Who we are
Our group is interested in finding out how plants can grow well, even if environmental conditions are not optimal. This knowledge can help to provide farmers of the future with improved seed material for high quality and quantity harvests, as a basis for healthy human nutrition. Adaptation of plants to changing environmental conditions requires sophisticated signal transduction and compensation strategies. Virtually all signal transduction pathways encompass steps to modify proteins already present in the cell. Such so-called posttranslational modifications can occur by attaching a small protein to the substrate. The modifier proteins ubiquitin and small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) are the focus of our research. We use biochemical and genetic tools to study modification pathways, in particular the N-degron pathway for ubiquitin dependent degradation, and a recently discovered pathway that links several SUMO proteins as a chain to the substrate. Both pathways have important functions in signal transduction for environmental adaptation.
Why/How are we going Green
The CO2 footprint of a researcher in a molecular biological lab is at least two times higher than the average footprint per person in Europe. The University of Vienna aims for climate neutrality by 2030. In order to contribute our share to achieving this goal, we gradually implement methods to reduce the energy and resource use in our lab, without impinging on our research quality. We teach these methods to our students. Furthermore, we aim to make our Institute more environmentally sustainable by supporting the grassroots initiative Climate@MaxPerutzLabs.