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Welcome to the van Wijk lab

We are studying chloroplast biology in plants; key words for our chloroplast research are proteostasis, degrons, protease networks, plastoglobules, biogenesis and differentiation. Chloroplasts contain ~3000 different proteins that together carry out  important functions. In addition to producing molecular oxygen that makes life on earth possible, chloroplasts synthesize a number of important products, including vitamins A, E and K1 and various anti-oxidants. We study unique aspects of chloroplast biology in Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) and maize. In particular, we aim to determine the life-cycle of chloroplast proteins: how do they mature,  which proteases (such as CLP) degrade them, and how are these proteins recognized (degrons) by these proteases (van Wijk 2015). In other words, what governs chloroplast proteostasis. We also study the role of chloroplast lipo-protein micro-compartments (plastoglobules) that have a unique proteome and metabolome; they are critical for plant development and stress responses (van Wijk & Kessler 2017). Finally we explore how the function and structure of chloroplasts, and other plastid types, are linked to cell-type; examples are differentiating chloroplasts in bundle sheath and mesophyll cells in C4 plants, such as maize (for more details).

Methodologies. We employ an interdisciplinary approach including  molecular genetics especially using Arabidopsis (we have generated a large collection of protease mutants and tagged protease lines), protein biochemistry, mass spectrometry, proteomics and metabolomics, as well as in silico (bioinformatics) systems analysis (e.g. mRNA-based co-expression networks),  and through collaborations also X-ray crystallography.  The van Wijk lab has in-house mass spectrometers, an extensive bioinformatics proteomics processing ‘pipe-line’ and houses the Plant Proteome Data Base (PPDB).

Brief biography van Wijk

Follow us:  @vanwijklab or ResearchGate

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