PLAMORF: Long-distance RNA signalling in plants



Work packages



PLAMORF focuses on Plant Mobile RNAs: Function, Transport and Features.

An essential consequence of multi-cellularity is the need for intercellular and tissue-wide communication, which happens through transport of signalling molecules. In higher plants long-distance transport of signalling molecules occurs mainly via  the phloem.

In addition to small molecules, a remarkably large number of macromolecules such as micro RNAs (miRNAs), protein producing messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) have been identified in the phloem, representing additional classes of signalling molecules.

Research questions and approach

  • How are mobile RNAs selected for transport?
  • How specific is RNA mobility?
  • What determines their destination?
  • How are these signals processed in the destination cells?

We develop predictive models, using single cell transcriptomics to establish cell-type specific RNA transport and motifs, and study the structure, affinity, and functions of phloem transported RNAs associated proteins. We combine the advantages of the agronomically important oilseed rape with the well-established A. thaliana belonging to the same plant family.


PLAMORF is funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC, set up by the EU in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe.

The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between grantees’ pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation.


PLAMORF Kick-off meeting

Lab members of all three PLAMORF research groups, as well as members of the Scientific Advisory Board attended the PLAMORF Kick-off meeting in Berlin from 22nd to 24th July 2019.

Twitter feed

🌱Check out the #PlaMoM database for plant mobile macromolecules! Includes #phloem-transported #RNA (eg #LncRNA #mRNA) and #proteins from multiple data sources and methods, 14 #plant species. ➡⬅ 📖publication: #openaccess
#Grafting is one of the methods @plamorf uses to identify and characterise mobile #RNAs delivered via the #phloem. But what makes cells in grafted #plants stick together? Check out this #publication:
Happy #RNAday from the PLAMORF scientists! We celebrate by shedding light on one of the manifold functions of #RNA: long-distance RNA signaling in plants! Check out our @ERC_Research project to find out more: #ERC #H2020 #plantsci #plants

PLAMORF in a nutshell

Fact box

Title: Plant mobile RNAs: function, transport and features (PLAMORF)
Start: 1.4.2019
Duration: 6 years
Keywords: plant, tranport, mobile RNA, signalling, phloem, RNA-binding proteins, oilseed rape, A. thaliana
Budget: 6.1 million
Funding: ERC synergy grant

Research groups:

Friedrich Kragler, Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Golm, Germany
Julia Kehr, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Richard Morris, John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom



This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 810131)