Prof. Dr. Peter Westhoff

Research focus

We are studying the molecular evolution of C4 photosynthesis and use the dicotyledonous genus Flaveria as our model system. We are aiming to identify the changes, at the molecular level, that were required to evolve the C4-specific gene regulatory systems and enzymes. Our current interest focuses on the genetic basis of C4 leaf anatomy and particularly of bundle-sheath ontogeny. We would like to use this knowledge for the genetic engineering of C4 rice.

The ten most important publications

  1. Schulze S, Westhoff P & Gowik U (2016): Glycine decarboxylase in C3, C4 and C3-C4 intermediate species. Curr Opin Plant Biol 31: 29-36.
  2. Mallmann J, Heckmann D, Bräutigam A, Lercher MJ, Weber APM, Westhoff P & Gowik U (2014): The role of photorespiration during the evolution of C4 photosynthesis in the genus Flaveria. eLife 3: e02478.
  3. Heckmann D, Schulze S, Denton A, Gowik U, Westhoff P, Weber APM & Lercher MJ (2013): Predicting C4 photosynthesis evolution: modular, individually adaptive steps on a Mount Fuji fitness landscape. Cell 153: 1579–1588.
  4. Schulze S, Mallmann J, Burscheidt J, Koczor M, Streubel M, Bauwe H, Gowik U & Westhoff P (2013): Evolution of C4 photosynthesis in the genus Flaveria - establishment of a photorespiratory CO2 pump. Plant Cell 25: 2522-2535.
  5. Gowik U, Bräutigam A, Weber KL, Weber APM & Westhoff P (2011): Evolution of C4 photosynthesis in the genus Flaveria - how many and which genes does it take to make C4? Plant Cell 23: 2087-2105.
  6. Gowik U & Westhoff P (2011): The path from C3 to C4 photosynthesis. Plant Physiol 155: 56-63.
  7. Furumoto T, Yamaguchi T, Ohshima-Ichie Y, Nakamura M, Iwata Y, Shimamura M, Ohnishi J, Hata S, Gowik U, Westhoff P, Bräutigam A, Weber APM & Izui K (2011): Identification of a plastidial sodium-dependent pyruvate transporter. Nature 476: 472-475.
  8. Paterson AH, Bowers JE, Bruggmann R, Dubchak I, Grimwood J, Gundlach H, Haberer G, Hellsten U, Mitros TA, Poliakov A, Schmutz J, Spannagl M, Tang H, Wang X, Wicker T, Bharti AK, Chapman J, Feltus FA, Gowik U, Grigoriev IV, Lyons E, Maher CA, Martis M, Narechania A, Otillar RP, Penning BW, Salamov AA, Wang Y, Zhang L, Carpita NC, Freeling M, Gingle AR, Hash CT, Keller B, Klein P, Kresovich S, McCann MC, Ming R, Peterson DG, Rahman M, Ware D, Westhoff P, Mayer KFX, Messing J & Rokhsar DS (2009): The Sorghum bicolor genome and the diversification of grasses. Nature 457: 451-456.
  9. Akyildiz M, Gowik U, Engelmann, S. Koczot M, Streubel M & Westhoff P (2007): Evolution and function of a cis-regulatory module for mesophyll-specific gene expression in the C4 dicot Flaveria trinervia. Plant Cell 19: 3391–3402.
  10. Schult K, Meierhoff K, Paradies S, Töller T, Wolff P & Westhoff P (2007): The nuclear-encoded factor HCF173 is involved in the initiation of translation of the psbA mRNA in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell 19: 1329-1346
Prof. Dr. Peter Westhoff
CEPLAS Peter Westhoff


 +49 211 81-12338

Institute of Plant Molecular and Developmental Biology
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Universitätsstraße 1

40225 Düsseldorf

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich