Differentiation of vascular veins and surrounding mesenchyme: the role of leaf meristems within adaptations to C4 anatomy
In current CO2–O2 conditions, C4 plants are better adapted than C3 plants, which relates to Kranz anatomy and the separation of CO2 fixation in mesophyll and bundle sheath cells respectively. The evolution of C4-type anatomy and physiology from C3 species has occurred multiple times independently, suggesting that the genetic repertoire is still present in C3 species.
The development of vascular veins depends on the spatial and temporal activity of marginal or plate-meristems. In this project, we aim to investigate the spatial and temporal interplay between plate-meristem function in incipient leaf primordia and the establishment of the vascular cambium. We would like to understand whether the interface between the mesenchyme and cambium stem-cell niches relates to evolutionary adaptations from C3 towards C4 anatomy. To address this question, stable and inducible driver lines will be established that allow the expression of transgenes in Arabidopsis or rice and analysis of the histological consequences. Transgenes will be selected based on the currently available data and on the comparative analysis of C3–C4 species within CEPLAS.