Prof. Dr. Wolf B. Frommer

Research focus

Carbon allocation is critical for crop yield. Our group studies nutrient transport processes in plants, both regarding yield potential and yield when infected by pathogens. We use a wide range of tools to identify the key transporters, for example for carbohydrates in order to study everything from structure to function and regulation. A main tool set includes fluorescent biosensors for a wide range of small molecules, from sugars to hormones. We develop tools for monitoring the activity of proteins in vivo (in particular fluorescent transport activity sensors). We surgically engineer permissive sites in transporters that act as susceptibility factors to create robust broad-spectrum pathogen resistance in crop plants.

The ten most important publications

  1. Latorraca N., Fastman N., Venkatakrishnan A.J., Frommer W.B., Dror R. & Feng L. (2017) Mechanism of substrate translocation in an alternating access transporter. Cell169, 96-107. (PMID: 28340354).
  2. Tao Y, Cheung LS, Li S, Eom J-S, Chen L-Q, Xu Y, Perry K, Frommer WB, Feng L (2015) Structure of a eukaryotic SWEET transporter in a homotrimeric complex. Nature 527(7577):259-263.
  3. Sosso D, Luo D, Li QB, Sasse J, Yang J, Gendrot G, Suzuki M, Koch KE, McCarty DR, Chourey PS, Rogowsky PM, Ross-Ibarra J, Yang B, Frommer WB (2015) Seed filling in domesticated maize and rice depends on SWEET-mediated hexose transport. Nature Genetics 47(12):1489-1493.
  4. Chen LQ, Lin IW, Qu XQ, Sosso D, McFarlane HE, Londono A, Samuels AL, Frommer WB (2015) A cascade of sequentially expressed sucrose transporters in the seed coat and endosperm provides nutrition for the Arabidopsis embryo. The Plant Cell 27(3):607-619.
  5. Ast C, De Michele R, Kumke MU, Frommer WB (2015) Single-fluorophore membrane transport activity sensors with dual-emission read-out. eLife 4:e07113.
  6. Jones AM, Xuan Y, Xu M, Wang R-S, Ho C-H, Lalonde S, You CH, Sardi MI, Parsa SA, Smith-Valle E, Su T, Frazer KA, Pilot G, Pratelli R, Grossmann G, Acharya BR, Hu H-C, Engineer C, Villiers F, Ju C, Takeda K, Su Z, Dong Q, Assmann SM, Chen J, Kwak JM, Schroeder JI, Albert R, Rhee SY, Frommer WB (2014) Border Control-A Membrane-Linked Interactome of Arabidopsis. Science 344(6185):711-716.
  7. Jones AM, Danielson JA, Manojkumar SN, Lanquar V, Grossmann G, Frommer WB (2014) Abscisic acid dynamics in roots detected with genetically encoded FRET sensors. eLife 3:e01741.
  8. Chen LQ, Qu XQ, Hou BH, Sosso D, Osorio S, Fernie AR, Frommer WB (2012) Sucrose efflux mediated by SWEET proteins as a key step for phloem transport. Science 335(6065):207-211.
  9. Chen L-Q, Hou B-H, Lalonde S, Takanaga H, Hartung ML, Qu X-Q, Guo W-J, Kim J-G, Underwood W, Chaudhuri B, Chermak D, Antony G, White FF, Somerville SC, Mudgett MB, Frommer WB (2010) Sugar transporters for intercellular exchange and nutrition of pathogens. Nature 468(7323):527-532.
  10. Loqué D, Lalonde S, Looger LL, von Wiren N, Frommer WB (2007) A cytosolic trans-activation domain essential for ammonium uptake. Nature 446(7132):195-198.
Prof. Dr. Wolf B. Frommer


+49 211 8114826

Institute of Molecular Physiology
Heinrich Heine University

Universitätsstraße 1

40225 Düsseldorf
Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich