We study how plants adapt and acclimate to a changing environment or to stress conditions. How are environmental signals perceived and further processed in plants, and which processes are regulated? To answer these questions, we investigate different pathways, which are triggered by calcium-signals and test different mutants for a physiological phenotype. We are particularly interested in the subcellular localization of the signaling molecules with a special focus on chloroplast-related metabolism.
Therefore we performed directed proteomic studies in order to identify new signaling components in chloroplasts (Bayer et al. 2011) and studied effects of protein modification in the subcellular targeting of protein kinases (Stael et al. 2011).
Detailed functional studies of chloroplast-related signaling are currently performed within the Marie-Curie training network (ITN) COSI.
The role of calcium signals is studied using calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) as example. We identified a CDPK, which is required for acclimation to salt-stress (Mehlmer et al. 2010). This CDPK seems to regulate different cellular targets at the vacuole, the plasma membrane, in the cytosol, and also in the nucleus. The molecular mechanism behind the observed growth phenotype under salt-stress could therefore be manifold from regulation of ion channels or transporters at different membranes to metabolic reprogramming by phosphorylation of metabolic enzymes or transcriptional regulators. Such mechanisms of metabolic reprogramming in response to different growth conditions are currently tested in the framework of the Marie-Curie Training Network (ITN) MERIT. Here we analyze the regulation of a bZIP transcription factor by phosphorylation in collaboration with eight European partner groups.
Future directions of our work will be to untangle how phosphorylation of these transcription factors regulates the activity and thereby the expression of downstream genes, and to study newly discovered factors in chloroplast signaling. A particular focus in this aspect will be the decoding of calcium signals in the chloroplast.
Mehlmer, Norbert; Parvin, Nargis; Hurst, Charlotte H; Knight, Marc R; Teige, Markus; Vothknecht, Ute C (2012). A toolset of aequorin expression vectors for in planta studies of subcellular calcium concentrations in Arabidopsis thaliana. J EXP BOT;4(63):1751-61. PMID: 22213817
Stael, Simon; Wurzinger, Bernhard; Mair, Andrea; Mehlmer, Norbert; Vothknecht, Ute C; Teige, Markus (2012). Plant organellar calcium signalling: an emerging field. J EXP BOT;4(63):1525-1542. PMID: 22200666
Stael, Simon; Rocha, Agostinho G; Wimberger, Terje; Anrather, Dorothea; Vothknecht, Ute C; Teige, Markus (2012). Cross-talk between calcium signalling and protein phosphorylation at the thylakoid. J EXP BOT;4(63):1725-1733. PMID: 22197893
1987–1992 Studies of Chemistry, Univ. of Hannover (DE)
1992–1995 PhD at the Institute of Plant Genetics (IPK) in Gatersleben (DE)
1995–1996 Postdoc with Paul A. Srere, UT Southwestern, Dallas, Texas (USA)
1996–1998 Postdoc with Erhard Hofer at the VIRCC, of Vienna (AT)
1998–2000 Marie‐Curie‐fellow with Helmut Ruis at the of Biochemistry, University of Vienna
2000–2004 Senior‐postdoc with Heribert Hirt at Dept of. & Genetics, Univ. of Vienna
2004–2006 Gastprofessor for Biochemistry at the of Vienna
since 2006 self‐financed group‐leader at the Biochemistry, Univ. of Vienna
Scholarships and Awards
1995 Feodor‐Lynen fellowship, Alexander‐von‐Humboldt Foundation
1998 Marie‐Curie TMR individual fellowship, European Union
2002 Habilitation, venia docendi for Biochemistry from the University of Salzburg