Mechanisms of Mineral Nutrient Acquisition in Plants
The Bucher Lab studies the molecular basis of symbiotic plant-microbe interactions. Most of our work focuses on the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis (AMS) which is based on an intimate interaction between most vascular plants and soil fungi from the phylum Glomeromycota.
Protein Degradation in Light-controlled Plant Development
We are studying the role of protein degradation in light-controlled plant development. To unravel this process, we are using the model species Arabidopsis thaliana and a combination of genetic, molecular and biochemical methods.
Molecular Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics
We use Arabidopsis trichomes as a model system to study cell-cell communication, cell differentiation and morphogenesis. Genetic screens have revealed a large number of mutants affecting distinct steps of trichome development enabling a further molecular and cell biological analysis. The beauty of this system is that virtually all trichome genes turned out to be relevant for other cell types as well because they are involved in various general mechanisms of plant development
The long term goal of our research is to understand how plants integrate the uptake and utilization of key mineral nutrients with their needs, demand, and changes in environment. We use a combination of biochemical, genetic and physiological approaches and exploit natural variation in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. We defined the transcriptional mechanisms controlling sulfate uptake and assimilation and showed how this is linked to uptake of other nutrients such as nitrate (reviewed in Takahashi et al., 2011).
Range Ecology and Range Management
Current active projects:
Microalgal research at the University of Cologne
Microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms responsible for about half of the total global carbon dioxide fixation and thus play a pivotal role as primary producers in the world’s ecosystems. Our research aims to enhance knowledge about microalgae, in particular flagellate algae, to address fundamental questions about their structure, function, origin and evolution, as well as their use to the benefit of humankind.
Protein Interaction Networks in Plant Development, Cell Morphogenesis and Host-Pathogen Interactions
One of the major goals in post-genomic research is the analysis and functional interpretation of comprehensive protein interaction networks. We are interested in using functional proteomics approaches - particularly interactomics - to analyze the molecular basis of plant development, cell polarization and plant-virus interactions.