Metabolic Systems Interactions
Head: Dr. Nadine Töpfer
Plant growth and performance is steered and often limited by the underlying metabolic processes. This includes the conversion of light energy to chemical energy through photosynthesis, carbon and nitrogen assimilation, and transport and storage of metabolic intermediates. These processes are enabled by the interplay of different cell types, tissues and organs. These different metabolic systems need to be coordinated in a temporal and spatial manner to meet the plant’s demands at different growth stages and under changing environments.
Our aim is to gain a better understanding of the constraints that shape the behavior of the plant’s metabolic systems and their interactions to guide metabolic engineering strategies that will improve crop plant productivity and quality. In our group we use computational approaches and work closely with experimental labs at the IPK and other research institutes in Germany and abroad.
Our research strategy is centered around the analysis of large-scale stoichiometric metabolic networks using flux-balance approaches. Research topics are (i) the development of data-integrative constraint-based methods to study tissue- and organ interactions, (ii) the curation and computational integration of specialized metabolism and (iii) the study of plant-environment interactions.