Molecular Plant Biophysics and Biochemistry
Welcome to the Plant Biophysics and Biochemistry LABs: Basic research focusses on the generation of polarity in biological systems using the growing pollen tube as an example of a highly polarized cell. Pollen grains landing on a stigma will start to germinate and grow a pollen tube through the stigma tissue towards the egg cells where the two sperm cells are released and eventually, fertilisation takes place. The production of all our food relies on the successful fertilisation of plants to produce fruits, veggies, seeds, wine, bread, beer and beef.
Unfortunately, this process is very sensitive to water shortages and drought stress during the fertilization process will result in crop losses and less food for human nourishment. We investigate the ability of the pollen, especially pollen tubes, to cope with osmotic stress during fertilisation. Therefore, the molecular mechanisms of osmosensors and OSMOREGULATION signalling networks in pollen are studied as well as water and ion transport. Different experimental strategies are used to investigate pollen growth and osmoregulation ranging from single molecule techniques investigating membrane proteins or second messengers to the entire POLLENSYSTEMS BIOLOGY using ‘omics’ technologie
– Click on picture to see a growing pollen tube –
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On the other hand, pollen grains landing on any wet surface of human origin (nasal endothelia, eyes, respiratory tract, etc.) are releasing quite a number of proteins including allergens which may cause ALLERGY in sensitised humans. Detailed studies to understand the physiology of the pollen grain at the molecular level may help to reveal why pollen grains release specific protein whereas others are not released and whether this protein release can be blocked to minimise allergen exposure to patients.