The regulation of plasmodesmata by the vesicle tethering complex exocyst

Ph.D. thesis


This Ph.D. position is available at the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences in the Laboratory of Cell Biology.

Project supervisor will be Martin Potocký, the head of the laboratory.

Application deadline: 13 March 2024

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The position is a part of the STARS program run by the Faculty of Science of the Charles University in Prague. This program provides fully funded Ph.D. positions to ensure an excellent education and an adequate income to Ph.D. students of the Faculty of Science. It aims to attract the best students from abroad, as well as from the Czech Republic.

The STARS program guarantees that the student will receive at least 20,500 CZK/month (equivalent of ca. 800 EUR/month). The actual income may exceed this amount, depending on the specific funding of each individual project.


Project description

Plasmodesmata are cell-to-cell junctions of plants, responsible for symplastic intercellular transport of metabolites, macromolecules, and signals. The biogenesis of plasmodesmata and their function is under tight developmental and regulatory control.

Despite extensive research, the role of vesicular transport in plasmodesmata remains unexplored. Recently, our laboratory identified a novel, plasmodesmata-localized module of the exocyst, the protein complex responsible for targeting secretory vesicles.

This Ph.D. project aims to uncover the spatiotemporal characteristics of this novel exocyst variant in plasmodesmata and gain a mechanistic understanding of its function, through an integrative approach utilizing wide range of microscopy, genetics, computational, and biochemical analyses.

It will unravel the exocyst role in regulating plasmodesmatal permeability during plant development and under stress conditions. During the Ph.D. project, plasmodesmata exocyst protein interaction network will be also identified.

In summary, the work done during this Ph.D. project will elucidate how the regulation of exocytosis contributes to plant intercellular communication through plasmodesmata.

Martin Potocký