Project groups


Project leader:
PD Dr. Thomas Berberich

Climate change will further spread extreme environmental conditions with even higher amplitudes in the future. Because of their sessile life style plants cannot escape the abiotic stresses like water shortage, flooding, low and high temperatures and high salt concentrations. Therefore plants developed strategies to survive harsh conditions by rearranging and adapting the metabolic pathways. The adaptation is based on differential expression of genes that code for proteins involved in protection of cells, tissues and organs. Some genes play key roles and regulate downstream events. The evolution and diversity of those genes is investigated in the project because the data on how these genes and their regulation of expression have developed in the plant kingdom from their ancestor gene will help to explain why some species are well prepared to combat the stresses while others are susceptible. This will help to predict which species could further spread under the changed environment and which species will face problems. 


Berberich, T., Sagor, G.H.M. & T. Kusano (2015) : Polyamines in Plant Stress Response. – In: Kusano, T. & Suzuki, H. (Eds.), Polyamines, A Universal Molecular Nexus for Growth, Survival, and Specialized Metabolism, pp 155-168.

Jedmowski, C., Ashoub, A., Beckhaus ,T ., Berberich, T., Karas, M. & W. Brueggemann (2014): : Comparative analysis of Sorghum bicolor proteome in response to drought stress and following recovery. -  Int J Proteomics

Kim, D.W., Watanabe, K., Murayama, C., Izawa, S., Niitsu, M., Michael, A.J., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2014) : Polyamine oxidase 5 regulates Arabidopsis thaliana growth through a thermospermine oxidase activity. - Plant Physiology (in press) pii: pp.114.242610

Kunihiro, S., Kowata, H., Kondou, Y., Takahashi, S., Matsui, M., Berberich, T., Youssefian, S., Hidema, J. & T. Kusano (2014) : Overexpression of rice OsREX1-S, encoding a putative component of the core general transcription and DNA repair factor IIH, renders plant cells tolerant to cadmium- and UV-induced damage by enhancing DNA excision repair. - Planta 239: 1101-1111.

Kunihiro, S., Saito, T., Matsuda, T., Inoue, M., Kuramata, M., Taguchi-Shiobara, F., Youssefian, Y., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2013) : Rice DEP1, encoding a highly cysteine-rich G protein γ subunit, confers cadmium tolerance on yeast cells and plants. - Journal of Experimental Botany 64: 4517–4527.

Kusano, T., Kim, D.W., Liu, T. & T. Berberich (2015) : Polyamine Catabolism in Plants. In: Kusano, T. & Suzuki, H. (Eds.), Polyamines, A Universal Molecular Nexus for Growth, Survival, and Specialized Metabolism, pp 77-88.

Liu, T., Dobashi, H., Kim, D.W., Sagor, G.H.M., Niitsu, M., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2014) : Arabidopsis mutant plants with diverse defects in polyamine metabolism show unequal sensitivity to exogenous cadaverine probably based on their spermine content. - Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants 20: 151-159.

Liu, T., Kim, D.W., Niitsu , M., Berberich ,T. & T. Kusano (2014): : Polyamine oxidase 1 from rice (Oryza sativa) is a functional ortholog of Arabidopsis Polyamine oxidase 5. - Plant Signaling & Behavior Volume 9, Issue 9

Liu, T., Kim, D.W., Niitsu, M., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2014) : Oryza sativa polyamine oxidase 1 back-converts tetraamines, spermine and thermospermine, to spermidine. - Plant Cell Reports 33: 143-151.

Liu, T., Kim, D.W., Niitsu, M., Maeda, S., Watanabe, M., Kamio, Y., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2014) : Polyamine oxidase 7 is a terminal catabolism-type enzyme in Oryza sativa and is specifically expressed in anther organ. - Plant Cell Physiology, DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcu047.

Ono, Y., Kim, D. W., Watanabe, K., Sasaki, A., Niitsu, M., Berberich, T., Kusano, T., & Y. Takahashi (2012) : Constitutively and highly expressed Oryza sativa polyamine oxidases localize in peroxisomes and catalyze polyamine back conversion.  - Amino Acids 42: 867-876. DOI: 10.1007/s00726-011-1002-3
Link to Publication

Sagor, G.H.M., Berberich, T., Kojima, S., Niitsu, M. & T. Kusano (2016) : Spermine modulates the expression of two probable polyamine transporter genes and determines growth responses to cadaverine in Arabidopsis. - Plant Cell Reports 35:1247-1257. DOI 10.1007/s00299-016-1957-3.

Sagor, G.H.M., Berberich, T., Takahashi, Y., Niitsu, M. & T. Kusano (2013) : The polyamine spermine protects Arabidopsis from heat stress-induced damage by increasing expression of heat shock-related genes. - Transgenic Research 22: 595-605.

