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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-10-01 - 2019-10-31

Multiresistant microorgansims and tumors represent a continuous challenge to modern medicine. To encounter this situation, new pharmaceuticals have to be discovered and developed. A process that requires new, flexible strategies. Many pharmaceuticals originate from the kingdom of fungi. Bioinformatic analysis suggest that many more are still being hidden, even within exhaustively studied species. With this project, we want to activate these “silent” gene clusters with combination of the RNA-guided state-of-the-art tool CRISPR/CAS and an “artificial” activator, composed of viral and human transactivation domains. The system has already been established in other organisms and is therefore the tool of choice for our project. To our knowledge, there is no literature about the activation of “silent” gene clusters in filamentous fungi to this date. Should this project succeed, it would open completely new opportunities for the research of bioactive substances. Furthermor it would render the BOKU as an attractive partner for upcoming collaborations with pharmaceutical companies, who are interested in the discovery, development and production of new bioactive compounds, suitable for pharmaceutical industry.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-08-01 - 2021-07-31

The life of a plant is a permanent response to environmental stimuli. Plants monitor and constantly integrate the environmental fluctuations in order to adjust their growth and development. Plant hormones are central to these adaptive growth responses. Auxin is a major plant hormone that mediates a plethora of developmental responses in a concentration-dependent manner. Importantly, auxin mediates high temperature (HT)-related responses in root, shoot, and during reproductive development. PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4) mediates auxin-dependent hypocotyl or petioles elongation to HT. In contrast, root response to HT is independent of PIF4 and hence the impact of auxin to HT-induced root growth is controversial. Similarly, the role of auxin in regulating female floral organ development under HT has not yet been thoroughly investigated. Facing the consequences of global warming, plant growth response to HT is a timely, fundamental research topic with additional potential for applied research fields. Thus, in this research, I propose to investigate the auxin-based mechanisms regulating plant organ response to HT. I present here preliminary results and propose further experiments, covering two research directions: -The first part (A) is the continuation of my submitted (preprinted) manuscript that revealed the role of PILS6 in auxin-dependent root growth under HT. I propose in this part that the transcription factor SPATULA (SPT) is involved in this and aim to investigate how HT impacts on this SPT-PILS6 module to regulate nuclear auxin signalling during root growth. This research will clarify some controversy in the literature and will enable me to dissect whether the hypocotyl (PIF4-dependent) and roots (SPT-dependent) underlie distinct auxin-dependent mechanisms. -The second part (B) will assess how PILS-dependent intracellular auxin signalling affects female flower organ development and productivity under HT conditions. This research will advance the mechanistic understanding of female floral organ development, the pollen-pistil interaction, and the potential role of auxin to regulate these developmental aspects under HT condition. My research direction will fill eminent knowledge gaps and solve some controversy in our understanding of auxin-mediated thermo-responses. This project will contribute to several research fields, connecting temperature sensing, intracellular auxin transport and plant adaptive growth under HT. Overall, my results will further our understanding of how plants respond to HT.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-10-01 - 2019-09-30

The aim of this project is to ecipher the molecular mechanisms by which LaeA-dependent light regulation is connected to fungal secondary metabolite production and differentiation. Recently, it was also shown that the LaeA orthologue of Trichoderma (LAE1) controls cellulase biosynthesis and biocontrol abilities in Trichoderma [. We want to identify interactions of proteins within large complexes using either a double-tag protein purification method and thus alleviating the need to perform mass spectrometric techniques or using sequential yeast-two-hybrid screens to define complex interactions. We will use aforementioned techniques for studying the interaction partners of LaeA/LAE1 as well as VEL1 [most recently vel1 was also identified as the other essential components for cellulase synthesis in Trichoderma reesei which interacts physically with LAE1, and XYR1. Moreover, we will also further study the molecular mechanism of action of the putative methyltransferase LaeA/LAE1 in the model organism Aspergillus nidulans and in the industrially important fungus T. reesei by applying cutting-edge molecular and biochemical methods and likewise utilizing various bioinformatics pipelines which have been already established in the Braus laboratory and are applied routinely there.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations