Prof. Dr. Petra Bauer

Research focus

My research group studies molecular mechanisms for iron deficiency response regulation in plants. Our research focuses on transcription factor networks, their interactions with plant development, physiology and the environment and iron transport-related processes. Novel genes and proteins are identified through protein-protein interaction studies, comparative transcriptomics and genetic experiments. The novel gene and protein functions and biochemical characteristics are elucidated using model systems. This research provides potential to improve our understanding of iron homeostasis in crops. We can use the knowledge to design novel strategies for iron biofortification and adapt crops to novel environments that pose particular challenges to iron acquisition.

We are presently involved in international research collaborations in Africa and India to share our expertise and tools to advance the understanding of iron homeostasis in crops of the Global South, thereby catalyzing regional progress in optimizing indigenous resources.

My lab is committed to fostering collaborative and participatory science endeavors, actively involving the interested public in our research. Currently, we are spearheading a DFG-funded citizen science project centered around ecological plant genetics. Additionally, we are facilitating a student research project in partnership with start-ups, providing Bachelor's and Master's level students with the opportunity to actively engage in science communication, sharing insights about their own thesis project experience with the wider public (HHU Bürgeruniversität in der Lehre).

Most important publications

  1. Trofimov K, Gratz R, Ivanov R, Stahl Y, Bauer P, Brumbarova T (2024) FER-like iron deficiency-induced transcription factor (FIT) accumulates in nuclear condensates. J Cell Biol 223(4). doi: 10.1083/jcb.202311048.
  2. Lichtblau DM, Schwarz B, Baby D, Endres C, Sieberg C, Bauer P (2022) The Iron Deficiency-Regulated Small Protein Effector FEP3/IRON MAN1 Modulates Interaction of BRUTUS-LIKE1 With bHLH Subgroup IVc and POPEYE Transcription Factors. Front Plant Sci 13:930049. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.930049.
  3. Hornbergs J, Montag K, Loschwitz J, Mohr I, Poschmann G, Schnake A, Gratz R, Brumbarova T, Eutebach M, Angrand K, Fink-Straube C, Stuhler K, Zeier J, Hartmann L, Strodel B, Ivanov R, Bauer P (2022) SEC14-GOLD protein PATELLIN2 binds IRON-REGULATED TRANSPORTER1 linking root iron uptake to vitamin E. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1093/plphys/kiac563.
  4. Gratz R, Brumbarova T, Ivanov R, Trofimov K, Tunnermann L, Ochoa-Fernandez R, Blomeier T, Meiser J, Weidtkamp-Peters S, Zurbriggen MD, Bauer P (2020) Phospho-mutant activity assays provide evidence for alternative phospho-regulation pathways of the transcription factor FER-LIKE IRON DEFICIENCY-INDUCED TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR. New Phytol 225(1):250-267. doi: 10.1111/nph.16168.
  5. Khan I, Gratz R, Denezhkin P, Schott-Verdugo SN, Angrand K, Genders L, Basgaran RM, Fink-Straube C, Brumbarova T, Gohlke H, Bauer P, Ivanov R (2019) Calcium-Promoted Interaction between the C2-Domain Protein EHB1 and Metal Transporter IRT1 Inhibits Arabidopsis Iron Acquisition. Plant Physiol 180(3):1564-1581. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00163.
  6. Gratz R, Manishankar P, Ivanov R, Koster P, Mohr I, Trofimov K, Steinhorst L, Meiser J, Mai HJ, Drerup M, Arendt S, Holtkamp M, Karst U, Kudla J, Bauer P, Brumbarova T (2019) CIPK11-Dependent Phosphorylation Modulates FIT Activity to Promote Arabidopsis Iron Acquisition in Response to Calcium Signaling. Dev Cell 48(5):726-740 e710. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.01.006.
  7. Ivanov R, Brumbarova T, Blum A, Jantke AM, Fink-Straube C, Bauer P (2014) SORTING NEXIN1 is required for modulating the trafficking and stability of the Arabidopsis IRON-REGULATED TRANSPORTER1. Plant Cell 26(3):1294-1307. doi: 10.1105/tpc.113.116244.
  8. Schuler M, Rellan-Alvarez R, Fink-Straube C, Abadia J, Bauer P (2012) Nicotianamine functions in the Phloem-based transport of iron to sink organs, in pollen development and pollen tube growth in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 24(6):2380-2400. doi: 10.1105/tpc.112.099077.
  9. Lingam S, Mohrbacher J, Brumbarova T, Potuschak T, Fink-Straube C, Blondet E, Genschik P, Bauer P (2011) Interaction between the bHLH transcription factor FIT and ETHYLENE INSENSITIVE3/ETHYLENE INSENSITIVE3-LIKE1 reveals molecular linkage between the regulation of iron acquisition and ethylene signaling in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23(5):1815-1829. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.084715.
  10. Ling HQ, Bauer P, Bereczky Z, Keller B, Ganal M (2002) The tomato fer gene encoding a bHLH protein controls iron-uptake responses in roots. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99(21):13938-13943. doi: 10.1073/pnas.212448699.
Prof. Dr. Petra Bauer
CEPLAS Petra Bauer

+49 211 8113479

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Institute of Botany
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf