Mechanistic dissection of plant embryo initiation

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My project is a joint project between our lab and the lab of prof. Liu in China. The aim of the project is to gain understanding of the general mechanism underlying the initiation of embryo identity in plant cells in two development contexts: (1) egg cell to zygote transition, which will be studied in China and (2) extra-embryonic (suspensor) to embryo (S>E) transition.

Recently, it was found that inhibition of auxin response in suspensor cells induces transformation of suspensor cells to embryonic cells (Rademacher et al., 2012). Using a transcriptomic approach, a small set of bHLH genes was identified that are: a) upregulated upon auxin response inhibition and normally expressed in the proembryo or b) downregulated upon auxin inhibition and normally expressed in the suspensor. By detailed investigation of these genes we will be able to define their function in S>E transition.