PD Dr. Frank Waller - University of Würzburg
Frank Waller first conducted his Diploma Thesis in the Nick-Lab and investigated the response of actin filaments to light. He discovered that actin Filaments were either bundled or detached, and that the detached Version was found in growing cells, whereas the bundles were characteristic for cells that have either stopped to grow or still were too young to grow. This could then be connected to the plant hormone auxin and actually was the nucleator for the development of our actin-auxin oscillator concept. During his Ph.D. time he searched for factors that control this debundling of actin. For this purpose he went into the lab of Prof. Dr. Masaki Furuya in Japan and investigated a rice mutant, where actin was hypersensitive in its response to auxin. Using this mutant and a novel strategy called fluorescent differential display, he searched for genes that are rapidly activated and differ between wild type and mutant. By this strategy, he succeeded to isolate a transcription factor that acts as enhancer for other auxin-activated genes. The exciting point about this factor was that itself was activated by auxin. Also a second gene that was constraining auxin-dependent growth in Respons to light, was found by the same Approach. After his Ph.D. in 2000 Frank Waller used a fellowship by the Japanese government to work in Nara, later he worked for several years in Göttingen, where he moved into the interaction between plants and pathogens.
Meanwhile, Frank Waller heads a Junior Research Group at the Department for Pharmaceutical Biology of Würzburg University. His research is focussed on the stimulation of plant immunity by contact with the fungus Piriformospora indica, but also the regulation of plant immunity by microbial lipid-like compounds, so called sphingo lipids.
Publication from his time in the Nick-Lab
22. Waller, F. und Nick, P. (1997) Response of actin microfilaments during phytochrome-controlled growth of maize seedlings. Protoplasma 200, 154-162 - pdf
36. Waller F, Riemann M, Nick P (2002) A role for actin-driven secretion in auxin-induced growth. Protoplasma 219, 72-81 - pdf
47. Chaban C, Waller F, Furuya M, Nick P (2003) Auxin responsiveness of a novel cytochrome P450 in rice coleoptiles. Plant Physiol 133, 2000-2009 - pdf
 Waller, F., Wang, Q.Y., Nick, P. (2000) Actin and signal-controlled cell elongation in coleoptiles. In: Actin: A Dynamic Framework for Multiple Plant Cell Functions.Staiger, C.J., Baluška, F., Volkmann, D., Barlow, P. (eds), Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 477-496 - pdf