B06: Communication relies on copper - Receptor-metal complex formation and degradation in the ethylene receptor family

The plant hormone ethylene is a key regulator of plant growth, development and responses to environmental stresses. Signal perception and response to the plant hormone are mediated by a small family of integral membrane receptors localized at the ER and the Golgi network. The biological function of the receptors, which mark the start of the ethylene signaling cascade at the endomembrane network and control signal transfer to further downstream elements, relies on a protein-bound copper cofactor. The determinants for assembly and integration of this copper cofactor in the integral membrane receptors are still largely enigmatic. Molecular processes and structures controlling assembly and integration of the metal ion into the functional plant hormone receptor as well as metal depletion upon receptor degradation are largely unknown. In our project we will explore molecular pathways, mechanisms and dynamics of copper transfer to and from the ethylene receptor family to understand functional and structural plasticity of the receptors. The project aims to gain a comprehensive picture on the biogenesis and the degradation of the functional metallo-form of the receptors with respect to interactions with soluble or membrane copper chaperons at or within the endomembrane system. The molecular basis of copper transfer, conformational changes related to the binding and release of the metal ion as well as molecular structures of receptor-copper and receptor-chaperon complexes will be probed by biochemical, biophysical and computational techniques. Thereby, our studies will unravel on how binding of the copper co-factor to the ethylene receptor family determines not only the biological function but also the 3D-structure of the plant hormone receptors.


Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Georg Groth, undefined email,
                         undefinedInstitute of Biochemical Plant Physiology

Researchers: Claudia Hoppen, undefined email
                        Lena Müller, 
undefined email

Responsible for the content: E-MailRedaktionsteam SFB 1208