Expertise C. Mariani and W. Vriezen, RUN

Dept. Plant Cell Biology, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University

In tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), stress factors such as heat and dehydration are responsible for male sterility and the loss of fruit set. The molecular-physiological work (transcriptome analysis of anther/pollen development and initiation of fruit set under stressed and control conditions) clearly indicated which hormones are involved in the response to heat/dehydration stress and which genes are induced in this signal cascade. This work implicates the use of transcriptomic analyses (cDNA-AFLP& Microarrays) as well as genetics (known tomato mutants), physiology (quantification of hormones, changes of hormone levels), and genomics (use of wild tomato lines tolerant/sensitive to these stress factors).

Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet) is a wild woody weed that grows throughout Europe. Bittersweet,  grows in very dry environments  (sand dunes) as well as in wet environments (along rivers and water streams), and specially in the latter environments represents a great threat to cultivated Solanum relatives (potato) in that itself is a host resistant to the pathogens for late blight and brown rot. By AFLP analysis we were able to identify polymorphic fragments that co-segregated with the resistance phenotype, which enabled us to map the R gene in bittersweet.

In collaboration with colleagues of Plant Ecology we are investigating the development of adventitious roots which are abundantly formed in S. dulcamara when it grows under water. Although this project may be in some aspects repetitive of previous work done on Rumex, the advantage of using S. dulcamara is that it is very easily transformable using Agrobacterium, and we may be able to understand the molecular mechanisms of adventitious roots formation during flooding.



  • AFLP
  • real time PCR
  • cDNA library construction
  • microscopy (LM, EM, Fluorescence)


  • Mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF)


  • Focus on: molecular regulation of stress adaptation/tolerance
  • Research objects: Plants
  • Main research discipline: Hormone physiology, response to flooding stress

Project Topics:

  • Tolerance to heat stress in Solanum lycopersicum cultivars.
  • Pathogen resistance and adventitious root formation in Solanum dulcamara