Project groups


Both on the evolutionary and on the individual developmental scale, plants undergo several morphological, physiological and molecular alterations in an attempt to survive unfavoured environmental conditions which affect their development and yield production. The severe decrease in the availability of water, drought stress, causes one of the most important limiting factors for growth in several areas of the world and will become even more important in the course of climate change in Western Africa. Gene expression is severely altered under stress conditions and again during recovery from the stress which is investigated by transcriptome analysis. Effective for the metabolic changes are the proteins encoded by the genes and their transcripts. However, alteration in gene expression does not necessarily reflect the situation on protein and enzymatic level. Furthermore, the function of proteins is often adjusted by several modifications, e.g. phosphorylation. A detailed analysis of changes within the proteome of plants is necessary to understand the mechanisms behind differences in the sensitivity to drought stress.
As the method of choice protein populations from leaves collected under drought stress and subsequent recovery are compared to controls by separating them to individual spots by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. A direct identification of single proteins by 2-D Fluorescence Difference Gel Electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) followed by mass spectroscopy is employed.
Besides important grasses that serve as wild crops in the West African savannah such as species of the genus Panicum with different sensitivity to drought, varieties of important African crops for dry regions like barley and sorghum will be investigated as important candidates in the agriculture economy system.
Cooperation: M. Karas, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Goethe-University Frankfurt, A. Ashoub, Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute (Gizeh, Ägypten)



PD Dr. Thomas Berberich, Researcher


Ashoub, A., Berberich, T., Beckhaus, T. & W. Brüggemann (2011) : A competent extraction method of plant proteins for 2D gel electrophoresis. - Electrophoresis 32: 2975–2978.
Link to Publication

previous project | next project