The ICIPS research unit groups six different DFG-funded projects which are going to be conduted within six independant groups of high-ranking researchers studying plant sexual reproduction at different phylogenetic levels.

Project LeaderDFG project titleProject Code
Annette Becker
(JLU Giessen)
400 million years of faithfulness – how the transcriptional regulators LEUNIG and SEUSS co-evolved to become key factors of reproductive development in Arabidopsis thalianaP1
Thomas Dresselhaus
(Uni. Regensburg)
Evolution of gametophytic communication systems by analyzing RALF and ROS signalingP2
Stefanie Müller-Schüssele
(TU Kaiserslautern)
ROS bursts in plant growth and fertility: evolution and diversification of the NADPH oxidase familyP3
Stefanie Sprunck
(Uni. Regensburg)
Evolutionary history of ECA1 gametogenesis-related proteins and their roles in seed plant reproductionP4
Günter Theißen
(FSU Jena)
On the origin of the seed habitP5
Sabine Zachgo
(Uni. Osnabrück)
Contribution of the TGA/NPR network and redox regulation
to the evolution of sexual reproduction
Annette Becker
(JLU Giessen)
Project coordination, networking, workshop organization,
public outreach
– Z1* –
Alexander Goesmann
(JLU Giessen)
Bioinformatics workflows for scalable data analysis fo plant “omics” in cloud computing environments– Z2* –
List of DFG-funded projects
(* Z projects are central infrastructure projects providing bioinformatics support and project coordination)

All laboratories/groups are bringing specific expertise in methods and concepts required for ICIPS research unit.

ICIPS group /
DFG project
Phylogeny recon.Comparative TranscriptomeInteractions / ProteomicsReverse Genetics / ComplementationLaser Capture MicrodissectionROS Analysis
Becker group (P1) X XXXX
Dresselhaus group (P2) X XXXX
Müller-Schüssele group (P3) XXX
Sprunck group (P4) X XXXX
Theißen group (P5) X XX
Zachgo group (P6) X XXXX
Summary of the techniques used by and provided by specific research groups.
(NB: The Goesmann group (Z2) is involved in all pojects providing software pipelines and bioinformatic storage space)

The unit brings together researchers studying the evolution of signaling mechanisms in fertilization and the evolution of developmental networks for the formation of reproductive organs.

Venn diagram showing the composition and research topics
overlapping within the ICIPS research unit.

This ICIPS research unit will not only provide a common computing infrastructure for comparative genomics and transcriptomics (via the Goesmann group or Z2), but will also share a large pool of novel genetic model systems representing major land plant lineages. A common “pool” of model organisms amenable to stable genetic transformation with fully sequenced genomes now allows us to address evolutionary questions over large phylogenetic distances covering more than 400 Million years of evolution.

The Zachgo lab (P6) provides expertise on Marchantia polymorpha (liverwort), the labs of Stefanie Müller-Schüssele (P3) works on Physcomitrium (Physcomitrella) patens (earthmoss), the labs of Annette Becker (P1) and Günter Theißen (P5) on Ceratopteris richardii (monilophyte), Günter Theißen (P5) contributes with Picea abies expertise (gymnosperm) too, and the labs of Thomas Dresselhaus (P2) and Stefanie Sprunck (P4) are contributing with Zea mays (monocot) and Amborella trichopoda (basal angiosperm) to the consortium.

Most PIs are also experienced in using A. thaliana as a genetic model organism and consequently, A. thaliana will serve as a reference organism for heterologous expression experiments with genes analyzed within the ICIPS research unit.