CPSC Lecture with Michael Palmgren – University of Copenhagen

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CPSC Lecture with Michael Palmgren

Professor Michael Palmgren from Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen will give a CPSC Lecture on 14 March at 15.00-16.00. The title of the lecture is "Who were the parents of plants?"

Abstract: Molecular analysis of how protein encoding sequences relate to each other (phylogenetics) has revolutionized our knowledge of the eukaryotic tree of life and, with the advent of genomics, a new discipline of phylogenetics has emerged: phylogenomics.

This method uses large alignments of sequences to reconstruct evolutionary histories and have defined major super-groups among eukaryotic organisms. These include green plants (green algae and their land plant descendants), opisthokonts (fungi and animals), SAR (mainly unicellular protists including the groups stramenopiles, alveolata and rhizaria; photosynthetic organisms are found in all three groups) but also several other phylae including photosynthetic red algae and glaucophytes.

How these supergroups relate to each other is at present unknown. Thus, phylogenetic analyses reveal that the groups do not radiate out one after one from the trunk of a ‘tree’; rather they all seem to have a common origin. The lack of resolution of phylogenies suggests that eukaryotes could be the result of a large single radiation event, referred to as the “eukaryotic big bang hypothesis”.

This presumed massive radiation likely occurred after the mitochondrial endosymbiosis and may have been facilitated by the burst of atmospheric oxygen around 1 billion years ago. New phylogenomic data on the evolution of omnipresent biological ion pumps allows for higher resolution of the deep root of the eukaryotic tree and, specifically, allows for novel hypotheses regarding the origin of green plants that will be discussed during this presentation.

About Michael Palmgren:
Professor Michael Palmgren is research group leader of the group working with pumps in cells in the Section for Transport Biology, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen. The focus of his research group is biological pumps found in plants. The goal is to learn how such pumps function, how they are regulated, and what their physiological roles are.

Other research topics are the fungal plasma membrane H+-ATPase as an ideal antifungal target, P5 ATPases: ubiquitous pumps having no assigned substrate, and heavy metal pumps and epigenetic regulation of nutrient transport.

Read more about the research of Michael Palmgren.

Time: 14 April at 15.00-16.00.

Place: Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, lecture room A2-70.03.