Reproductive development and the evolution of perennial life history

Group leader: George Coupland

Research project:

Chromatin dynamics and gene regulatory networks that control the morphology and function of the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem during floral transition

This project studies developmental mechanisms regulating the morphology and function of the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem (SAM) during floral transition. The timing of this transition is critical for reproductive success and is regulated by several genetically defined endogenous and environmental pathways. The aim of this project is to use an integrated approach to correlate structural changes in chromatin with gene expression dynamics in the shoot apical meristem during floral transition, and to relate these changes with genetic pathways that control different stages of the floral transition. Chromatin structural dynamics and gene regulatory networks will be inferred from paired expression and chromatin accessibility data during floral transition in unique genotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana. These genotypes have been constructed to dissect the interplay between the florigen photoperiodic and the miRNA156/SPL15 aging pathways that have separable roles in the control of inflorescence and floral development. The function of genes showing interesting patterns of regulation will be tested by CRISPR-cas9 reverse genetics and confocal microscopy.

Hyun, Y. et al. A regulatory circuit conferring varied flowering response to cold in annual and perennial plants. Science 363, 409–412 (2019).
Kinoshita, A. et al. Regulation of shoot meristem shape by photoperiodic signaling and phytohormones during floral induction of Arabidopsis. eLife 9, e60661 (2020).
Ó’Maoiléidigh, D. S. et al. Systematic analyses of the MIR172 family members of Arabidopsis define their distinct roles in regulation of APETALA2 during floral transition. PLoS Biol. 19, e3001043 (2021).

Key Publication

Potential collaborations with other research groups

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