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Team Transporters

In this team, we study sugar transporters called SWEETs intensively to uncover unexplored roles of SWEETs, their regulations, and their mechanism of action. To facilitate our research, we also specialize in developing tools to address specific questions.


1) ArtSoil and CD-Rhizotron as means to study spatial differentiation of root microbiota

The current established plant growth media are mostly supplemented with sugar to facilitate seed germination and plant growth. Such artificial growth condition induces physiological changes in plant roots, alters microbiota dynamics, and prevents metabolic self-organization within the microbiota. Thus, to enable intrinsic study on root microbiota under more native conditions, we developed Artificial Soil (ArtSoil) and CD-Rhizotron growth systems where not only were we able to fine-dissect a single strand of plant root into several subregions but our systems also manage to retain healthy plant growth and reconstruct root microbiota colonization pattern of native soil-grown plants. Using these systems, we are studying differences in microbiota colonization in subregions of the root and the governing principles.

Eliza Loo


Dr. Eliza Loo
Gebäude: 26.14
Etage/Raum: 00.104
+49 211 81-15177

2) Matryoshka biosensors for monitoring and manipulating carbohydrate and gibberellin (GA) dynamics

As a proof of concept, we are establishing in vivo and in situ measurements of sugar dynamics in Arabidopsis leaves using a novel set of Matryoshka sugar sensors. Following successful implementation, the sugar sensor will be used for measuring sugar dynamics in Arabidopsis meristems. In parallel, we are also developing Matryoshka-type GA sensors to establish novel tools for controlling GA signaling networks. Ultimately, we aim to implement these tools in barley meristems to evaluate the delivery, synthesis, and turnover of GA in the meristem in different physiological conditions.


3) dCAS9-TurboID for identification of sugar transporter regulators

Cell-type specific expression of nutrient transporters is critical for resource allocation in plants. Exploring the chromatin composition of sugar transporters promoter region could possibly identify key transcriptional regulators of sugar allocation. By expressing promiscuous labelling enzyme fused with catalytically dead RNA-guided nuclease Cas9 (dCAS9) in mammalian cells, researchers were able to analyze the chromatin composition around the guide RNA targeting site by mass spectrometry. We are innovating a similar approach and developing plants harbouring dCas9 fused with TurboID-based proximity-labelling to identify potential regulators involved in sugar allocation during various plant growth conditions.