The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS)

2 Plant Science NWO ENW-M projects awarded

Functional dissection of transcription factor phase separation in plant hormone response

Dr. Jan Willem Borst (WUR)
Auxin transcription factors are involved in the regulation of plant growth and these proteins contain intrinsically disordered domains. These domains are able to undergo liquid-liquid phase separation and form biomolecular condensates. Until now it is unclear what the role of protein phase separation is on plant development. In this project, we investigate the physiological role of condensate formation of a complete, evolutionary conserved transcription family in Marchantia polymorpha. Using in vivo biochemical, biophysical and cell biology approaches, we aim to uncover the properties of intrinsically disordered protein domains of transcription factors and to unravel the role of phase separation in biological processes.

Natural selection on butterfly sex scents by egg parasitoids and implications for biological control

Dr. Nina Fatouros (WUR)
Many insects use chemical signals to communicate between sexes. Some male butterflies transfer to females a perfume during sex, making their partners unattractive to competitors and ensuring their paternity. These perfumes are prone to spying by natural enemies that kill butterfly eggs. We want to understand the evolution of the butterflies’ perfume and the role of the natural enemies, minute parasitic wasps, therein. The studied butterflies can be pests of cabbage crops. In this project we aim to use the knowledge gained on butterfly scent utilization by parasitic wasps to improve their efficiency as biocontrol agents in open fields.


All awarded proposals can be viewed on the NWO website: