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Benjamin Menn

The evolution of resource allocation to plant cell wall polysaccharides

Plant cells are surrounded by a cell wall, a composite of various polymers especially polysaccharides. Many genes involved in plant cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis are known and have already been characterized, particularly from the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. However, regulation of resource allocation through the biosynthesis mechanism is not characterized. Additionally, how the resource allocation towards wall polymers evolved has also not been discovered.

These questions are addressed by expressing polysaccharide biosynthetic enzymes in an orthogonal system, yeast, and evaluating the production of the polymer quantitatively by using the corresponding enzymes from various plant species including from land plant ancestors, the Charophyceae. It is hypothesized that cell wall biosynthetic enzymes form enzyme complexes. Accordingly, functionality of such complexes with mixing partners studying protein-protein interactions will be assessed.

Starting date: 01.10.2022 / Qualification Fellow

Thesis committee members: Markus Pauly, Federica Brandizzi