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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Master Plant Sciences

Integrated Plant physiology

Plant Sciences platform

U. Paris-Saclay / U. Paris Cité

Université Paris-Saclay and Université Paris Cité common Teaching Unit


Graham NOCTOR (Sciences - Université Paris-Saclay).


Basic knowledge of the major metabolic functions of plants (primary metabolisms: photosynthesis, respiration, photorespiration, nitrogen assimilation, etc). Notions of good laboratory practices (Practicals).


The metabolism of plants is particularly rich. It is also endowed with a flexibility allowing the organism to acclimatize itself to constraining conditions (stress) such as strong light or the presence of toxic molecules. Understanding how plants function necessarily implies knowledge of the main mechanisms for managing these stresses.

At the end of the EU, students will be able to describe: 1) the major mechanisms involved in light management by plants; 2) reactive oxygen species, their main biological effects, and the systems that control them; 3) the processes and enzymes involved in plant responses to chemical stresses; 4) an outline of the main secondary metabolic pathways. At the end of the practical sessions, students will have acquired practical skills in basic molecular biology and biochemistry techniques in the use of mutants to better understand plant responses to stresses. The students will be able to gather, in a limited time, the information available in the databases on the synthesis and biological functions of a small molecule involved in plant responses to stress, in order to deliver an oral presentation in front of the other students.


The TU takes place over two consecutive weeks at the Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay (bât. 630, UFR Sciences - Université Paris-Saclay, Orsay). Among the subjects covered during the courses: the management of strong light; oxidative stress; defense mechanisms against xenobiotics (heavy metals, herbicides); major pathways of secondary metabolism. These notions are illustrated during interactive tutorials based on research carried out by the students on the functions of molecules involved in the response of plants to stress, activities which involve the preparation of an oral presentation in Powerpoint format. The theoretical aspects of the lectures and the practical sessions are complemented by practical work allowing students to learn about the principles of functional genomics by performing complementary measurements in Arabidopsis mutants (PCR, spectrophotometric assays of enzymes and metabolites). The evaluation includes a written exam.

Elective TU (Choice between this TU "Integrated Plant physiology" and the TUs "Plants/insects" and "Biotechnologies").
Lectures: 20h, Tutorials: 5h, Practicals: 20h, Mentoring: 5h
Location: Orsay