Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Light - elixir of life

13.08.2009
New DFG research group at Jena University investigates light-driven processes in algae

Sunlight influences every kind of life on earth. That is true for complex organisms, like human beings, as well as for the tiniest single-celled organisms.

Light is the basic resource of life, not just for highly-developed plants but also for green algae and diatoms. "Algae use light not only for the generation of energy", knows Prof. Dr. Maria Mittag from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. "It also controls their movements and serves to adjust their biological clock", says the professor for general botany.

The different effects of the light spectrum on algae are communicated by specific proteins. Which proteins these are and how they interact is to be thoroughly investigated by Prof. Mittag and her team from all over Germany. The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)) supports the new research group "Specific Light-Driven Reactions in Unicellular Model Algae" currently for the next 3 years. The project is coordinated by Prof. Mittag.

One of the most important problems to be dealt with is the light regulation of the photosynthesis of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. "Hardly anything is known about it, although diatoms are responsible for approximately one fifth of the world's photosynthesis process", claims Prof. Mittag.

Apart from diatoms, the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is in the focus of the researchers' attention. "We want to clarify how the biological clock of these algae works", Prof. Mittag points out. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has a well-developed day-and-night rhythm: During the day they tend to swim towards a light source with the help of their two flagellums. But during the night they seem to be unimpressed by light. For the perception of light green algae use a so-called eyespot - a primitive visual system. The Jena team around Prof. Mittag aims at finding out which proteins are involved in the process of light perception, which proteins control the day-and-night rhythm, and how they work.

On the whole, the new research group consists of seven projects at seven Universities. "Our group works interdisciplinarily", says coordinator Mittag. Apart from the Jena botanists, further molecular biologists, physiologists and biophysicists from the Universities of Frankfurt, Bielefeld, Konstanz, Würzburg, Leipzig and Berlin (Humboldt University) are integrated into the research group. Not only molecular-biological and biochemical methods are applied. Especially biophysical methods serve to characterize algae proteins. Since all genetic information have been known for both types of algae, modern high throughput technologies, i.e. for proteome research, can be used as well.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Maria Mittag
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Institute of General Botany and Plant Physiology
Am Planetarium 1
D-07743 Jena
Phone: 03641 / 949201
E-Mail: M.Mittag[at]uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de
http://www.uni-jena.de/DFG_Forschergruppe_1261.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>