Current topics at the Department of Molecular Botany

Axel Brennicke and his crew analyse the process of RNA editing in plant mitochondria to identify the underlying molecular mechanism. The enzymes and the proteins involved in recognition of the many sites are investigated.

Stefan Binder and his team investigate posttranscriptional processes like 5’ maturation of RNAs in different Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes. A second topic is the branched-chain amino acid and glucosinolate metabolism in plants. CRISPR-Cas9 systems are applied to manipulate plant metabolism.

Anita Marchfelder and her group are interested in analysing the RNA metabolism of halophilic archaea. Currently the following projects are being worked on using the halophilic archaea Haloferax volcanii and Halorubrum lacusprofundi: The prokaryotic immune system CRISPR/Cas; small regulatory RNAs and ribonucleases.

Mizuki Takenaka and his team analyse the molecular components of RNA editing in plant mitochondria. Two types of proteins are involved in this process in flowering plants. The factors recognizing an RNA docking sequence at an editing site, the Mitochondrial RNA Editing Factors (MEFs), belong to a large gene family of RNA binding proteins. Members of a novel small gene family, the Multiple Organellar RNA editing Factors (MORFs) are each required for many RNA editing events in chloroplasts and mitochondria. Their precise functions are being investigated.