The MPI-MP investigates metabolic and molecular processes in cells, tissues, organs and whole plants. The overall goal is to understand how growth and metabolism are regulated, to learn how they respond to environmental factors, and to unravel genetic factors that underlie these processes and responses. To achieve this, it is not only necessary to understand the functions of individual genes, but also the molecular details of individual processes like the uptake of nutrients, the structure, storage, transport and mobilization of plant components, and the regulation of individual processes. It is also essential to learn how these different processes interact in networks, and to develop approaches that provide quantitative information and a predictive understanding of these complex networks. Whilst the work of the institute was initially focused largely on the model plant Arabidopsis it has expanded to also cover the study of a range of Solanaceous and leguminous species as well as the major food cereals rice, maize, wheat and barley.
Role in PRO-GRACE
In PRO-GRACE, the MPI-MP is responsible for the organization and (at least in part) the population of metabolomic databases aligned to the genebank databases. The Fernie and Alseekh groups at the MPI-MP run a suite of metabolomics platforms capable of detecting over 1,000 annotated metabolites and many thousand metabolic features covering primary metabolites, lipids and specialized metabolites. They have amassed many years of experience in evaluating the metabolite contents of a broad range of model and crop species and are now largely focused on the study of the natural variance of crops and crop wild relatives. Within PRO-GRACE they, alongside other project members, will establish common protocols for metabolic phenotyping and databasing of the acquired data such that they will be available following FAIR principles.