Metabolomics and transcriptomics investigations into signal transduction processes controlling plant resource allocation


Research in the laboratory focuses on signal transduction processes controlling carbon allocation and utilisation in plants. We discovered a novel sucrose signal transduction mechanism controlling expression of regulatory genes. We also began to unravel the central role of trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P), one of the first uncovered principles in resource allocation and utilisation. T6P is a previously unsuspected signalling molecule essential in plant development and growth; it is implicated in the regulation of carbon partitioning, nitrogen-carbon interactions and control of photosynthetic capacity. Understanding signalling by T6P is therefore of utmost importance to improvement of crop yield and protection.
The laboratory's strength is in transcriptomics and we propose here to extend available expertise to metabolomics in the frame of our trehalose work. Metabolomic analysis needs to be developed as it will become essential to verify networks that are implied by transcriptional programmes, and to understand the multitude of responses that are regulated post-transcriptionally. Detailed metabolite profiling will greatly aid to pinpoint individual steps that are regulated by T6P. The analytical chemistry component of the project will be developed with support from the metabolomics facility that is being established at Utrecht University and will aim at discovering novel molecules involved in allocation processes in plants. The data obtained will be analysed using bioinformatic tools in a systems biology approach integrating metabolomics and transcript profiling data. The methods will be developed in collaboration with MPI-Golm and Rothamstead Research, with whom we already have strong ties, and will benefit other ongoing research in the laboratory.





Prof. dr. J.C.M. Smeekens

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Bètawetenschappen, Departement Biologie


Dr. H. Schlüpmann


01/01/2004 tot 31/07/2008