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Current Research (PhD Thesis):

Sequestration of plant secondary metabolites is a mechanism that is widely spread in the insect world. Leaf beetle larvae of the subtribe Chrysomelina developed specialized defensive glands in which specific plant derived glucosides are converted, stored and released in case of disturbance. Such sequestration processes of glucosides must rely on a sophisticated transport system, which is not reported on molecular level up to now.

Detailed physiological studies revealed a functional network of transport processes guiding plant derived glucosides through the body of chrysomelid larvae. Interestingly, the shuttle through the entire larvae body by passing several more or less selective biological membranes leads to a possible excessive glandular accumulation of one specific defensive compound and the excretion of non-used glucosides along the way.

I´d like to find out what kind of transport proteins are involved in this network, examining their selectivity, tissue distribution, regulation and phylogeny by combining different species information. Furthermore a possible influence of transport proteins on the diversity of defensive compounds could be stated. With this project we also hope to enlighten host plant adaptation and/or co-evolutionary aspects within leaf beetle and their host plants as well as to draw parallels to other herbivorous insects.
last updated on 2011-09-05