The discovery of fluorescent proteins allowed monitoring intracellular processes in real time and brought dynamic behavior and transitions as novel parameters to be measured by microscopic imaging. The advanced live cell imaging group is cornered on the use of various tools to achieve dynamic imaging of plant intracellular processes. As model systems, we use tobacco Bright Yellow-2 culture cells, Arabidopsis seedlings, Nicotiana benthamiana epidermal leaf cells and we also work with the moss Physcomitrella patens. Initially, the focus lay on imaging the events associated with cellular division such as preprophase band formation and positioning, division zone establishment and cell plate formation. We continue on this topic by elucidating the role of the plant aurora kinases as we have shown that they function in division plane determination during formative divisions (Van Damme et al., 2011a).
Currently, the major research topic in the group aims to elucidate the highly dynamic process of endocytosis at the plasma membrane in plant cells where several players are recruited in a highly specific order. Following the recruitment of early adaptor proteins which recognize transmembrane cargo proteins such as receptors and channels destined for internalization, endocytosis progresses through the formation and fission of a coated pit, allowing the physical internalization of these membrane proteins together with ligands and lipids.
Our cell biological and structural approaches aim to identify and elucidate the recruitment of the endocytic players at the PM, largely focusing on the TPLATE adaptor complex (Gadeyne et al., 2014), to map interactions among the players and to investigate how cargo is being recognized.