Our research group is mainly involved in the studies of the metabolism and physiological functions of growth regulators, polyamines and phenolic compounds in plants. We investigate the role of these biologically active compounds in plant development and in the response of plants to abiotic stresses.
In our experiments we use the diverse plant systems from the whole plants to the cell cultures. Our research is primarily focused on somatic embryogenesis of conifers. In the scope of this theme we study the regulation of somatic embryo development, the role of phytohormones in somatic embryogenesis and the effects of abiotic stresses on somatic embryos.
We use a wide array of approaches:
Microscopy – light, confocal and electron microscopy, enhanced by advanced computer image analysis
Biochemical methods – studies of activities of enzymes involved in metabolism of biologically active compounds (e.g. radiometry)
Molecular biology methods – specific gene expressions, and transformation of tissue cultures
Analytical methods – qualitative and quantitative determination of biologically active compounds by gas- and liquid chromatography in tandem with mass spectroscopic detection (cooperation with the IEB Laboratory of mass spectrometry).
Unbiased estimation of the proportion of non-embryogenic cell clusters in the somatic embryogenic culture of Douglas-fir
Embryogenic cultures of Douglas-fir were induced from immature zygotic embryos. They proliferate as embryonal masses, however, in some lines of Douglas-fir, non-embryogenic cell (NECs) clusters interspersed with early somatic embryos (SEs) were observed. In order to evaluate the differences between lines we wanted to quantify the proportion of the SEs and NECs in the embryonal mass. For estimation of this proportion (volume density) we used stereological point-counting method based on counting points of the test grid falling in the tissue under study.