prof. dietrich ober

Biochemical Ecology and Molecular Evolution

The group Biochemical Ecology & Molecular Evolution studies a specific product of plant secondary metabolism: the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, toxins produced by plants as defense against herbivores. In Germany and, specifically, in the Schleswig-Holstein, these toxins are well-known as they occur on Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) and might be dangerous for cattle if they become part of hay. Also in honey these toxins are occasionally detectable. Until today, it is not understood, how these compounds are produced by the plants. This is a central research topic of the group. Further projects cover the fascinating adaptations of specific insects to these toxins. Also, the evolution of the genes that enable the plants to produce pyrrolizidine alkaloids are studied.

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Prof. Dietrich Ober

Kiel University

Tel.: +49 (0) 431-880-4299

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Selected Publications

  • Kaltenegger, E., Ober, D. (2015). Paralogue interference affects the dynamics after gene duplication. Trends in Plant Science, 20: 814-821.
  • Sievert, C., Beuerle, T., Hollmann, J., Ober, D. (2015). Single cell subtractive transcriptomics for identification of cell-specifically expressed candidate genes of pyrrolizidine alkaloid biosynthesis. Phytochemistry, 117: 17-24.
  • Irmer, S., Podzun, N., Langel, D., Heidemann, F., Kaltenegger, E., Schemmerling, B., Geilfus, C.-M., Zörb, C., Ober, D. (2015). A new aspect of plant-rhizobia interaction - alkaloid biosynthesis in Crotalaria depends on nodulation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 112: 4164-4169.
  • Kaltenegger, E., Eich, E., Ober, D. (2013). Evolution of homospermidine synthase in the Convolvulaceae – a story of gene duplication, gene loss, and periods of various selection pressures. Plant Cell, 25: 1213-1227
  • Ober, D. (2010). Gene duplications and the time thereafter - examples from plant secondary metabolism. Plant Biology,12: 570-577.