Organisation of plant nucleus and nuclear activity

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office


The research objective is aimed at understanding the relationship between the information contained within the genome of plants and the cellular machinery which interprets and uses this information. One objective is how gene transcription, post transcriptional processing and splicing of transcribed RNAs are organized within the nucleus in interphase and as a function of development. This encompasses both transcription and splicing of pol II transcribed genes, and of pol I transcribed rRNA genes, as well as the expression of introduced transgenes. Another major focus is a collaborative project with Graham Moore’s group aimed at understanding meiotic homologue pairing, in particular the mechanism of Ph1, which controls the specificity of pairing in wheat and which is a major factor restricting the introgression of novel traits into wheat from related species by plant breeding. A further objective relates to the nucleolus and related sub-nuclear bodies, particularly Cajal bodies, which are involved in snRNA and siRNA metabolism, and which we have shown are mobile, dynamic structures. The approach used is highly multidisciplinary, using techniques of molecular biology and proteomics/mass spectrometry to analyze the genes, transcripts and proteins, 3-D confocal microscopy and electron microscopy for structural analysis, and computer image processing for improvement (restoration) of incomplete and noisy images and for analysis and interpretation of complex 3-D data sets. These studies are being carried out using wheat and related cereals, because of their large nuclei, relatively good cytology and importance as crop plants, and Arabidopsis because of its excellent genetic and genomic resources, but the research is generic and relates equally to other species of economic importance.


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Colas I (2010) Mass spectrometry in plant proteomic analysis in Plant Biosystems - An International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology

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Draeger T (2019) Dmc1 is a candidate for temperature tolerance during wheat meiosis in Theoretical and Applied Genetics

Description We have shown
1. The Ph1 recombination phenotype in wheat is due to changes in expression of a copy of the zip4 gene.
2. That changes in transcript profile in early wheat meiosis are surprisingly small and are independent of synapsis, ploidy level and the Ph1 locus.
3. Magnesium has an effect on crossover frequency in some lines of wheat hybrids.
Exploitation Route These results are of potential importance in commercial wheat breeding.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink