School of Biological Sciences

Hans-Henning Kunz


Name: Hans-Henning Kunz
Field of Study: Plant Physiology
Title: Assistant Professor
Degrees: PhD, University of Cologne, Germany
Office: Eastlick 395
Email: henning.kunz@wsu.edu
Phone: 509-335-7698
Mailing Address: School of Biological Sciences
Washington State University
PO Box 644236
Pullman, WA 99164-4236

Research Interests

The conversion of light to chemical energy during photosynthesis is one of the most important biochemical pathways on the planet. In a world of climate change and limited fossil energy resources, alternative and sustainable technologies to harvest and store light energy are highly desirable. Artificial photosynthetic systems could significantly contribute to clean energy production. However, to design such devices, a detailed understanding of all components involved in natural photosynthesis is needed. A very detailed knowledge about the direct protein components of the photosynthetic machinery has been acquired over the last decades, but little is known about the importance of indirect components like the chloroplast ion homeostasis for photosynthesis. We have shown recently that a disturbance of the plastidial ion homeostasis has dramatic consequences on photosynthetic efficiency in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

 

Biomembranes that define the boundaries of cells and their organelles are impermeable for ions. Therefore, specific transport proteins facilitate ion exchange across membranes to maintain ion homeostasis in the organelles according to the physiological status of the plant cell. The ion homeostasis is sensitive towards abiotic stress, mostly in the form of salt stress. Excessive irrigation related to climate change and drought, has led to soil salinity becoming a growing global issue. Salt stress caused by NaCl accumulation in plant cells damages the chloroplast, leads to chlorophyll loss and poor photosynthesis rates.

 

The long-term goal of the research in the Kunz lab is a systemic understanding of the chloroplast ion homeostasis, the dynamics and how this feeds into photosynthesis and energy storage. Moreover, we are exploring how the chloroplast fights abiotic stress and which transporter genes and other genetic components are involved in this process. Identified genes from this research will be tested for their potential to increase photosynthetic efficiency under unfavorable environmental conditions.

 

In our research we employ different plant species, such as the dicot model organism Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa as a monocot and crop plant. We apply a variety of latest molecular biology tools and specific photosynthesis tools to design or study our plant mutants of interest. Our lab provides a challenging and team-work oriented training environment for undergraduates and graduate students with experienced researchers on staff.

 

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in our research, collaborations or would like to join our scientific team.

Representative Publications

TOP FIVE MOST SIGNIFICANT PUBLICATIONS

 

  • Kunz HH, Gierth M, Herdean A, Satoh-Cruz M, Kramer DM, Spetea C, Schroeder JI. Plastidial transporters KEA1, -2, and -3 are essential for chloroplast osmoregulation, integrity, and pH regulation in Arabidopsis.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 May 20;111(20):7480-5. PMID: 24794527
  • Kunz HH, Scharnewski M, Feussner K, Feussner I, Fluegge UI, Fulda M, Gierth M. The ABC transporter PXA1 and peroxisomal beta-oxidation are vital for metabolism in mature leaves of Arabidopsis during extended darkness. Plant Cell. 2009 Sep;21(9):2733-49. PubMed: 19794119
  • Kunz HH, Zamani-Nour S, Haeusler RE, Ludewig K, Schroeder JI, Malinova I, Fettke J, Fluegge UI, Gierth M. Loss of Cytosolic Phosphoglucose Isomerase (cPGI) affects carbohydrate metabolism in leaves and is essential for fertility of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol. 2014 Oct;166(2):753-65. PMID: 25104722
  • Stephan AB, Kunz HH, Yang E, Schroeder JI. Rapid hyperosmotic-induced Ca2+ responses in Arabidopsis thaliana exhibit sensory potentiation and involvement of plastidial KEA transporters. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Aug 15. pii: 201519555. PMID: 27528686
  • Kunz HH, Haeusler RE, Fettke J, Herbst K, Niewiadomski P, Gierth M, Bell K, Steup M, Fluegge UI, Schneider A. The role of plastidial glucose-6-phosphate/phosphate translocators in vegetative tissues of Arabidopsis thaliana mutants impaired in starch biosynthesis. Plant Biol. 2010 Sep;12. PMID: 20712627

 

PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

 

1.      Hoehner R, Tabatabaei S, Kunz HH* and Ursula E. Fittschen* A Rapid Total Reflection X-ray Fluorescence Protocol for Micro Analyses of Ion Profiles in Arabidopsis thaliana. Spectrochimica Acta Part B. Volume 125, 1 November 2016, Pages 159–167

 

2.      Stephan AB, Kunz HH, Yang E, Schroeder JI. Rapid hyperosmotic-induced Ca2+ responses in Arabidopsis thaliana exhibit sensory potentiation and involvement of plastidial KEA transporters. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Aug 15. pii: 201519555. PMID: 27528686

 

3.      Aranda-Sicilia MN, Aboukila A, Armbruster U, Cagnac O, Schumann T, Kunz HH, Jahns P, Rodríguez-Rosales MP, Sze H, Venema K. Envelope K+/H+ antiporters AtKEA1 and AtKEA2 function in plastid development. Plant Physiol. 2016 Jul 21. pii: pp.00995.2016. PMID: 27443603

 

4.      Kunz HH, Park J, Mevers E, García AV, Highhouse S, Gerwick WH, Parker JE, Schroeder JI Small Molecule DFPM Derivative-Activated Plant Resistance Protein Signaling in Roots Is Unaffected by EDS1 Subcellular Targeting Signal and Chemical Genetic Isolation of victr R-Protein Mutants. PLoS One. 2016 May 24;11(5):e0155937. PMID: 27219122

 

5.      Azoulay-Shemer T, Bagheri A, Wang C, Palomares A, Stephan AB, Kunz HH*, Schroeder JI*. Starch Biosynthesis in Guard Cells But Not in Mesophyll Cells Is Involved in CO2-Induced Stomatal Closing. Plant Physiol. 2016 Jun;171(2):788-98. PMID: 27208296

 

6.      Hoehner R, Aboukila A, Kunz HH* and Venema K* Proton gradients and proton-dependent transporter processes in the chloroplast, Frontiers of Plant Science 2016. PMID: 26973667

 

7.      Waadt R, Manalansan B, Rauniyar N, Munemasa S, Booker MA, Brandt B, Waadt C, Nusinow DA, Kay SA, Kunz HH, Schumacher K, DeLong A, Yates JR 3rd, Schroeder JI. Identification of Open Stomata1-Interacting Proteins Reveals Interactions with Sucrose Non-fermenting1-Related Protein Kinases2 and with Type 2A Protein Phosphatases That Function in Abscisic Acid Responses. Plant Physiol. 2015 Sep;169(1):760-79. doi: 10.1104/pp.15.00575. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

 

8.      Malinova I, Kunz HH, Alseekh S, Herbst K, Fernie AR, Gierth M, Fettke J. Reduction of the cytosolic phosphoglucomutase in Arabidopsis reveals impact on plant growth, seed and root development, and carbohydrate partitioning. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 17;9(11):e112468. PMID: 25401493

 

9.      Kunz HH, Zamani-Nour S, Haeusler RE, Ludewig K, Schroeder JI, Malinova I, Fettke J, Fluegge UI, Gierth M. Loss of Cytosolic Phosphoglucose Isomerase (cPGI) affects carbohydrate metabolism in leaves and is essential for fertility of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol. 2014 Oct;166(2):753-65. PMID: 25104722

 

10.  Kunz HH, Gierth M, Herdean A, Satoh-Cruz M, Kramer DM, Spetea C, Schroeder JI. Plastidial transporters KEA1, -2, and -3 are essential for chloroplast osmoregulation, integrity, and pH regulation in Arabidopsis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 May 20;111(20):7480-5. PMID: 24794527

 

11.  Mueller M, Kunz HH, Schroeder JI, Kemp G, Young HS, Neuhaus HE. Decreased capacity for sodium export out of Arabidopsis chloroplasts impairs salt tolerance, photosynthesis and plant performance. Plant J. 2014 May;78(4):646-58. PMID: 24617758

 

