This project will functionally analyze gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that act in plant shoot meristems to control the switch to flowering. We have defined an intricate network involving transcription factors and microRNAs that controls this developmental transition in Arabidopsis and its perennial relatives. The project will address how the activity of these GRNs are controlled by environmental cues, such as day length, and internal cues, such as phytohormones and metabolites, to initiate the earliest stages of the floral transition. The project involves constructing transgenic plants to control the temporal and quantitative expression of network components, testing regulatory connections in orthogonal systems, imaging the transition by confocal microscopy and collaboration with computational biologists modelling GRN activity. References: Hyun et al (2019) Science 363, 409-412; Hyun et al (2016) Developmental Cell 37, 254-266.
Qualifications needed: Molecular biology, confocal imaging, computational capability
Contact person: George Coupland
The number of grains per spike is among the most variable and important traits determining final yield in cereal crops. Grain number is controlled by complex developmental processes including the regulation of meristem size, of branching and floret fertility. Grass mutants affecting inflorescence architecture have provided insights into the genes and gene networks regulating inflorescence architecture and seed number. This project uses the important cereal crop barley with a vast collection of developmental mutants to understand how the interplay between hormonal signalling and nutrient allocation to meristems controls yield in crop plants. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with a second Postdoc (project 3) across three research groups with expertise in developmental genetics, imaging, transport and signaling.
Qualifications needed: molecular plant biology, grass genetics, plant development, imaging
Contact persons: Maria von Korff-Schmising, Rüdiger Simon
We have previously characterized process underlying diversity in leaf form between and within species and have identified genetic pathways influencing this trait. Here we propose to investigate the possible physiological significance of this variation as well as possible feedbacks between physiology, metabolism and leaf form. The project will involve comparative studies of Cardamine hirsuta and Arabidopsis thaliana. References: Kierzkowski D, Runions A, et al., (2019) A growth-based framework for leaf shape development and diversity. Cell, 177:1405-1418 Vuolo F, et al., (2016) Genes Dev. 30, 2370-75. 2. Gan X, et al., (2016) Nat Plants 2, 16167. 3. Rast-Somssich, M.I et al., (2015). Genes Dev 29, 2391-2404 Cartolano, M., et al., 4. 2015 PNAS 112, 10539-44. 5. Vlad D, et al., (2014) Science 343, 780-3.
Qualifications needed: Plant Physiology skills particularly on gas exchange or hydraulics, Plant Molecular/Developmental Genetics (especially in Arabidopsis), NGS data analysis
Contact persons: Miltos Tsiantis, Ismene Karakasilioti