Christian Hardtke


Brassinosteroid venture increasing students international mobility

Domaine: Poeple ITN


Durée: 01.09.2008 – 31.08.2012

Budget total: 1.950.000 EUR

Budget UNIL: 230.418 EUR


Christian Hardtke, Département de biologie moléculaire végétale, FBM



A future challenge for the European agriculture is to satisfy the growing demands for food in a sustainable manner. Understanding the basic mechanics of plant growth will ultimately lead to our ability to increase yield, while decreasing the need for fertilizer and pesticides. Plant growth is regulated by developmental programmes that can be modified by environmental cues acting through endogenous signalling molecules such as plant hormones. Brassinosteroids (BRs) are the growth-promoting polyhydroxylated steroid hormones of plants.

BRs are implicated in multiple developmental processes and as such they determine important agronomic traits including biomass, crop yield, and stress and pathogen adaptation. In addition to the well-elucidated BR biosynthetic pathway, during the past decade a significant progress led to the identification of multiple BR signalling components. Despite this key issues remained unsolved. It is still unclear how BRs control growth, how the levels of BRs change throughout development and in response to environment and how different hormonal pathways interact within cells. It is still unknown if different signalling pathways mediated other non BRs effects and how the redundancy in BR signalling components fine tunes the pleiotropic action of those hormones.