Chloroplast ion homeostasis ‚Äì a plant cell hub to sense and respond to environmental cues.
Plants are sessile life forms and cannot escape from adverse environmental conditions. Therefore, they have evolved a myriad of molecular pathways that aid in sensing and responding to a broad variety of stress signals. These stress signals appear on very different time scales forcing the cell to respond accordingly.
My lab is researching the role of the chloroplast, a semi-autonomous plant cell organelle, in abiotic stress responses. The chloroplasts is not only the site of plant photosynthesis but it is also functions as a major stress sensing hub. Our work focuses on deciphering the transport proteins which facilitate the flux of ions such as K+ and Cl- across the different chloroplast membranes. My lab has established a number of new genetic and analytic tools that we hope will aid in the discovery of yet unknown plastid ion carriers and channels.
By studying respective ion transport gain or loss of function mutants in great detail we try to dissect the relevance of each gene of interest for photosynthetic efficiency, organellar function, and plant productivity under adverse environmental conditions. In our newest efforts we also try to shine light on the regulation of the known chloroplast ion transport proteins.
In our daily work me routinely apply a variety of cutting edge methods such as forward and reverse genetics, genetic mapping, transcriptomics, molecular cloning, various microscopic imaging techniques, genetic encoded sensors, elemental analysis using total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) spectrometry, and protein biochemistry.
My lab has been engaged in the DAAD Rise program to help facilitate international undergraduate student research. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a plant science internship abroad.
Hans-Henning Kunz is a Human Frontier Science Program and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Lynen alumni. As a proud Humboldtian, he welcomes the opportunity to host Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Feodor Lynen Fellows at WSU.