Abteilung IV: Pflanzengenomforschung
We are interested in the functional genomics of two symbiotic interactions of legume plants with soil microbes: The formation of root nodules in a symbiosis with rhizobial prokaryotes and the arbuscular mycorrhiza interaction with soil fungi of the order Glomeromycota. Whereas nodulation leads to symbiotic nitrogen fixation, arbuscular mycorrhiza improves the uptake of phosphorus, nitrogen, minerals, and water from the soil.
We have chosen the model legume Medicago truncatula for our research, since excellent functional genomics tools are available for this plant. In addition to our focus on model legumes, the grain legume crops Vicia faba (broad bean) and Pisum sativum (pea) are used to study symbiosis-related genes.
Experimental techniques for the investigation of legume biology comprise laser microdissection, EST-sequencing, GeneChip hybridization, real-time RT-PCR, applied bioinformatics, and the expression of promoter-reporter gene fusions in transgenic roots. Functional analysis of candidate genes are performed in transgenic roots using different RNA interference approaches or in M. truncatula mutants.