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Dr. Mareike Schallenberg-Rüdinger

(Postdoc/ Junior Group Leader)

Key Interest:

Post-Transcriptional and Post-Translational Modification in Plant Organelles

We are interested in post-transcriptional and post-translational processes in plant organelles important to ensure proper photosynthesis and respiration.

In plant mitochondria and chloroplasts specific pyrimidines are converted on transcript level to correct genetic information. The number of the so called RNA editing sites varies widely along land plant phylogeny. First members of the RNA binding pentatricopeptide repeat protein (PPR) family were found to be key factors in RNA editing ten years ago. However, until today neither the mechanism behind this process is fully understood nor the origin of the editing factors is known.

We have chosen the model moss Physcomitrella patens with only low numbers of RNA editing sites in its organellar transcripts (Rüdinger et al. 2009) and a basal phylogenetic position as our model organism of choice to shed further lights on the process of RNA editing. Recently, we were able to assign all editing factors to their respective editing sites in this model plant (Schallenberg-Rüdinger and Knoop, 2016, Schallenberg-Rüdinger et al. 2013, Rüdinger et al. 2011). Furthermore, we are highly interested in the co-evolution of PPR proteins and RNA editing in basal land plants with a main focus on Bryophytes (hornworts, mosses and liverworts, Rüdinger et al. 2012, Rüdinger et al. 2008, Beike et al. 2014), but also in protists like Naegleria gruberi with rare cases of C-to-U RNA editing just recently discovered and the editing factors transferred horizontally, as one possible scenario (Knoop and Rüdinger, 2010, Rüdinger et al. 2011).

The project is supported by the DFG.

Cooperation partners: Mizuki Takenaka, University Ulm, Ian Small, University of Western Australia, Perth, Peter Szoevenji, University Zürich, Hans-Peter Braun, University Hannover.

Project participants in the lab: PhD student: Bastian Oldenkott, Graduate student (Plant Science Master): YingYing Yang, Undergraduate student (Bachelor Biologie): Elena Lesch.


Our second project aims to answer the question of the importance of post-translational modifications (PTMs) in regulating organellar function. One highly abundant PTM in plant mitochondrial proteins is lysine acetylation. In contrast to higher land plants like A. thaliana, rice and potato, information on the impact of such modifications in ancient land plants is pending. We are therefore currently investigating the organellar acetylome of the moss Physcomitrella patens and putative enzymatic factors involved in the process.

The project is part of the German initiative „Mitochondria in New Light“ supported by the DFG.

Cooperation partners: Markus Schwarzländer, University Bonn, Iris Finkemeier, University Münster, Veronica Maurino, University Düsseldorf, Stefanie Müller-Schüssele, University Bonn.

Project participants in the lab: PhD student: Marlene Elsässer.