Bilateral BBSRC-FAPESP: Cellular and regulatory basis for early plant organ growth

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


To understand how the activity of regulatory genes within cells is translated into the shape and size of plant organs, we aim to reveal what growth-limiting cellular processes (e.g. cell cycle control, cytoplasmic growth, cell expansion) are targeted by regulatory genes that control plant organ growth. For this, we will take advantage of two recent developments. First, the establishment of methods that combine detection of newly synthesized DNA with quantitative analysis of cell geometry in 3D images of developing organs. Using these methods, the UK applicant has revealed an unanticipated role for the regulatory gene JAGGED (JAG) in co-ordinating cell volume with cell division in organ primordia. Second, the application of ChIP-seq on developmentally synchronised floral organs. The Brazilian applicant and Dutch collaborators have been developing these methods to understand the role of CIN-TCPgenes in floral organ growth. We will combine the complementary expertise, resources and biological interest of the UK and Brazilian/Dutch partners to study the function of a key set of growth regulatory genes: JAGGED (JAG), AINTEGUMENTA (ANT) and CIN-TCP genes. We will test whether coupling of cell size and cell division is a key feature of primordium growth that is targeted by multiple regulatory genes. We will also test whether these genes target particular steps in cell division and clarify the genetic interactions between JAG, ANT and CIN-TCPs in the control of cell growth and division in developing organs. Finally, we will use ChIP on synchronised organ primordia to identify the sets of genes directly controlled by JAG and CIN-TCPs in the early stages of organ development.
In addition to addressing a fundamental question with long-term impact through the rational manipulation of crop growth and yield, our work will establish mutually beneficial scientific links between the UK and Brazil.


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