Fabian Brandenburg - AG Eisenhut

Manganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient for all photosynthetic organisms. In the light reaction of photosynthesis, a Mn-cluster of four Mn-ions is part of the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) and plays a crucial role in the photo-oxidation of water. The Mn-cluster thereby prevents the formation of very reactive singlet oxygen. Besides its most prominent role in the OEC, Mn is also part other enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and catalase.

Besides its essential role for the metabolism of photosynthetic organisms Mn can be also toxic when present in excess. Symptoms of toxic concentrations of Mn are reduced growth, chlorophyll content and photosynthesis ultimately resulting in reduced yield. In nature, toxic concentrations of Mn appear in acidic soils with a pH ≤ 5. About 25 % of the world’s agriculturally used land is characterized as acidic soil. Even though the agricultural importance of Mn is known, the mechanism of how plants maintain Mn homeostasis is barely understood. Understanding the global picture of Mn homeostasis and especially the tolerance mechanisms to increased concentrations of Mn may therefore contribute to the improvement of crops in the near future.

In our lab, the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 (Synechocystis) is used to model the function of chloroplasts. Recently, a gene has been identified which is hypothesized to function as Mn exporter in Synechocystis. The aim of this project is to characterize the hypothetical Mn exporter and unravel its role in Mn homeostasis of cyanobacteria. Throughout the progress of the project other key players in Mn homeostasis will be identified and a suspected evolutionary conserved function in plants investigated.

Starting date: 17.03.2014 / PhD student

Thesis committee members: Andreas Weber, Peter Westhoff, Peter Jahns

Mini Academic CV:

  • 2013:
    • International Master of Science Biology, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf.
      : Characterization of the hypothetical manganese exporter MANGA in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803
  • 2012:
    • Bachelor Plus/International Biology, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf.
      : BASS4 as a candidate gene for the plastidic malate transporter
Responsible for the content: E-MailDr. Petra Fackendahl