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Adaptation of lipid metabolism to abiotic stress

Forschungsaktivitäten
Prof. Dr. Peter Dörmann

Plants adapt their membrane lipid composition to changing environmental conditions by adjusting the relative amounts of phospholipids, galactolipids, and the degree of unsaturation of fatty acyl residues. We are interested in the changes of lipid composition during phosphate deficiency (galactolipids, phopholipids; see "Galactolipids in plants" above), cold stress and drought.

Figure 9
Figure 9: Arabidopsis thaliana grown in axenic culture under full phosphate suply (+P) and under phosphate deficiency (-P).

Cold stress affects numerous processes in the chloroplast, including the degradation of chlorophyll and galactolipids. We isolated the gene encoding CHS1 (chilling sensitive1) of Arabidopsis taking advantage of a low-temperature sensitive mutant previously isolated. The corresponding gene encodes a protein belonging to the large group of R (resistance) proteins (Zbierzak et al., 2013). We study the impact of low temperature on the lipid metabolism employing the chs1 mutant as a model.

Figure 10
Figure 10: Growth of the chs1 chilling sensitive mutant chs1 at 24°C and at low temperature (13°C).

Drought represents a severe stress for plants and is responsible for large yield losses in agriculture every year. In collaboration with the group of Dorothea Bartels (IMBIO, University of Bonn), we recorded characteristic lipid changes in Arabidopsis and different drought resistant plants (resurrection plants: Craterostigma plantagineum, Lindernia brevidens, Lindernia subracemosa) (Gasulla et al., 2013). We are currently extending this analysis to additional lipid classes and plant species.

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