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Molecular Allelopathy

PD Dr. Margot Schulz

Zum Forschungsbereich „Molekulare Allelopathie“ werden BSC/MSC-Arbeiten vergeben. Bitte fragen Sie bei Interesse nach (PD Dr. M. Schulz). Die Arbeiten umfassen teilweise auch Untersuchungen zur Phänotypisierung, die im Forschungszentrum Jülich in Kooperation mit Prof. Ulbrich durchgeführt werden.

Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Allelopathy
The research focuses on molecular aspects of plant - plant and plant – microorganism chemical interactions (allelopathy). The use of model systems allows insights in plant reactions to defined allelochemicals and in strategies of different organisms to cope with the compounds. One aim is to elucidate the molecular background responsible for plant growth inhibition or stimulation, for sensitivity or tolerance against allelochemicals. Major aims are the characterization of involved proteins, their molecular adaption to detoxification processes during evolution using transgenic plants and the gene expression modulated by allelochemicals. Allelochemicals of interest are benzoxazolinone (BOA), terpenoids and alkaloids.

1. Benzoxazolinon (BOA)
BOA/MBOA present compounds derived from the benzoxazinones DIBOA/DIMBOA, secondary products of several cereals such as maize or rye and some other species. The mother substances can be released into the environment actively by root exudation or by rotting plants. All the compounds are bioactive.



The scheme illustrates the release of BOA, the conversion and degradation by microorganisms and the detoxification by higher plants. Investigations are also directed to the fluxes of BOA and derived compounds through organisms of field communities and to the resulting reactions. In cooperation with the Institute of Agronomy, Plant Physiology and Field Crops, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore the importance of BOA detoxification for the survival of certain weeds in environments enriched with this allelochemical is currently under investigation.

2. Terpenoids and Purine Alkaloids
We study effects of allelopathic monoterpenes and purine alkaloids on the transcriptome and proteome of Arabidopsis thaliana and other plants to pinpoint dosage and application periods that characterize the switch between growth stimulation, inhibition and plant death.