This release is available in German.
Not only mineral oil and petroleum gas, also phosphorous is a scarce resource. According to well-respected scientists who gathered together for a conference in Cambridge this August, we will face significant problems relating to phosphorous deficiency in just 20 years from now. Phosphorous, this important and essential mineral, is part of our DNA and, therefore, irreplaceable. Many soils are already depleted for phosphorous today. Plants growing on these soils are only able to take up enough phosphorous by living in symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM fungi). Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis (AM symbiosis) can be found in almost all vascular plants and there is strong indication that plants have a special genetic programme for it. The goal of Franziska Krajinski and her "Plant-Microbe Interactions" group from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology is to understand which genes are involved in AM symbiosis. This symbiosis is a non-synchronous process, which means that different cells in the root can show different phases of symbiotic interaction with the fungus. For this reason, the scientists tried to analyse individual cells as opposed to whole roots. They managed to excise single root cells with the help of laser capture microdissection and deciphered these cells' specific gene activity.
When scientists are analysing the molecular composition of plant cells they usually assume that different cells from the same tissue are alike. In many cases, this assumption is true. The majority of cells from leaves, stems or roots show similar levels of gene expression and metabolic activity. It gets more complicated when plants undergo symbiosis, because interactions with the symbiotic partner may alter the cell's metabolism. And even cells adjacent to colonised cells that have not yet come into
|Contact: Franziska Krajinski|