Que hacemos

Bienvenído en el Nick-Lab

Biología Celular Molecular (Prof. Dr. Peter Nick)

Fritz-Haber-Weg, Gbd. 30.43 (Torre de Biología), 5. suelo. e-mail. Como encontrarnos


Interview in Biospektrum




la revista con más tradición de biologá celular (Springer-Nature). Nos otros la publicamos. màs...


Peptide Hormones in Plants

Peptide hormones in animals are well known - famous examples are insulin or oxytocin. They are often cleaved from inactive precursors by specific protease cleavage. In plants, peptides as signals have been ignored over many decades. One reason may be that peptides were thought to be incompatible as signals for the walled plant cells. Moreover, it is difficult to predict from genomic information, whether a short Open Reading Frame is actually coding for a peptide, or whether it is not expressed. Prof. Andreas Schaller, University Hohenheim, is worldwide one of the pioneers of plant peptide hormones and will give an update on the role of plant peptide hormones for the defence against pathogens, but also as signals steering the plant development.

June 26, 2023: Prof. Dr. Andreas Schaller, Host: AG Nick Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Hohenheim University The making of peptides as regulators of plant development and defense.

For those that cannot attend in person, but want to listen, there will be a ZOOM Link.


The Origin of Grapevine

Four years of hard work, almost 4000 genomes - the fruit of this effort has now been published in Science. The Wild Grapevine Collection of the KIT had an important role here. It could be shown that Grapevine was domesticated twice independently, once in the Caucasus to produce wine, a second time in the Near East to get table grapes. During its migration to the West, there were numerous love affairs with local wild grapevines, giving rise to the large diversity of grapevines. This project joined people from 16 countries, despite sometimes difficult political circumstances and allows a deep look into the complex history of this crop plant that not only founded civilisations, but was also one of the first globally traded goods, breaching the borders of geography, language, and religion. The treasure of knowledge generated in this project has not even been scratched - during the time, when grapevine, by an interplay between climatic disruptions and human migration, conquered many regions, it collected genes that help to cope with adverse conditions. These genes can help now to safeguard viticulture against the consequences of climate change - this is exactly, what we do now in our Interreg Upper Rhine project Kliwiresse.

Science article

Interview with the Washington Post

Press release by the KIT

Youtube on the impact of the project for the region

Rice for Climate Change

Climate Change is already affecting food security. This is not only due to drought, but also other challenges, such as the increasing salinity of soils, when sea levels rise. Especially in the coastal rice production areas in Egypt, Bangladesh, or Vietnam, this has become a pertinent problem. Dr. Michael Riemann, who is heading our Plant Stress unit, investigates, therefore, which role jasmonates play in this respect, the plant version of adrenalin. He discovered, that, surprisingly, not only the formation of jasmonates, but also their decay plays an eminent role for stress resilience. For this research, especially the cooperation with Dr. Thierry Heitz at the IBMP in Strasbourg was central (funded, among others, by EUCOR), but also other partners in Germany and worldwide. Dr. Riemann has, therefore, installed the German Rice Research Network to coordinate the research on climate resilience in this central food crop. More in a broadcast by the CAMPUS-RADIO.


The Root is in the Flower

Simultaneously with the renaming of the Botanical Institute into Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter Institute for Plant Sciences, a new flower ecology course headed by Dr. Heiko Hentrich is offered. This links the plant sciences in Karlsruhe to the roots of their founderfather, J.G. Kölreuters, whose name is linked with this research on plant sexuality. The current flower ecology course represents an introduction into the field and is subdivided into two parts. The first part took place in March and deals with the theoretical foundations of flower ecology. In June, the second part will address real-world examples at the JKIP Experimental Station. It is planned to offer this course every year as part of the teaching portfolio.






 Il nuevo "Strasburger"

127 years ago Eduard Strasburger founded the textbook of botany, which appeared now in the 38. edition - this makes the "Strasburger" the biology textbook with the longest history. Peter Nick contributed a couple of 100 pages to the topics structure and function of the plant body and plant development. The "Strasburger" pursues the goal to depict the entire knowledge on plants, comprehensively, up-to-date, and at the same time filtered. Even though it had never been easier to acquire information, the problem is progressively to filter relevant from irrelevant. Textbooks are, therefore, not outdated, but more important than ever. more...


The State Teaching Award 2015 was given to Peter Nick and Mathias Gutmann. The money was used to found the Forum. Beyond faculties and disciplines, we debate here on controversial topics.

