Research - Dr. Christof Taxis
Previous and current researchCells need to adapt growth and behaviour to the environmental conditions. Regulatory networks convert extracellular cues into intracellular responses. Depending on the conditions, diploid yeast cells proliferate, enter quiescence or develop spores. This control of growth rate or number of spores maximizes the number of offspring. Our research is focused on the regulation of daughter formation during meiosis and spore formation by activation of centrosomes. We are intrigued by the fact, that cells are able to modify equal structures (the centrosomes) very selectively by an age-based mechanism.
One challenge is that many proteins, which are involved in this process, have important functions during vegetative growth and entry into sporulation. To circumvent this, we developed several methods to manipulate the abundance of a selected target protein. Thus, specific proteins can be depleted upon blue light exposure of yeast cells, entry into the developmental program of sporulation or upon a nutritional signal.
Another interesting application for targeted depletion is to create synthetic cell cycle regulators or influence biosynthesis pathways by external signals. Especially an optogenetic approach, which uses light as a signal, has the potential to create synthetic yeast cells with optimized behavior for engineered biosynthesis approaches.
We are interested to know, which
regulatory pathways participate in the adaption of spore numbers and
which targets are regulated during spore development. Thereby, we aim
to elucidate the basis for spindle polarity during yeast meiosis.
Essential for this investigation is the creation of mutants using
target protein depletion specifically during sporulation. To expand the
possibilities of targeted proteolysis, we aim to develop new
destabilization tags and new methods to induce the switching from
inactive to activated degron.