Lucie Schröder, first author of “The photosynthesis apparatus of European mistletoe (Viscum album)”
PhD student, Institute of Plant Genetics, Leibniz University Hannover
BSc and MSc in Plant Biotechnology, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
Non-scientific Interests: plants, travelling, gaming
After completing my BSc degree, I started a research project in the Plant Biochemistry laboratory of Hans-Peter Braun. The department’s research is mainly related to the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana; however, a new project at that time was related to the semi-parasitic flowering plant Viscum album (European Mistletoe), which grows on numerous trees in Europe. There were indications that the metabolism of this plant, which is used as an ornamental plant and source for the extraction of active substances but otherwise little studied, is very unusual. Hans-Peter Braun’s department was able to show at the time that the respiratory chain of V. album is reduced and that the mitochondria consequently produce only limited amounts of ATP. I was able to contribute to this project. As part of my doctoral thesis, I decided to further investigate the unusual energy metabolism of V. album. If the mitochondria only provide little ATP, could the missing ATP perhaps be produced by the chloroplasts? The results of this project are included in our current publication. We show that the chloroplasts also have only limited possibilities to produce ATP and propose a new view of the metabolism of mistletoe, according to which the supply of this plant must be ensured to a much greater extent by the host plant than was previously assumed. How exactly this works, however, still needs to be investigated further. In the meantime, I am very fascinated by this plant and hope to make further contributions to clarifying its way of life.