News from the Department of Molecular Plantphysiology and Biophysics

A carnivorous leaf of Triphyophyllum peltatum with glands excreting a sticky liquid to capture insect prey.

Deficiency causes appetite for meat

Remote control for stomatal movement. Green light can activate the GtACR1 channel in guard cells that surround an open pore (left). Active GtACR1 channels release chloride ions, which automatically also causes the efflux of potassium ions and the release of water (middle). Because of slackening of the guard cells the stomatal pores in the leaf surface close (right).

Remote Control for Plants

With two additional genes for the enzyme dioxygenase and the light-controlled anion channel ACR1, the tobacco plant can channel salt ions across the cell membrane when exposed to green light. The success can be seen in the experiment: While pollen tubes normally grow in the direction of the egg cell for fertilization, in genetically modified cells they change the direction of growth depending on the exposure to light.

A boost for plant research

Normal and malformed leaves oft the Australian pitcher plant.

How Climate Caprices can Trigger Plants

News from the Biocentre

For a cacao plant to bear such rich fruit, it needs effective pollination. A research group, in which JMU was involved, has investigated how this can best be achieved.

Optimized cacao pollination for higher yields

In the fruit fly Drosophila, a central circadian clock in the brain controls important parameters such as daily activity or food intake. Peripheral clocks receive timing signals via further pathways, and act as clocks for various metabolic processes. If the clocks chronically get out of sync, this can trigger diseases.

How internal clocks control fat metabolism

Information can be stored in the form of DNA on chips made of semiconducting nanocellulose. Light-controlled proteins read the information.

DNA Chips as Storage Media of the Future

The Venus flytrap has a heat sensor in its sensory hairs, through which it reacts to heat waves in the run-up to bushfires. If the temperature rapidly exceeds the 37 degree Celsius mark, a calcium-dependent action potential (AP) is fired as a warning signal. If the temperature rises to the threshold of 55 degrees Celsius, a second AP is fired, the trap closes and the sensory hairs are protected from burning.

Heat Sensor Protects the Venus Flytrap From Fire