Quantitative understanding of plant light and hormone signaling through synthetic reconstruction in orthogonal mammalian cell systems
Plant hormones (phytohormones) are essential for many growths and developmental processes in plants, while they also regulate many stress responses and pathogen defences. Studying these complex plant signalling networks can be challenging due to crosstalk of multiple plant-specific factors. While all major phytohormones have been extensively studied in recent decades and are well described in terms of their components, connectivity and functions, the quantitative understanding of mechanistic and regulatory principles lags behind due to high genetic redundancy and multifactorial dynamic interactions. The use of synthetic biology strategies may provide alternative experimental approaches to overcome limitations of the current methods. Partial reconstruction of the major components of phytochrome pathways in orthogonal mammalian cells as simplified systems will limit interaction with endogenous components, which would compromise their analysis in planta. Once sufficient data are collected, the targeted validation of these structures and functions need to be performed in plants.
Here, we aim 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: 15.10.2021 / Doctoral Researcher
Thesis committee members: Matias Zurbriggen, Georg Groth