Research Group Wenkel


Dr. Stephan Wenkel
Associate Professor
Copenhagen Plant Science Centre
University of Copenhagen
Thorvaldsensvej 40
1871 Frederiksberg C

Dr. Stephan Wenkel


We have vacancies for both PhD and postdoc positions. Applications can be submitted via the University of Copenhagen job portal. Click links below:


Research Topics


1/ Regulation of protein activity by microProteins

Many proteins achieve their function by acting as part of multi-protein complexes. The formation of these complexes is highly regulated and mediated through domains of protein-protein interaction. Disruption of a complex or of the ability of the proteins to form homodimers, heterodimers or multimers can have severe consequences for cellular function. In this context, the formation of dimers and multimers can be perturbed by proteins we refer to as 'microProteins'. These disruptive protein species contain the protein-interaction domains of bona fide interaction partners, but lack the functional domains required for the activation of, for example, transcription or DNA binding. MicroProteins thus behave as post-translational regulators by forming homotypic dimers with their targets, and act through the dominant-negative suppression of protein complex function. We study microProtein function in model in crop plants.



2/ Environmental control of morphogenesis in plants

Plants are sessile organisms and have thus to cope with the environment they are exposed to. In order to optimize reproductive success, plants have evolved refined mechanisms to respond to environmental cues by adjusting developmental processes. Small changes in the red to far-red light ratio, for example, can be detected by the plant phytochrome system and translated into growth responses. My laboratory is interested in understanding how the environment influences the basic patterning machinery and how basic patterning modules are used to steer developmental processes required for adaptive growth responses. 




Merelo P, Xie Y, Brandt L, Ott F, Weigel D, Bowman JL, Heisler MG, Wenkel S

Genome-wide identification of KANADI1 target genes.

PLoS one  Oct 14;8(10):e77341, 2013.


Brandt R, Musielak T, Graeff M, Stierhof YD, Huang H, Liu CM and Wenkel S

Control of stem cell homeostasis via interlocking microRNA and microProtein feedback loops.

Mechanisms of Development 130 (1), 25-33, 2013. 


Gendron JM, Liu JS, Fan M, Bai MY, Wenkel S, Springer PS, Barton MK, Wang ZY

Brassinosteroids regulate organ boundary formation in the shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis

PNAS 109(51): 21152-7, 2012. 


Brandt R, Sella-Martret M, Bou-Torrent J, Musielak T, Stahl M, Lanz C, Ott F, Schmid M, Greb T, Schwarz M, Barton MK, Reinhart BJ, Liu T, Choi SB, Quint M, Palaqui JC, Martinez-Garcia JF and Wenkel S

Genome-wide binding site analysis of REVOLUTA reveals a link between leaf patterning and light-mediated growth responses.

The Plant Journal 72 (1): 31-42, 2012. 


Sella-Martret M, Bou-Torrent J, Brandt R, Palauqui JC, Martinez-Garcia JF and Wenkel S

ATHB4 and HAT3, two class II HD-ZIP transcription factors, control leaf development in Arabidopsis 

Plant Signaling & Behavior 7 (11), 2012. 


Graeff M and Wenkel S

Regulation of protein function by interfering protein species

BioMolecular Concepts 3: 71-78, 2012.


Staudt A and Wenkel S

Regulation of protein activity by ‘microProteins”.

EMBO Reports 12(1):35-42, 2011.


Jang S, Marchal V,Panigrahi K, Valverde V, Wenkel S and Coupland G

Arabidopsis COP1 shapes the temporal pattern of CO accumulation conferring a photoperiodic flowering response

EMBO Journal 2008 Apr 23; 27(8):1277-88


Wenkel S, Emery J, Hu BH, Evans MMS and Barton MK

A Feedback Regulatory Module Formed by LITTLE ZIPPER and HDZIPIII Genes

The Plant Cell 2007 Nov; 19(11):3379-90


Wenkel S, Turck F, Le Gourrierec J, Samach A, Coupland G
CONSTANS and the CCAAT box binding complex share a functionally important domain and interact to regulate flowering of Arabidopsis
The Plant Cell 2006 Nov;18(11):2971-84.


Laubinger S, Marchal V, Gentilhomme J, Wenkel S, Adrian J, Jang S, Kulajta C, Braun H, Coupland G, Hoecker U
Arabidopsis SPA proteins regulate photoperiodic flowering and interact with the floral inducer CONSTANS to regulate its stability.
Development 2006 Aug; 133(16):3213-22.


Becker D, Hoth S, Ache P, Wenkel S, Roelfsema MR, Meyerhoff O, Hartung W, Hedrich R.

Regulation of the ABA-sensitive Arabidopsis potassium channel gene GORK in response to water stress.

FEBS Letters 2003 Nov 6; 554(1-2):119-26


Ingrid Blumberg (technician)

Marc Cabedo (PhD student)

Ulla Dolde (PhD student)

Tenai Eguen (postdoc)

Moritz Graeff (PhD student)

Vandasue Rodrigues (PhD student)

Gesine Seibold (technician)

Daniel Straub (postdoc)

Stephan Wenkel (Group Leader)

Yakun Xie (PhD student)




Bundesministerium für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

European Research Council

Marie Curie Fellowships Program

Robert Bosch Stiftung