PhD student Moritz Graeff receives PhD award – University of Copenhagen

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08 November 2016

PhD student Moritz Graeff receives PhD award


Congratulations to former PhD student Moritz Graeff from the Wenkel Lab at CPSC who has received an award from the Reinhold und Maria Teufel Stiftung for the best PhD thesis at the University of Tübingen.

“MicroProteins in the regulation of flowering time” is the title of Moritz Graeff's PhD thesis. He was awarded the Best PhD thesis prize of 5000 Euro by the Reinhold und Maria Teufel Stiftung. Graeff defended his thesis at the University of Tübingen where he spent the first part of his PhD before relocating to Copenhagen Plant Science Centre. 

His PhD thesis takes as a starting point that specific day lengths trigger molecular signals in plant leaves, which are responsible for the formation of flowers. The thesis shows that two microProteins physically interact with one of the molecular regulators of this process, thereby slowing down flowering.

In the Wenkel Lab at Copenhagen Plant Science Centre, Moritz Graeff discovered that these two small proteins can interact with the CONSTANS transcription factor. Since CONSTANS activity is required for the flowering response, these small proteins can delay the flowering process. Furthermore, it is not only the interaction between these microProteins and the CONSTANS protein that strongly represses flowering, it is the interaction with a specific third protein, called TOPLESS, which seems to be required for the function of the microProteins.

Read the article about how MicroProteins act as on/off switches for flowering control in plants.

The findings from the PhD thesis were published in the journal PLOS Genetics: MicroProtein-Mediated Recruitment of CONSTANS into a TOPLESS Trimeric Complex Represses Flowering in Arabidopsis 

 Visit the webpage of the Wenkel Lab.