Am Muehlenberg 1
14424 Gross Glienicke Potsdam