Research Group Leader
- Role of cytokinins in the vascular tissue and root apical meristem formation and development
- Interaction of cytokinins with light and other hormones, particularly ethylene and auxin
- Role of cytokinins in the regulation of cell wall composition and cell wall structure
- Structural basis of multistep phosphorelay signaling in plants
- Employing the knowledge of molecular mechanisms of multistep phosphorelay-based signaling in molecular breeding
Determination of molecular mechanisms governing hormonal regulations and their functions in plant development.
Content of research
Plant cells are well known for their tremendous developmental plasticity. Plant hormones, particularly auxins and cytokinins were found to be major regulators of intrinsic developmental programs associated with changes of differentiation status of plant cells and tissues. That allows de novo formation of entire plants from virtually all types of specialised plant tissues. Identification of basic molecular principles involved in the regulation of plant cell division and differentiation will provide developmental model useful in the comparative biology approaches and identification of corresponding regulatory and developmental events even in non-plant systems.
In our group, we are interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of plant development by plant hormones cytokinins and their interaction with light and other plant hormones, e.g. ethylene and auxin. In our studies we employ comprehensive approaches including forward and reverse genetics, proteomics, protein biochemistry, protein structure analysis and bioinformatics to recognise the principles of complex molecular events involved in the cytokinin signal transduction and action.
We are particularly interested in study of following problems:
- Interaction of auxin and cytokinins in the processes of de novo organogenesis, regulation of root meristem patterning and vascular tissue development. We are interested in the identification of molecular targets acting downstream the cytokinin signaling pathways and the role of gene regulatory networks constituting cytokinin-dependent developmental circuits.
- Elucidating molecular determinants of specificity in multistep phosphorelay (MSP), with special emphasis on the role of MSP in cytokinin signaling. Particularly we are interested in the structural analysis of intracellular receiver domains of sensory histidine kinases that, as we have found, specifically interact with downstream signaling His-containing phosphotransfer proteins, determining thus specificity in plant MSP pathways.
- Integration of other signals, particularly ethylene and light in the MSP pathway. We would like to describe the mechanisms of ethylene- and light-mediated control over cytokinin signaling and importance of this integration in the regulation of plant development.
- Elucidating molecular mechanisms mediating cytokinin regulations of the cell wall composition and structure during cytokinin-controlled cell differentiation. We are interested in the study of the cytokinin-inducible genes from DIRIGENT and EXPANSIN gene families in the control of cell wall properties.
- Development and application of novel approaches, e.g. immunomodulation (production of scFv fragments recognizing both cytokinins and cytokinin signaling proteins in vivo) to modulate cytokinin-dependent regulation of plant development.
- Extending our fundamental research and use of its results in applied science and development of novel strategies useful in e.g. molecular breeding.