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Master Plant Sciences ( Biologie Végétale )

Detailed Bonn’s programme

All students join the Master Plant Sciences from Bonn (Germany) for the summer semester 1 (M1-S2). Due to the changement to faculty members, the program in Bonn is modified.

The student will complete his/her curriculum with three LAB Courses :

* chosen in three different blocks (Block 1, Block 2 or Block 3)

* AND combining at least, two different disciplinary approaches among four (designed as A, B, C, D).

For example, student can choose: BLOCK-1-A, BLOCK-2-B and BLOCK-3 (A,B,C,D) but not BLOCK-1-A, BLOCK-2-A and BLOCK-3-A.

One Block could be exchanged with an internship in a laboratory (see partner institutes below). In this case, the internship covers 6 weeks, full time, and it counts for 10 ects for your curriculum.

Your personnal choice of BLOCKS, and the internship (if it is the case), should be agreed by Dr Rochus FRANCKE (studies director of the Master Plant Sciences from Bonn). This pedagogical agreement should be discussed for October, 15th (before your departure in April, next year). Then, you will have to register online to state your learning pedagogical agreement before November, 1st. The application form will be printed out, sent by mail and signed by Dr Jörg Hohfeld (Erasmus contact for the german Biology Department). Therefore, you will be planned on the Erasmus incoming student list, when you will arrive in April, in Bonn (for the welcome week).


Typical curriculum from a student in 2015-2016 (Cell Biology and Physiology profile in Bachelor, from Lille1):

* First time frame : Lab Course: Plant Development and Communication (10 ects)

* Second time frame: Lab Course: Plant Proteomics (10 ects)

* Third time frame: Free choice unit: Internship in an approved laboratory in Bonn (6 weeks, full time), IMBIO (Prof D Bartels).

One time frame = 5-6 weeks


The internship could be done at:

- the IMBIO (Plant Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology), IZMB (Institute for Plant Cell and Molecular Biology), NEES (Institute for Plant Biodiversity), Steinmann Institute (Steinmann Institute for Paleobotany), IFMB (Institute for Microbiology and Biotechnology)

- Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding at Köln (40 km from Bonn), department of plant development (Prof G Coupland), department of Plant Breeding and Genetics (Prof M Koorneef), department of plant-microbe interaction (Prof M Schulze-Lefert), department of Comparative Development and Genetics (Prof M Tsiantis).


For 2015-2016, the summer semester starts on 11th, April 2016 to 27th, July 2016. A meeting with all M1 students is scheduled on 4th, April week.


LAB course, Block1


A- Plant Molecular Stress Physiology (10 ects) : Plants respond to adverse environments with a specific gene expression programme. The stress responsive genes allow the plants to adapt and /or to tolerate the stress situation. Model plants showing extreme stress tolerance and A. thaliana will be used to analyse and to understand the changes which take place during abiotic environmental stress conditions. During the course the students will investigate stress responses on the transcriptional and translational level as well as analyse regulatory sequences involved in stress specific gene expression.

B-Plant Development and Communication (10 ects): Elongated plant cells assemble into lengthy cell files via their end-poles: adhesive domains enriched with pectins and traversed by abundant primary plasmodesmata. Complex interactions between the actin cytoskeleton and vesicle recycling characterize this synaptic communication along cell files. Individual cell files interact laterally at pectin/callose enriched pit-fields encompassing secondary plasmodesmata to form three-dimensionalplant tissues. Recent data identified myosin VIII and plant synaptotagmins as the most critical molecules which organize these plant synapses transporting auxin from cell-to-cell. Auxin regulates morphogenesis and development of plant organs such as roots. On the example of root apices, the basic processes driving plant organogenesis including gravity- related processes will be analysed and general conclusion will be extracted and discussed.

C- Molecular Evolution and Phylogeny (10 ects): The lab course will deal with the phylogenetic information stored over 500 million years of land plant evolution, stored in the genomes of living plants. Molecular techniques, mainly DNA and RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, PCR amplification, cloning and sequencing and computer programs for database analyses and molecular phylogenetic constructions will be used to retrieve this information. Taxonwise, a focus will be the extant representatives of lower land plants, the bryophytes, lycophytes and monilophytes and locuswise a focus will be the mitochondrial DNA of plants with its peculiar mechanisms of gene expression such as RNA editing and trans-splicing.


LAB Course, Block 2

A- Plant Molecular Cell Physiology and Biotechnology (10 ects)The lab course includes modern techniques of biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics employing the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. In this course, we will work on mutant lines of Arabidopsis deficient in specific steps of lipid or carbohydrate metabolism. The mutant lines which are derived from ongoing research projects will be biochemically characterized employing different analytical methods (thin-layer chromatography, HPLC, GC-MS, CE). Mutations derived from chemical mutagenesis will be mapped to the Arabidopsis genome using different PCR based markers (CAPS, SSLP).

B- Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions (10 ects): During this course, student will explore Agrobacterium'a ability to cause disease and genetically engineer plants. The molecular interaction betwwen Agrobacterium  and plant cell will be investigated and compared to other bacterial pathogens such as Pseudomonas.

C- Physiology of Nutrient Uptake and Translocation (10 ects): Pathway of nutrient uptake and translocation within the plant (root and foliar uptake), transport mechanisms at the membrane level: ATPases and reductases as driving forces for solute uptake, carriers channels, co-transporters, endocytosis.

D- Paleobotany and Palynology (10 ects): Palaeobotany and palynology play a fundamental role to understand the evolution of plants from the earliest forms to the the development of our present flora. Based on fossil material the plant evolution will be placed in the context of time, climate change and mass extinction. The course focusses on periods when major evolutionary changes occurred and addresses the rates and timing of the evolutionary change seen in the plant fossil records. Aims include to develop skills in (1) morphological analysis of fossil plants, (2) introduction into the pollen morphology and pollen analysis (3) using SEM and Confocal Laser-Scanning Microscop (4) evaluation of palaeobotanical data in comparison with current research on ancient DNA and other biomolecular markers.

D- Plant Biodiversity- Systematics and Biology of Flowering Plants (10 ects): The course gives an overview on the systematics, morphology, and biology (e.g., floral biology) of (vascular) plants based mainly on living material from the botanic garden, as well as on herbarium material. Methods for the documentation and analysis of plant diversity from the field of morphology, taxonomy, and, e.g., floral biology are taught.


LAB Course, Block 3

A- Plant Proteomics (10 ects)After the complete genome of Arabidopsis thaliana has been sequenced, the research interests are directed towards the functional analysis of the expressed genes. An important contribution towards the functional analysis is expected from protein analysis. This course will give an introduction into the different aspects of functional protein analysis. Proteinswill be purified from different plant tissues and will be biochemically characterized. Proteins will be separated in one and two dimensional electrophoresis. Immunological protein detection assays will be performed as well as enzymatic reactions. Proteins will be expressed in E. coli, purified and their activities will be characterized in vitro.

B- Plant Cell Dynamics (10 ects): Cell shape and tissue-specific cellular functions are highly depend on dynamic interactions  between the cytoskeleton, the endomembrane system and the cell wall. Recent advances in confocal microscopy, digital image processing and recombinant fluorescent reporter protein design have created powerful tools to obtain live images of specific cell structures and molecular components in 3D data sets. With these tools the structure and fate of molecular cell components can be analysed over time in the context of cellular morphogenesis and differentiation in wild type and mutant plant lines and in cell culture. Likewise, the reaction of cells and tissues to external stimuli and challenges by stress and pathogen attack can be followed in great detail.

C- Plant and Environment: Molecular Ecology (10 ects):  In the lab course relevant examples of plant environment interactions on the molecular level will be studied. Arabidopsis thaliana will mostly be used as a model organism. Experiments will deal with water and salt stress, effects of xenobiotics on plants, plant micro organism interaction and secondary plant metabolites. Experimental approaches include measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence, porometry, measurement of cuticular transpiration and uptake of xenobiotics in leaves, chemical analytics and analysis of gene expression in response to environmental stimuli.

D- Genome analysis in Plant Breeding (10 ects): The genome analysis in plant breeding is focused on the molecular analysis of inheritable traits in crop plants. The field is located at the junction between classical plant breeding and the relatively recent field of molecular biology. The aims are to improve varieties by means of molecular marker techniques. DNA markers are short DNA sequences, which are inheritable and can be characterized in the laboratory. DNA markers are inherited like Mendelian factors and enable the breeders to understand the genetic architecture of each individual in a segregating population. Applications of DNA markers in plant breeding are numerous. During the course of the lecture, (1) the generation of linkage maps, (2) the detection and selection of favorable genes for monogenic and polygenic, i.e. quantita-tive, traits, (3) the marker-assisted selection of favorable genotypes, (4) the identification and differentiation of varieties and (5) the isolation and utilization of new genes in plant breeding, e.g for pathogen resistance, will be presented.


Complete program of the Master Plant Sciences from Bonn (Germany), click here