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ETH Zurich
Institute of Plant Sciences
Universitätsstr. 2
8092 Zürich

The molecule we study is so plain
the inorganic polyphosphate chain

The focus of the research in our group is a simple molecule: inorganic polyphosphate (poly P).
Poly P is a linear polymer that consists of a variable number of phosphate residues (from three to more than a thousand) that are linked by energy-rich phosphoanhydride bonds. It has been detected in all organisms and living cells and was found in many organelles. In eukaryotes, poly P is particularly prominent in fungi, algae and trypanosomatids. Poly P serves as a phosphate and energy store and regulates enzymes, chromatin condensation and translation. Poly P is also involved in bacterial pathogenicity, survival during stationary phase in bacteria and yeast, or the adaptation to alkaline and osmotic stress. In the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum, poly P regulates development and predation behaviour, and in humans blood coagulation is accelerated and fibrinolysis is delayed by poly P. In our group we study poly P metabolism and functions in eukaryotes and we work mostly with yeast, filamentous fungi and algae.

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