Regulation and functions of alternative splicing in plants

Eukaryotic organisms make extensive use of posttranscriptional mechanisms such as alternative precursor mRNA splicing (AS) and mRNA turnover to regulate gene expression in the course of development and in response to diverse stresses. However, our current understanding of the regulatory processes driving these alterations in gene expression as well as their physiological functions is still very limited.

The research group Wachter combines genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, and plant physiology to characterize novel components involved in regulated AS and mRNA turnover and to examine their functional implications in plant development and stress responses.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2018: W3 Professor, Faculty of Biology, University of Mainz
  • 2016-2018: Heisenberg Fellow, Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP), University of Tübingen
  • 2015: Junior Research Group Leader, ZMBP, University of Tübingen
  • 2009-2014: Emmy Noether Group Leader, ZMBP, University of Tübingen


  • 2007-2009: Scientific Assistant, Heidelberg Institute for Plant Science, University of Heidelberg
  • 2005-2007: Postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Dr. R. Breaker, Yale University, USA
  • 2001-2004: PhD with Prof. Dr. T. Rausch, University of Heidelberg
  • 2000: Diploma in Biology, University of Heidelberg
  • 1995-2000: Studies of Biology, University of Heidelberg

Selected publications by Andreas Wachter

Zhang R, Kuo R, …, Wachter A, et al. (2022). A high-resolution single-molecule sequencing-based Arabidopsis transcriptome using novel methods of Iso-seq analysis. Genome Biology, 23 (1), 149. Link

Maizel A, Markmann K, Timmermans M, Wachter A (2020). To move or not to move: roles and specificity of plant RNA mobility. Current Opinion Plant Biology, 57, 52-60. Link

Kesarwani AK, Lee HC, Ricca PG, Sullivan G, Faiss N, Wagner G, Wunderling A and Wachter A (2019). Multifactorial and Species-Specific Feedback Regulation of the RNA Surveillance Pathway Nonsense-Mediated Decay in Plants. Plant Cell Physiology, 60, 1986–1999. Link

Hartmann L, Wießner T and Wachter A (2018). Subcellular Compartmentation of Alternatively Spliced Transcripts Defines SERINE/ARGININE-RICH PROTEIN30 Expression. Plant Physiology, 176, 2886–2903. Link

Hartmann L, Drewe-Boß P, Wießner T, Wagner G, Geue S, Lee HC, Obermüller DM, Kahles A, Behr J, Sinz FH, Rätsch G and Wachter A (2016). Alternative Splicing Substantially Diversifies the Transcriptome during Early Photomorphogenesis and Correlates with the Energy Availability in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell, 28, 2715–2734. Link

Wachter A, Hartmann L (2014). NMD: Nonsense-mediated defense. Cell Host & Microbe, 16, 273-275. Link

Wachter A (2014). Gene regulation by structured mRNA elements. Trends in Genetics, 30, 172-181. Link

Drechsel G, Kahles A, Kesarwani AK, Stauffer E, Behr J, Drewe P, Rätsch G and Wachter A (2013). Nonsense-mediated decay of alternative precursor mRNA splicing variants is a major determinant of the Arabidopsis steady state transcriptome. Plant Cell, 25, 3726–3742. Link

Drewe P, Stegle O, Hartmann L, Kahles A, Bohnert R, Wachter A, Borgwardt K, Rätsch G (2013). Accurate detection of differential RNA processing. Nucleic Acids Research, 41, 5189-5198. Link

Rühl C, Stauffer E, Kahles A, Wagner G, Drechsel G, Rätsch G and Wachter A (2012). Polypyrimidine tract binding protein homologs from Arabidopsis are key regulators of alternative splicing with implications in fundamental developmental processes. Plant Cell, 24:4360–4375. Link