Physiological effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on plant cells
Junior Research Group of Dr. Lars H. Wegner
The 'Shared Research Group' (SRG) 60-1
This shared research group emanates from a co-operation of the Botanical Institute I (Karlsruhe University) and of the Department of Pulsed Power and Microwave Technology (IHM; Karlsruhe Research Center); it deals with the effects of pulsed electric fields on plants and plant cells. Cells are enclosed by a lipid membrane that serves as a diffusion barrier, separating the cell interior from its environment. By exposing cells to high-energy electric field pulses this membrane can be made transiently permeable to introduce macromolecules like DNA into these cells (so-called “electroporation”). Basic research on plant cells is performed in order to make this process more efficient.
The techniques we use:
Plant cell culture
Pulsed power equipment, “electroporator”
Patch clamp technique
Voltage-sensitive dyes to measure plant
Confocal fluorescent microscopy
Our current projects:
Calibration of voltage-sensitive dyes by combining fluorescent microscopy and patch clamp; test for adverse side effects of the dye on cell physiology (e.g. on ion channel activity).
Macromolecules labelled with a fluorescent dye are used as a tool to study electroporation.
Application of the patch clamp technique to plant (cell) physiology (interaction with pathogens, salt tolerance).
Design of a new, gentle technology to measure current-voltage relations of plant cells and yeast by combining optical and electrical methods.