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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.

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icoontje TPLATE complexEndocytosis controls cellular perception of the outside world but how this is regulated in plants remains largely unknown. Moreover, recent evidence shows that plants, in contrast to other Kingdoms, have retained an evolutionary ancient mechanism that controls this process. Gaining mechanistic insight into endocytosis in plants is an essential step towards being able to modulate plant signaling pathways and towards understanding the evolution of eukaryotic membrane trafficking mechanisms.

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comparison WT vs aur double LR first divisionsPlant Aurora kinases are divided in two families, the Alpha and Beta type Auroras (Demidov et al., 2005). Whereas the Beta type Aurora of Arabidopsis localizes to centromeric regions, both Alpha type Auroras associate with the prophase spindle, kinetochore fibers during metaphase and anaphase and accumulate at the forming cell plate during cytokinesis, both in tobacco BY-2 cells as in Arabidopsis root cells.

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Selection of confocal movies from previous and current research projects. If you are unable to play the movie, you need to enable Flash in your browser (click in front of the URL on the lock for Chrome or the 'battery' for Firefox).

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People interested in joining the group to work on a PhD project are always welcome to contact us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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