Magdalena Szechynska-Hebda

Speaker for plant biology 2017- Magdalena Szechynska-Hebda

Title: Improving the efficiency of wheat and triticale androgenesis: the starch story.

Magdalena Szechynska-Hebda

Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland


Magdalena Szechyńska-Hebda is a Doctor in the Biological and Agricultural Sciences. She is working in the Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow, Poland. Her second affiliation is in the department of Plant Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences. 2006-2008 Forskare (Assistant Professor) at Department of Botany Stockholm University (Sweden). 2015-2016 postdoc position at the University of Konstanz. Her scientific interest are androgenesis, chloroplast to nucleus retrograde signaling, systemic acquired acclimation and systemic acquired resistance.


Androgenesis is an important tool for plant genetics and breeding, since androgenic embryos can germinate into completely homozygous doubled haploid plants. The stress-induced reprogramming of microspores precedes the induction of andogenesis. Most of the genes identified to be differentially expressed during stress treatment to induce androgenesis are involved with stress hormones, cellular protection from stress, proteolysis and sucrose–starch metabolism. Our findings provide ultrastructural and molecular evidence to support the hypothesis that the repression of starch biosynthesis may play an important role in blocking gametophytic development during androgenesis induction in wheat and triticale. Further, our studies aimed to identify structural changes in proplastids at different stages of androgenesis that prevent chloroplasts formation and results in albinism of androgenesis-derived plants. The expression pattern of selected genes related to sucrose–starch metabolism directly corresponds to internal changes in the plastids. These changes are limited to accumulation of starch grains, typical for plastids that continue to function in the same manner as during normal formation of pollen. Finally, we found that light-emitting diode (LED) irradiation at some particular wavelength could reduce the ratio of albino to green seedlings. The illumination system provides light in the spectral region that is involved in photosynthesis and in the photomorphogenic responses, therefore the probable regulatory mechanisms adjusted by LED were identified.

The work was supported by PBS3/A9/37/2015 project operating within the Applied Research Programme of the National Centre for Research and Development.