Plant morphogenesis relies on the intercellular coordination by the phytohormone auxin that drives cell fate specifications via transcriptional reprogramming of cells. In addition to this, auxin has been shown to trigger responses more rapid than gene expression. These auxin responses became a hot topic in the field of auxin signaling, and depend on the cytoplasmic and apoplastic auxin receptors. Auxin triggers ultrarapid cellular responses that include generation of cyclic nucleotides, calcium influx and phosphoproteomic changes. Most of the knowledge of these cellular pathway was done in the Arabidopsis thaliana model plant, and the function and relevance of auxin ultrarapid responses across the plant kingdom remains elusive. The aims of the PhD project will be to study various aspects of rapid auxin signaling in the grass model system Brachypodium dystachion.

The candidate will use a wide spectrum of cell biological and molecular biological methods, with a strong focus on advanced live-cell imaging microscopy. We offer a creative and supportive atmosphere and an international environment of a medium sized research team. The project will benefit from the competitive funding by the ERC Consolidator grant.

We require a strong motivation for molecular or cellular biology in plants, MSc degree in Biology or related fields, proficiency in spoken and written English. The experience with grass model system and/or advanced microscopy is desirable but not required.

Five relevant publications of the research group:

Dubey SMD & Han S, Stutzman N, Prigge MJ, Medvecka E, Platre MP, Busch W, Fendrych M, Estelle M. 2023. The AFB1 auxin receptor controls the cytoplasmic auxin response pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana. Molecular Plant 16:1-11

Kuhn A, Roosjen M, Mutte S, Dubey SM, Carrasco PC, Monzer A, Kohchi T, Nishihama R, Fendrych M, Friml J, Sprakel J, Weijers D. 2024. A RAF-like kinase mediates a deeply conserved, ultra-rapid auxin response. Cell, in press.

Serre NBC°, Wernerova D°, Vittal P, Dubey SM, Medvecka E, Jelinkova A, Petrasek J, Grossmann G, Fendrych M. 2023. The AUX1-AFB1-CNGC14 module establishes longitudinal root surface pH profile. eLife, 12:e85193

Serre NBC, Kralik D, Yun P, Slouka Z, Shabala S, Fendrych M. 2021. AFB1 controls rapid auxin signalling through membrane depolarization in Arabidopsis thaliana root. Nature Plants 7: 1229-1238.

Fendrych M, Akhmanova M, Merrin J, Glanc M, Hagihara S, Takahashi K, … and Friml J. 2018. Rapid and reversible root growth inhibition by TIR1 auxin signalling. Nature Plants 4:453–9

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