Recognizing The Plant Cell author Henryk Straube

Henryk Straube, first author of Enhanced nucleotide analysis enables the quantification of deoxynucleotides in plants revealing connections between nucleoside and deoxynucleoside metabolism

Current Position: PhD student, Department of Molecular Nutrition and Biochemistry of Plants, Institute of Plant Nutrition, Leibniz University Hannover

Education: M.Sc. in Plant Biotechnology, Leibniz University Hannover

Non-scientific Interests: Music, reading and politics

Brief bio: In 2018 I received my master degree in plant biotechnology. My project involved the characterization of protein-protein interactions in mitochondria of Arabidopsis by complexome profiling thereby elucidating the association of RNA-editing factors to plant mitochondrial ribosomes. Subsequently I joined the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Claus-Peter Witte at the Leibniz University of Hannover in late 2018 as a PhD candidate. Here I started developing methods for metabolite extraction and sample preparation regarding deoxynucleotide/nucleoside analysis in plants with liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. We quantified deoxynucleotides in plants and were able to show a connection not only between the amounts of ‘G’ and ‘C’ dNTPs in free pools with the GC-content in DNA, but also showed that there is a complex interplay between degradation, salvage and de-novo biosynthesis of nucleotides. It was quite fascinating to me how a newly developed method can help to gain insights into almost uncharted territory. In the remaining time of my PhD I will try to further establish the sensitive analysis of metabolites to detect modified or damaged nucleotides and characterize enzymes that metabolize them.