DBG · Promoting young researchers

Michael Gasper (Universität Münster)

Michael Gasper's Master thesis was awarded with the Prize for the Best Plant Science Master Thesis, which was carried out at Münster University in the year 2018.

Title of awarded thesis

"Impact of lysine deacetylation on Arabidopsis thaliana seed germination physiology"

This work shows that chemical inhibition of lysine deacetylase activity during seed germination decreased germination speed. Genetic experiments indicated that lysine deacetylases can regulate hormonal signalling during seed germination.

A dry seed is in a metabolically quiescent state but turns into a highly metabolic active state upon moisturization (imbibition). There is emerging evidence that transcription is of minor importance in the germination process while proteome composition and post-translational modifications play a crucial role. This work sheds light on the importance of lysine deacetylase activity in the regulation of germination. Inhibition of deacetylase activity negatively impacts germination speed. Results from genetic experiments and chemical approaches indicated that deacetylases can regulate hormonal signalling during imbibition. This hints to a prominent role of acetylation as a regulatory PTM during imbibition. Activity-based profiling assays designated a role of particular deacetylases in this process. Characterization of germination of an isogenic collection of mutants suggested a dual role of deacetylase activity during seed maturation and imbibition. Overall this work shows that lysine deacetylase activity is a critical determinant of seed quality.

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Michael Gasper conducted this work at the Institute for Biology and Biotechnology of Plants (IBBP), Molecular Physiology of Plants, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in the group of Professor Dr. Iris Finkemeier.


Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 seeds before germination (A) and after germination (B) (white bar = 500 µM). Germination sensu stricto is completed when the radicle of the embryo protrudes through the micropylar endosperm.