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Portrait von Shizue Matsubara

Dr. Shizue Matsubara

Senior Researcher

Head of Sub Group "Regulation of photoacclimation and carotenoid biosynthesis"

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Being photosynthetic, plants show a range of physiological, morphological and developmental responses to their growth light environments. These responses, which are triggered by changes in the intensity and/or quality (spectral composition) of light, can be observed at different levels ― from gene expression, enzyme activity and metabolite composition to cell growth, organ morphology and plant architecture. Together, these responses are thought to confer a fitness advantage in changing environments.

I study plant responses to changing light, in particular those that are expressed under excess light stress. Excess light occurs in most plant habitats. For example, when the sunlight suddenly breaks through the clouds or when leaves tremble as the wind blows through trees and branches. Growth limitation under stress conditions, such as low and high temperature, drought, nutrient deficiency or disease infection, also causes excess light even under a moderate light intensity because a substantial part of absorbed light energy cannot be utilized for CO2 assimilation and growth.

Recent projects in my group are focused on long-term responses (acclimation) to excess light. While exposing plants to dynamically fluctuating growth light conditions, we perform quantitative phenotyping in plants by combining non-invasive and invasive methods to investigate key components and pathways of excess light acclimation. Non-invasive and minimally invasive approaches allow us to continuously monitor reactions under changing environments. Some of these methods also deliver information about spatial distribution of the reaction (imaging). Guided by these phenotypic data, plant materials are sampled for invasive assays to identify molecules which characterize or give rise to the phenotype. Besides standard laboratory equipment for chemical, biochemical and molecular biological analyses, we use carbon isotope labeling to study turnover of specific compounds (e.g. carotenoids, chlorophylls, tocopherols) and metabolic pathway interactions during acclimation.

Non-invasive and minimally invasive methods used in my group include:

  • Leaf growth analysis (2D, 3D )
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence analysis (PAM, LIFT)
  • Hyperspectral analysis (HyperLab )
  • Bioluminescence assay
  • Confocal microscopy

Current PhD projects in the group:

Anh Banh

Maria Paola Puggioni (iGRAD-Plant )


Forschungszentrum Jülich, IBG-2
52428 Jülich


Phone: +49 2461 61-8690
Fax: +49 2461 61-2492