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B2: Plasticity of secondary wall patterns in the vasculature of Arabidopsis thaliana

Dr. René Schneider

Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, Haus 20, 14476 Potsdam


Email:               rene.schneideruni-potsdamde



Open positions:

Position CRC1644/B21 – PhD student Schneider group



We will investigate the plasticity of cell wall patterns in the water-conducting xylem of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. More specifically, we will utilize the genetic variation of ecotypes of this species that are adapted to the climatic characteristics of their globally distributed habitats. Our working hypothesis is that 1) the conspicuous patterning of the xylem walls determines the hydraulic conductivity of the vasculature and that 2) plants - adapted to different climatic conditions - can therefore respond plastically and differently to fluctuations in water availability. Since the genetic repertoire of Arabidopsis ecotypes is known, conclusions can be drawn about the genes underlying this response.

Using recently developed methods for high-throughput quantification of cell wall patterns by automated image analysis, the project will identify plasticity genes for xylem wall patterning by quantitative genetics. This approach will be coupled with a robotic high-throughput phenotyping system that enables highly reproducible measurement of seedling growth under variable conditions (i.e. going beyond water limitation).

Our preliminary data suggest that several Arabidopsis ecotypes can variably adapt their vasculature upon water limitation, which promises great potential for gene discovery. The PhD candidates will also develop novel analytical methods for the high-throughput phenotyping system that can be used throughout the CRC, providing an excellent opportunity to participate in a variety of scientific collaborations.


Project-related publications

Schneider, R., van’t Klooster, K., Picard, K., van der Gucht, J., Demura, T., Janson M., Sampathkumar, A., Deinum, E.E., Ketelaar, T., Persson, S. (2021). Long-term single cell imaging and simulations of microtubules reveal driving forces for wall pattering during proto-xylem development. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-20894-1

Watanabe, Y., Schneider, R., Barkwill, S., Gonzales-Vigil, E., Hill, J.L., Samuels, A.L., Persson, S., Mansfield, S.D. (2018). Cellulose Synthase Complexes Display Distinct Dynamic Behaviors During Xylem Trans-Differentiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1802113115

Schneider, R., Tang, L., Lampugnani, E.R., Barkwill, S., Lathe, R., Zhang, Y., McFarlane, H.E., Pesquet, E., Niittyla, T., Mansfield, S., Zhou, Y., Persson, S. (2017). Two Complementary Mechanisms Underpin Cell Wall Patterning during Xylem Vessel Development. The Plant Cell, doi: 10.1105/tpc.17.00309