12.  Schneider A, Steinberger I, Strissel H, Kunz HH, Manavski N, Meurer J, Burkhard G, Jarzombski S, Schuenemann D, Geimer S, Fluegge UI, Leister D. The Arabidopsis Tellurite resistance C protein together with ALB3 is involved in photosystem II protein synthesis Plant J. 2014 Apr;78(2):344-56. PMID: 24612058

 

13.  Kim TH, Kunz HH, Bhattacharjee S, Hauser F, Park J, Engineer C, Liu A, Ha T, Parker JE, Gassmann W, Schroeder JI. Natural variation in small molecule-induced TIR-NB-LRR signaling induces root growth arrest via EDS1- and PAD4-complexed R protein VICTR in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 2012 Dec;24(12):5177-92. PMID: 23275581

 

14.  von Berlepsch S, Kunz HH, Brodesser S, Fink P, Marin K, Fluegge UI, Gierth M.

The Acyl-Acyl Carrier Protein Synthetase from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 mediates Fatty Acid Import. Plant Physiol. 2012 Jun;159(2):606-17. PMID: 22535424

 

15.  Wienstroer J, Engqvist MK, Kunz HH*, Fluegge UI, Maurino VG. D-Lactate dehydrogenase as a marker gene allows positive selection of transgenic plants. FEBS Lett. 2012 Jan 2;586(1):36-40. PMID: 22155004

 

16.  Bernard C, Traub M, Kunz HH, Hach S, Trentmann O, Moehlmann T. Equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) is critical for pollen germination and vegetative growth in Arabidopsis. J Exp Bot. 2011 Aug;62(13):4627-37. PMID: 21642237

 

17.  Kunz HH, Haeusler RE, Fettke J, Herbst K, Niewiadomski P, Gierth M, Bell K,

Steup M, Fluegge UI, Schneider A. The role of plastidial glucose-6-phosphate/phosphate translocators in vegetative tissues of Arabidopsis thaliana mutants impaired in starch biosynthesis. Plant Biol. 2010 Sep;12. PMID: 20712627

 

18.  Kunz HH, Scharnewski M, von Berlepsch S, Shahi S, Fulda M, Fluegge UI, Gierth M. Nocturnal energy demand in plants: insights from studying mutants impaired in β-oxidation. Plant Signal Behav. 2010 Jul;5(7):842-4. PMID: 20505361

 

19.  Kunz HH, Scharnewski M, Feussner K, Feussner I, Fluegge UI, Fulda M, Gierth M. The ABC transporter PXA1 and peroxisomal beta-oxidation are vital for metabolism in mature leaves of Arabidopsis during extended darkness. Plant Cell. 2009 Sep;21(9):2733-49. PubMed: 19794119

 

20.  Jung B, Floerchinger M, Kunz HH, Traub M, Wartenberg R, Jeblick W, Neuhaus HE, Moehlmann T. Uridine-ribohydrolase is a key regulator in the uridine degradation pathway of Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 2009 Mar;21(3):876-91. PMID: 19293370

 

21.  Haeusler RE, Geimer S, Kunz HH, Schmitz J, Doermann P, Bell K, Hetfeld S, Guballa A, Fluegge UI. Chlororespiration and grana hyperstacking: how an Arabidopsis double mutant can survive despite defects in starch biosynthesis and daily carbon export from chloroplasts. Plant Physiol. 2009 Jan;149(1):515-33. PMID: 18978072

 

22.  Traub M, Floerchinger M, Piecuch J, Kunz HH, Weise-Steinmetz A, Deitmer JW, Neuhaus HE, Moehlmann T. The fluorouridine insensitive 1 (fur1) mutant is defective in equilibrative nucleoside transporter 3 (ENT3), and thus represents an important pyrimidine nucleoside uptake system in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant J. 2007 Mar;49(5):855-64. PMID: 17253988

 

PEER-REVIEWED BOOK CHAPTER

 

1.      Fischer K, Weber APM., Kunz HH The transporters of plastids - new insights into an old field, Book chapter - Chloroplasts: Current Research and Applications, Caister Academic Press 2015

 

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