Sagor, G.H.M., Berberich, T., Tanaka, S., Nishiyama, M., Kanayama, Y., Kojima, S., Muramoto, K., & T. Kusano (2015) : A novel strategy to produce sweeter tomato fruits with high sugar contents by fruit-specific expression of a single bZIP transcription factor gene. - Plant Biotechnology Journal, DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12479

Sagor, G.H.M., Chawla, P., Kim, D.W., Berberich, T., Kojima, S., Niitsu, M., & T. Kusano (2015) : The polyamine spermine induces the unfolded protein response via the MAPK cascade in Arabidopsis. - Frontiers in Plant Science 6:687. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00687

Sagor, G.H.M., Inoue, M., Kim, D.W., Kojima, S., Niitsu, M., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2015) : The polyamine oxidase from lycophyte Selaginella lepidophylla (SelPAO5), unlike that of angiosperms, back-converts thermospermine to norspermidine. - FEBS Letters 589: 3071-3078, DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.08.045

Sagor, G.H.M., Liu, T., Takahashi, H., Niitsu, M., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2013) : Longer uncommon polyamines have a stronger defense gene-induction activity and a higher suppressing activity of Cucumber mosaic virus multiplication compared to that of spermine in Arabidopsis thaliana. -Plant Cell Reports, doi 10.1007/s00299-013-1459-5.

Sagor, G.H.M., Takahashi, H., Niitsu, M., Takahashi, Y., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2012) : Exogenous thermospermine has an activity to induce a subset of the defense genes and restrict cucumber mosaic virus multiplication in Arabidopsis thaliana. - Plant Cell Reports DOI 10.1007/s00299-012-1243-y
Link to Publication

Sagor, G.H.M., Yamaguchi, K., Watanabe, K., Berberich, T., Kusano, T., Takahashi, Y. (2011) :  Spatio-temporal expression analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana spermine synthase gene promoter. - Plant Biotechnology 28: 407–411. DOI: 10.5511/plantbiotechnology.11.0704a
Link to Publication

Sagor, G.H.M., Zhang, S., Kojima, S., Simm, S., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2016) : Reducing cytoplasmic polyamine oxidase activity in Arabidopsis increases salt and drought tolerance by reducing reactive oxygen species production and increasing defense gene expression. - Frontiers Plant Science 7:214. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00214.

Scharf, K.-D., Berberich, T. , Ebersberger, I. & L. Nover (2012) : The plant heat stress transcription factor (Hsf) family: structure, function and evolution.  - Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1819: 104–119; 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2011.10.002
Link to Publication

Shenton, M.R., Berberich, T., Kamo, M., Yamashita, T., Taira, H. & R. Terauchi (2012) : Use of intercellular washing fluid to investigate the secreted proteome of the rice-Magnaporthe interaction. Journal of Plant Research, DOI: 10.1007/s10265-012-0473-y

Takahashi, Y., Cong, R., Sagor, G.H., Niitsu, M., Berberich, T., Kusano, T. (2010) : Characterization of five polyamine oxidase isoforms in Arabidopsis thaliana. - Plant Cell Rep 29: 955–965
Link to Publication

Thalor, S.K., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2015) : Polyamine Homeostasis in Plants: The Role(s) of Evolutionarily Conserved Upstream ORFs. In: Kusano, T. & Suzuki, H. (Eds.), Polyamines, A Universal Molecular Nexus for Growth, Survival, and Specialized Metabolism, pp 111-118.

Thalor, S.K., Berberich, T., Lee, S.S., Yang, S.H., Zhu, XJ.,Imai, R., Takahashi, Y. & T. Kusano (2012) : Deregulation of sucrose-controlled translation of a bZIP-type transcription factor results in sucrose accumulation in leaves. - PLoS ONE 7(3): e33111. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033111
Link to Publication

Yang, S.H., Kim, S.-H., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2012) : Identification and properties of a small protein that interacts with a bZIP-type transcription factor during senescence and flower development in tobacco plants. - Plant Biotechnology 29, DOI: 10.5511/plantbiotechnology.12.0508b

Zhu, X., Thalor, S.K., Takahashi, Y., Berberich, T. & T. Kusano (2012) : An inhibitory effect of the sequence-conserved upstream open reading frame on the translation of the main open-reading frame of HsfB1 transcripts in Arabidopsis. - Plant, Cell & Environment. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2012.02533.x.

Zimmermann, T., Bocksberger, G., Brüggemann, W. & T. Berberich (2013) : Phylogenetic relationship and molecular taxonomy of African grasses of the genus Panicum inferred from four chloroplast DNA-barcodes and nuclear gene sequences. - Journal of Plant Research 126: 363-371.