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Photosynthesis and Growth PDF Print E-mail

A Systems Biology Approach

The overall goal of ‘GoFORSYS – Photosynthesis and Growth – A Systems Biology Approach’ is the analysis of photosynthetic activities and the photosynthetic apparatus in oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. Moreover, scientists of the GoFORSYS aim at a comprehensive understanding of regulatory processes in photosynthesis in dependency on selected environmental cues with a particular focus on growth and development of the photosynthetic organism.

GoFORSYS has established a highly interdisciplinary research platform that incorporates 17 research groups from academia, namely the University of Potsdam, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, and the Max Planck Institute of Colloid Interfaces with strong expertise in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computational biology, theoretical physics, and mathematics. This consortium is complemented by an industrial partner, the Metanomics GmbH having a unique experience in metabolomics and overall data analysis in plant systems.

The main objective of this FORSYS center and its research groups is to obtain a better understanding of primary processes in oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. Since oxygenic photosynthesis is the primary source of global biomass production and provides almost all heterotrophic life forms with oxygen for respiration, it may turn out to be essential for mankind to know by far more about the regulation of photosynthesis in dependency of selected environmental cues/stresses than is known by now. Moreover, some general insights and conclusion from these experiments may prove helpful for future crop plant breeding.

Most GoFORSYS research projects are carried out on the unicellular eukaryotic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This alga has recently become one of the most investigated model organism of photosynthetic research. Presently, multi-parallel high-throughput experiments on several platforms are carried out in parallel, providing data on gene expression activities, metabolite and protein concentrations, revealing genetic variations as well as dynamics of metabolic fluxes. Besides the application of existing methods for integrated data analysis, new methods are presently developed. Key aspects of the GoFORSYS systems biology approach focus on the expansion of existing modeling and simulation approaches, for example, the reconstruction of dynamic cellular processes from experimental data.

Since the primary photosynthetic processes in Chlamydomonas are highly conserved, it is tempting to speculate whether it will indeed be possible to transfer major results and derived conclusions from Chlamydomonas to higher plants. This will be particular interesting, since eukaryotic green alga have evolved more recently in the tree of life than higher plants but by far later than the first oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, the cyanobacteria.

Coordination GoFORSYS

Speaker GoFORSYS

Head Coordination Office GoFORSYS

Prof. Dr. Lothar Willmitzer
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Wissenschaftspark Golm
Am Mühlenberg 1
D-14476 Potsdam-Golm
Phone:+49 (0) 331 567 8202
Fax: +49 (0) 331 567 8201


Dr. Susanne Hollmann
University of Potsdam
Plant Genomics and Systems Biology
Institute for Biochemistry and Biology
Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 24-25
D-14476 Potsdam, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 331 977 2811
Fax: +49 (0) 331 977 2811
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Prof. Dr. Bernd Müller-Röber
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Wissenschaftspark Golm
Am Mühlenberg 1
D-14476 Potsdam-Golm
Phone:+49 (0) 331 567 8351
Fax: +49 (0) 331 567 8134




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