Activities Events

"Chemical, biochemical, and biophysical approaches for understanding the biology of intercellular and interorgan transport of sugars and hormones" by Prof. Wolf B. Frommer 1470th Biological Science Seminar / Dec. 8, 2023


Nov. 13, 2023

A seminar by Professor Wolf B. Frommer is being held at the University of Tokyo 'Biological Science Seminar'

Prof. Wolf B. Frommer(ITbM, Nagoya University; Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf; Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne)

1470th Biological Science Seminar / Dec. 8, 2023

We have worked on key questions regarding the uptake and distribution of nutrients and signaling molecules in plants with an emphasis on transport processes. These involve highly specialized proteins that are embedded into the cell membranes and interact with their substrates to move them in or out of the cells or to neighboring cells. In plants this also involves a unique and highly complex structure, the plasmodesmata which consist of multiple membranes with properties similar to size exclusion chromatography systems. My lab identified many of the key transporter genes in plants (ammonium, urea, ureides, amino acids, sucrose (SUTs and SWEETs) and is studying their role and regulation. My lab also developed genetically encoded Förster Resonance Energy and Matryoshka sensors that enable quantification of the dynamics of metabolites and hormones, as well as the activity of transporters in vivo. Along the way we discovered that pathogens hijack the sugar transport systems, and through genome editing, we can prevent multiplication of bacterial blight-causing bacteria and blast causing fungi and are now at the point that we can provide resistant elite varieties to India and Kenya. These discoveries were only possible through interdisciplinary approaches and increasingly involve chemistry: 1. Implementation of covalent protein labeling (SNAP tagging) in plants to enable studies of transporter endocytosis, and ultimately to generate hybrid sensors that include chemical reporters. 2. Characterization of the selectivity of transporters using MD simulations- why a transporter can recognize a lot of compounds but does not necessarily use them. 3. The use of synthetic hormone analogs together with modified hormone receptors to control hormone signals by chemicals in specific cell types. 4. Screens of chemical libraries to identify transport inhibitors as potential new pesticides
1. Luu et al (2023) eLife in press; 2. Isoda et al (2022) PNAS 119: e2207558119; 3. Iwatate et al (2020) Plant Cell 32:3081-3094; 4. Ast et al (2017) Nat Commun 8:431; 5. Latorraca et al (2017) Cell 169, 96-107; 6. Jones et al (2014) eLife 3: e01741; 7. Ho et al (2014) eLife 3: e01917; 8. Lanquar et al (2014) New Phytol 202:198-208; 9. De Michele et al (2022) eLife 2: e00800; 10. Chen et al (2012) Science 335: 207-211; 11. Kaper et al. (2007) PLoS Biol 5:e257; 12. Loqué et al (2007) Nature 446, 195198. 13. Fehr et al (2002) PNAS 99, 9846-9851.