The topic in the Summer Term 2023: "What is Truth". more...


Tue, June 20, 2023, 15:45, Großer Saal im GDH Geb. 01.52: Prof. Dr. Olaf Müller (Humboldt-Universität Berlin): Wahrheit aus neopragmatischer Sicht.


Tumour Drug From a Living Fossil

The Hainan Head Yew (Cephalotaxus hainanensis) is a living fossil that has survived only on the Chinese island Hainin. In the resin ducts of its barks, the valuable harringtonine accumulates, so far the most potent mean against leucemia. The few remaining specimens of this precious tree must be guarded to prevent that the costly bark is stolen, because the bark is traded with eight times the price of gold. In a cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agriculture the first part of harringtonine formation could be elucidated. This is now published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of the USA (PNAS). A core finding of this work were the results from Dr. Huapeng Sun, who, during a two year research stay at the KIT, funded by the Helmholtz-OCPC programme, succeeded to identify the decisive enzyme, which forms the template for harringtonins. This paves the way for rebuilding the pathway biotechnologically in tobacco cells. Biotechnology might help, therefore, to rescue this tree from extinction.Broadcast in the Campus Radio. Summary in the National Geographic




Qué hay Nuevo? How Climate Stress Sickens Plants

Esca & Co is actually a stress-induced disease. The responsible fungi can live in the wood for many years without causing symptoms. However, when plants are exposed to climate stress they kill their host. The outbreak of Esca & Co is, therefore, steered by chemical signals. In a cooperation between the Institute for Biologically Active Compounds (IBWF) in Kaiserslautern we succeeded to clear up two of these signals. Under stress, ferulic acid accumulates in the wood of the grapevine trunk, because this precursor of lignin cannot be any longer converted. The fungus Neofusicoccum parvum has "learnt", to sense ferulic acid as signal for the ensuing crisis of its host and to respond by secretion of Fusicoccin A. Also Fusicoccin A is a signal. It evokes in grapevine programmed cell death, a type of cellular suicide that is actually meant for defence against biotrophic pathogens. We succeeded now to elucidate this sophisticated manipulation by chemical signals and publish this in the journal Plant Cell & Environment.

Khattab I, Fischer J, Kazmierczak A, Thines E, Nick P (2022) Hunting the plant surrender signal activating apoplexy in grapevines after Neofusicoccum parvum infection. Plant Cell Environment doi.org/10.1111/pce.14468 - pdf





Qué hay Nuevo? Bioherbicida de Menta


We need plant protection, but our herbicides challenge the environment, poison the groundwater, and cause collateral damage to harmless or even beneficial organisms. We need more specificity. This is possible - all living beings use numerous signals to influence others for their own sake. Can we use this? That is what we did: Mints are very competitive and smell quite differently, depending on the species. We found that these scents are signals, by which they persuade other plants into suicide. For Horsemint we have investigated this in detail and developed on the base of this knowledge an application, by which we can suppress Bindweed, a pertinent problem in organic cereal production.


195. Sarheed M, Schärer HJ, Wang-Müller QY, Flury P, Maes C, Genva M, Fauconnier ML, Nick P (2023) Signal, not poison – Horsemint essential oil for weed control. Agriculture 13, 712 - pdf




Lo que investigamos

Leben ist nicht einfach. Es gibt zwei Wege, das zu meistern – Tiere rennen davon, Pflanzen passen sich an. Wir wollen verstehen, wie. Der Schlüssel sind pflanzliche Zellen, denn sie vermitteln Gestalt, Anpassung und die enorme Vielfalt der Pflanzen.
Evolution löst Probleme nachhaltig, auf vielfältige Weise. Können wir diese Vielfalt nutzen? mehr... Amaranth, das Superfood der Inka, als funktionelles Nahrungsmittel. Wir versuchen, Den Gehalt an Omega-3-Fettsäuren zu erhöhen, um eine vegane Alternative für Seefisch zu entwickeln (EU-CORNET, 2020-2022). mehr...
Pflanzen sind Meister der Anpassung. Wie meistern sie Stress? mehr.. Ökosystem auf dem Chip für nachhaltigen Pflanzenschutz (Interreg Wissenschaftsoffensive, 2019-2022). mehr...
Pflanzenzellen können Selbstorganisation. Wie geht das? mehr... Kälteresistenz von Erdbeeren (BMBF, 2018-2020)