Professor of Biochemistry
Major Research Interests
The group is currently studying different aspects of the lipid metabolism of plants, algae, mosses and fungi. In this context we are primarily interested in the metabolism of structural lipids and lipid-derived signal transduction processes. For this purpose, we make use of both classical techniques as analytical chemistry and biochemistry as well as of modern approaches in the area of molecular genetics, including the generation of transgenic organisms („gain-of-function“) or mutants („loss-of-function“).
Biochemistry and function of oxylipin metabolism:
We are interested in physiological functions of lipid peroxidation processes. Thus we analyze the function of specific lipoxygenases, i.e. the role of their products, so-called oxylipins (oxygenated fatty acid derivatives), as signals or defence substances during biotic and abiotic stress. Lipid peroxidation reactions are analysed in general by metabolomic approaches and more specifically by studying the biosynthesis of aldehydes (fruit aromas) and hydroxy fatty acids and (plant defence). Other studies deal with the role of oxylipins in plants, mossesand algae. In addition the catalytic mechanism of lipoxygenases and related dioxygenases is analysed.
Biochemistry of the biosynthesis of structural lipids:
Even in plants a huge number of different fatty acids are found. We are interested in enzymes which introduce new functionalities (i.e. double bonds at unusual positions or conjugated double bonds) in the fatty acid backbone in order to obtain new seed oils for biotechnological, nutritional and medical purposes. Moreover we study the biochemical pathways or networks that led to an increase in the seed oil content of oilseed crop plants and oleogenous algae. Two other projects deal with the biochemistry and function of sphingolipids in plants and fungi as well as with wax ester forming enzymes. In addition we aim to identify chemical signals by metabolomics approaches that are exchanged during the infection between Verticillium longisporum and Arabidopsis thaliana.
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