Sugars, sinks and cell wall synthesis – how plants use sugar signals to invest their carbon capital for growth
Research Project Summary:
I have been working between Staffan Persson (UoM) and Prof Mark Stitt (MPI-MP) on a project where we try to elucidate how carbon allocation is controlled during the diel cycle in Arabidopsis thaliana. In particular, I have found that the cellulose synthase complex that carries out the primary cell wall synthesis is only active during the day when plants photosynthesize and inactive during the night. This regulation is maintained via the sugar status of the cell and we have interesting data suggesting that a similar regulation also controls other cell wall synthesis. In more detail, I have developed a revised proteomics pipeline to detect ubiquitinated proteins and shown that the cellulose synthase proteins, which make the cellulose, are heavily ubiquitinated during the night time, which may provide a mechanism for how the cellulose synthesis is controlled in plants.
Project duration: Dec 2016 – May 2020
- The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology: Prof. Dr. Mark Stitt, Dr John Lunn
- The University of Melbourne: Professor Staffan Persson
I come from Slovenia where I did my Bachelors and Master thesis in Biochemistry at the University of Ljubljana. I was investigating the role any way of action of MLKL (mixed-lineage kinase domain like pseudokinase) in a process called necroptosis. After a short internship at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Germany I decided to apply for the PhD in the joint project between MPI-MP and University of Melbourne. I am investigating if and how the influence of carbon availability plays a role in the primary cell wall synthesis in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. I spent my first year of the PhD in Golm and my second year in Melbourne.
The program is great because it encourages you to travel, meet a lot of new people, explore and widen your horizons. I really like to travel, so this was the perfect mixture. Also, Australia’s food and lifestyle is amazing and I would encourage everyone to spend at least a few months there. I was able to attend Formula 1, the Australian Open and many different festivals which Melbourne has to offer.
GR Student Contact: Verbancic@mpimp-golm.mpg.de
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jana_Verbancic
Publications: Verbančič J, Lunn JE, Stitt M, Persson S (2018). Carbon supply and the regulation of cell wall synthesis. Mol. Plant. 11: 75-94. doi: 10.1016/j.molp.2017.10.004.