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Current Research (PhD Thesis):

My research focusses on the importance of cytokinins in the interaction between Nicotiana attenuata and the herbivore Manduca sexta.

Cytokinins are involved in plant growth regulation, but also play important roles in stress responses. Cytokinin signaling is important for plant resistance to abiotic stress like drought, nutrient availability, light and shade. Additionally, cytokinins are involved in biotic interactions for example with nodule forming bacteria as well as with pathogens. Cytokinin signaling also participates in wound responses and regulates the levels of other plant hormones like jasmonates. Evidence exists that cytokinins are involved in plant-herbivore interactions.

I want to investigate the role of the cytokinin pathway in the defense responses of Nicotiana attenuata plants after herbivore attack by using transgenic plants with altered cytokinin levels and plants silenced in cytokinin signaling mediators. The used molecular tools include the chemically-inducible pOp6/LhGR expression system for fine-tuned cytokinin pathway manipulations to uncouple development- and defense-related cytokinin functions. The project utilizes multiple analytical tools for transcript, phytohormone and defense metabolite analysis, such as the UHPLC-HESI-MS/MS based quantification of cytokinins.
last updated on 2016-05-26