Signalling across scales controlling fundamental physiological state transitions in plant cells

Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski (CIBSS-PI), Institute of Biology II - Plant Biotechnology (Faculty of Biology), University of Freiburg

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Filamentous Temperature Sensitive Z (FtsZ) is an ancient tubulin homolog that exists in prokaryotes and in eukaryotes. The Physcomitrella patens genome encodes five FtsZ isoforms, which are imported into plastids where they assemble to filamentous networks, the plastoskeleton. Knockout studies demonstrate an essential function for structural integrity of plastids, with the degree of importance differing for each isoform. Fluorescence imaging reveals that certain isoforms of FtsZ partially co-localise with stromules, stroma-filled tubules emanating from plastids and implicated in intra-cellular signalling. We implement 3D computational analysis pipelines in order to gain insights into the organisational properties of the FtsZ networks, with a particular focus on the possible evolutionary optimisation of the morphology for mechanical support. We are also testing a possible role of FtsZ in the formation/function of stromules via plastid-autonomous signalling or mechanical extrusion. In a more global perspective, we are developing data-driven solutions for some of the commonly encountered problems in biological volume image analysis such as automated segmentation, skeletonisation, object-part detection and extraction of geometrical/topological properties from images by machine learning.