Interfering peptides (iPs) have been recognized as valuable substances to specifically target protein–protein interactions (PPIs) in biochemistry, chemical biology and pharmacology. Today, more than 200 peptide or peptide-based drugs have been introduced to the market for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Although the concept of iPs has been validated for several PPIs in medical and pharmaceutical research, little attention so far has been paid to the enormous potential iPs may provide to target and control plant growth and developmental processes such as biomass production or seed development in agricultural crops. Sequence alignments and structural analyses of Pyruvate-Phosphate-Dikinase (PPDK) - a key photosynthetic enzyme - have identified specific peptides bearing the potential to selectively block PPDK catalytic activity and related photosynthetic biomass production. As this enzyme is pivotal for worldwide worst weeds, but not for most crop plants - which employ a different photosynthetic pathway for their biomass production - these peptides may offer selective crop protection thereby enhancing global food security. Hence, the project aims at contributing to the development of biological herbicidal active substances for eco-friendly crop protection.
Dr. Alexander Minges
Biochemical Plant Physiology
Prof. Dr. Georg Groth, Biochemical Plant Physiology, HHU Düsseldorf
Prof. Dr. Laura Hartmann, Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry, HHU Düsseldorf
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schwaneberg, ABBt - Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen
01.10.2023 - 30.09.2025
InterPepHerb is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.