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Franziska Kuttig

Synthetic reconstruction approach in animal cells for the study of growth and development signalling networks

Plants need to coordinate growth and development, and consequently the required optimal resource allocation program, in the context of an ever-changing environment and the nutritional status of the soil. Plant hormones (phytohormones) are essential for this coordination as they regulate growth and developmental processes as well as stress responses and pathogen defenses. In the last decades, a complete description of the phytohormone signaling cascades has been produced in terms of components, connectivity, and function but a thorough quantitative understanding of the regulatory mechanisms is still missing. This is mostly due to the combinatorial genetic complexity and multifactorial dynamic interactions in the plant system. Here, we aim to reconstruct the signaling networks in an orthogonal mammalian cell system, which will avoid the crosstalk of plant-specific factors. The hypotheses arising from such experiments will then be tested in planta using targeted generations of genetic variations and mutant backgrounds.

This project intends to combine the use of orthogonal platforms, novel and highly quantitative assays, advanced microscopy and mathematical modelling to improve the insight into phytohormone signalling cascades and their involvement in the plant development and resource allocation.

Starting date: 01.10.2022 / Qualification Fellow

Thesis committee members: Matias Zurbriggen, tba

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