Plant Signalling - Markus Teige group

Room: 2.032
Althanstraße 14 (UZA I)
1090 Vienna, Austria

l.t.r: Dr. Anna Zvereva, Andrea Mair, Michele Grieco, Dr. Markus Teige, Dr. Verena Schön, Dr. Bernhard Wurzinger, Mag. Przemyslaw Kmiecik

Research Focus

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 signalling molecules with a special focus on chloroplast-related metabolism.

Therefore we performed directed proteomic studies and bioinformatics in order to identify new signalling components in chloroplasts (Bayer et al. 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015) and studied effects of protein modification in the subcellular targeting of protein kinases (Stael et al. 2011 and 2012). Detailed functional studies of chloroplast-related signalling were initially performed within the Marie-Curie training network (ITN) COSI and are now being followed-up in the framework of the newly funded Marie-Curie ITN CALIPSO.

Isolated Arabidopsis chloroplasts on a Percoll gradient

Chloroplasts expressing a green-fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion.
Red: Chlorophyll-fluorescence;
Green: YFP signal.

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; Latz et al. 2013). 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 were further addressed in the Marie-Curie Training Network (ITN) MERIT. Here we analyzed 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 signalling. A particular focus in this aspect will be the decoding of calcium signals in the chloroplast.

Links to international projects