Homepage » Courses Offered » Undergraduate Studies » 4th 13A601 Plant Metabolism



Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Elective 13A601 4th 4 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 5 6.5

The course aims to introducing the students to the principles of: a) The basic elements of signal transduction pathways in plants related to plant hormones and sugars. b) The biosynthesis and metabolism of plant hormones and sugars. c) The central role of nitrogen and lipid metabolism in plant functions and development and the significance of plant oils and   storage proteins in global economy and human nutrition. d) The plant secondary metabolism with examples from biotechnological applications of secondary products and from the role of secondary compound biosynthesis in plant response to abiotic and biotic stress. e) The basic concepts of olistic approaches in plant metabolism such as proteomics and metabolomics by studying examples from recent literature.


At the end of the course students should have acquired enhanced knowledge on the metabolic routes that lead to the biosynthesis of primary and secondary metabolites in plants, the role of sugars as signaling molecules and the biotechnological applications potential by the use of primary and secondary metabolic products.


Plant hormones (12 Hours): Auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid, ethylene, brassinosteroids, jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, polyamines. Βiosynthesis, metabolism, signal transduction, mechanism of action.

Sugar sensing in plants and molecular signal transduction (8 Ηours): Role of sugars in plant energy and carbon metabolism. Sugars as signaling molecules in plants, their role in development and germination. Sugars, hormones and signal transduction in early development. Sugar sensors in plants. Trehalose metabolism and related signal transduction. The role of trehalose biosynthesis in plants. Connections of metabolism and development in plants.

Nitrogen metabolism (10 Hours): Amino acid metabolism, non protein amino acids, ureides. Interactions between photosynthesis, respiration and nitrogen metabolism. Storage proteins, storage protein biosynthesis during seed development, protein bodies, mobilization of stored protein reserves in germinating seeds. Plant storage proteins and human nutrition.

Lipid metabolism (10 Hours): Structure and function of plant lipids. Fatty acids, fatty acid biosynthesis. Membrane lipids, membrane lipid biosynthesis in plastids and endoplasmic reticulum. Effect of environmental factors on plant membrane lipid and fatty acid composition. Membrane lipid function in signalling and defensive processes. Waxes, cutin, suberin. Metabolism of storage lipids, triacylglycerol biosynthesis, oil bodies, mobilization of storage lipids in germinating seeds, β-oxidation, glyoxylate cycle, gluconeogenesis. Industrial applications of plant lipids, improvement of oil quality.

Secondary metabolism (6 Hours): Introduction. Terpenoids, Alkaloids, Phenοlic compounds. Biosynthetic pathways, biotechnological applications. Secondary metabolism in response to biotic and abiotic stress (wounding, oxidative stress, heavy metals, UV).

Basic concepts in Plant Metabolomics (6 Ηours):  What is metabolomics, history and introduction. Connection with proteomics. Preparation of biological samples for analysis. Extraction, separation and detection of metabolites (GC-MS, LC-MS, HPLC etc). Experimental data analysis. The dynamics of metabolimics, limitations in analysis. Fields (genotypic and phenotypic analysis, understanding of physiological mechanisms, determination of the nature and the range of differences between biological samples etc). Metabolicnetworks and systemsbiology. Examples from recent literature.


1. Action of gibberellic acid (GA3) in α-amylase synthesis in the aleurone cells of wheat (Triticum aestivum var. capeiti) germinating seeds. The role of abscisic acid (ΑΒΑ). 2. Time course of α-galactosidase activity and endosperm galactomannan content during germination of fenugreek (Trigonella  foenum-graecumL.) seeds. 3. Quantitative determination of sucrose and reducing sugars in the embryos of germinating fenugreek seeds. 4. Quantitative determination of total nitrogen during leaf development of Laurus nobilis L. 5. Storage lipid mobilization in the cotyledons of Citrullus lanatus, during seedling growth. 6. Determination of fatty acid composition of Citrullus lanatus cotyledons, during seedling growth, using gas chromatography. 7. Analysis of essential oils from leaves of Laurus nobilis L.

  Lectures: Andreas Roussis, Assistant Professor of Molecular Plant Physiology (Coordinator) - Maria-Sonia Meletiou-Christou, Assistant Professor of Plant Physiology
  Practicals: Andreas Roussis, Assistant Professor of Molecular Plant Physiology (Coordinator) - Maria-Sonia Meletiou-Christou, Assistant Professor of Plant Physiology - Dr. Maria Dousi,  Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. Penelope Sotiriou, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. Penelope Delipetrou, Laboratory Teaching Staff
  The mark of the practical work, obtained from separate examination, contributes 50% to the final mark. Passingmarks in both examinations are required.
  If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Assist. Prof. Andreas Roussis at: Tel: (+30) 210 727 4694; e-mail: aroussis[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr