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   International Max Planck Research School
   Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry
 Phone:-Friedrich Schiller University
 Fax:-Lessingstr. 8
  emailD-07743 Jena, Germany

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PhD Thesis

started in Feb 2017
Zwitterionic metabolites -signals and resources
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Biologisch Pharmazeutische Fakultät
First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. G. Pohnert
Co-Supervisor(s): Prof. J. Gershenzon

Zwitterionic metabolites are neutral natural products with both a positive and a negative charge. Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is such a zwitterion produced by unicellular algae with osmolyte and cryoprotectant activities. It is also metabolized by algae and bacteria to dimethylsulfide, a volatile compound that is the most dominant marine source for atmospheric sulfur. Recently, an entire group of zwitterionic metabolites that fulfils similar physiological roles as DMSP in microalgae was identified: they seem to interfere with the trophic transfer of DMSP to bacteria and might thus modulate the global sulfur cycle. We aim to structurally and functionally characterize the entire family of low and intermediate molecular weight zwitterions from microalgae using analytical techniques(mass spectrometry and NMR methods)and bioassays. The main hypothesis that these compounds modulate the community composition of phytoplankton will be verified in field experiments, using natural sea water enclosures. In order to gain a better understanding of the contribution of this class of metabolites to the global sulfur cycle, the analytical platform will also be extended to the investigation of zwitterionic metabolites from higher plants. Their production and release will be explored using different model plant and tissue types. In addition, their contribution to typical blends of plant volatiles will be addressed.
last updated on 2017-09-20