Epigenetics and Plant Development

Group leader: Julia Qüesta

Research project:

Unravelling the non-coding regulatory mechanisms controlling the Arabidopsis seed-to-seedling transition

Successful germination is decisive for plants to rapidly enter natural ecosystems and maximize growth under optimal environmental conditions. During this key developmental process, the whole plant transcriptome needs to be reprogrammed. In this context, the aim of this rePLANT PhD project is to uncover novel non-coding regulatory processes that are important for early plant development. By applying state-of-the-art transcriptomics and epigenomics, we have identified previously unexplored long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) with potential to control germination and post-germinative growth in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. To dissect the function of these lncRNAs in controlling Arabidopsis germination and post-embryonic development, the selected PhD candidate will apply gene editing, epigenomics and single-molecule bio-imaging methodologies. In collaboration with Dr Yiliang Ding´s group (JIC, UK), this project will explore the contribution of the lncRNA structure dynamics in the regulation of early stages of Arabidopsis development. Therefore, this exciting PhD project will unravel novel epigenetic regulators of the seed-to-seedling switch in plants. By joining our international team, the PhD candidate will acquire skills and knowledge on the exciting fields of epigenetics and non-coding RNA regulation. In addition, the PhD candidate will be offered the opportunity of a secondment at our collaborator lab in the UK to gain skills in RNA structure analysis and bioinformatics. Altogether, this multidisciplinary project will provide an excellent opportunity to train a future leader in science.

Qüesta JI, Song J, Geraldo N, An H, Dean C. Arabidopsis transcriptional repressor VAL1 triggers Polycomb silencing at FLC during vernalization. Science 2016 Jul 29;353(6298):485-8. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7354.

Potential collaborations with other research groups

John Innes Centre (JIC)

Yilliang Ding

Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ)

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