During the phylogentic development of the eukaryotic plant/algae cell, nowadays chloroplasts originated from former free-living cyanobacteria. The integration of this endosymbiont on a cellular level was achieved by the establishment of an intracellular communication system. This system is based on nucleus-encoded regulatory factors directing plastid gene expression especially on the posttranscriptional level including the assembly of functional multiprotein complexes. Understanding of this regulatory network and its development on the molecular level is the main focus of our scientific work. As model systems, both the unicellular eukaryotic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803 are used because both are amenable to genetic as well as biochemical experimental approaches.
Specific topics include:
- Regulatory multiprotein complexes controlling RNA metabolism and translation in chloroplasts
- Analysis of the RNA-binding PPR protein family in algae
- Factors and their functions during thylakoid membrane biogenesis in cyanobacteria
- Biotechnology with algal chloroplasts