Glycosylation is one of the fundamental processes of life. The addition of sugars onto proteins or lipids and building complex sugar chains is essential for many biological processes. For plants, this is particularly important since diverse sugars connected through many different linkages make up the plant cell wall. The cell wall is a structure that surrounds each cell and plays key roles in plant growth, mechanical integrity and defense. The assembly of these intricate walls, as well as the addition of glycan structures onto glycoproteins and membrane lipids, seems to be precisely organised and is critical for life and survival. However many players involved in these processes remain poorly understood.
The Ebert lab aims to understand the mechanisms that drive the controlled assembly of sugars within the secretory pathway for that we combine cell biology, biochemistry, molecular genetics and evolution with advanced microscopy and mass spectrometry.
Some of the biological questions we want to answer are how sugar substrates are supplied to the luminal pathways and what drives the continual and active interchange between the cytosol and cellular organelles? How are complex sugar structures and macromolecules assembled and what are the underpinning mechanisms defining these processes? We are also particularly interested how these processes are regulated under changing and challenging environmental conditions.