Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology
Growth and stress hormones
Plant growth is regulated by hormones which either stimulate or inhibit cell elongation. The simple two-carbon atom molecule ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone that fine-tunes growth by constraining cell expansion. It has an impact on every stage of plant growth from germination and seedling growth to ripening and senescence, and is a key signal in most stress situations. Hence, fundamental research is conducted towards a better understanding of how ethylene controls plant growth at the cell-type specific level, how its precursor moves between cells and tissues, and how the hormone interacts with other signals. In addition, new molecules that affect ethylene metabolism in plants are identified and may hold promise for potential applications. The central role of ethylene in major developmental stages underscores the impact of these studies on agriculture and horticulture, from securing yields to limiting post-harvest losses.