Plants are perhaps the most developmentally plastic of all organisms. Not only do they continually differentiate new organs from the stem cell niche throughout their lifespan, but they are also capable of regenerating new cell types and organs after wounding or from explants in tissue culture.
An example of this developmental plasticity is the ability to induce embryogenesis from in vitro cultured gametophytic and somatic cells in the absence of fertilization. Central to this plasticity is the competence or ability of a differentiated cell to respond to an instructive signal, most commonly stress and/or exogenous growth regulators, and redirect the cell to a new developmental fate. The BABY BOOM (BBM) AP2/ERF domain transcription factor also acts as an ‘instructive signal’ through its ability to induce somatic embryogenesis (SE) when overexpressed in plant cells. We are using a wide range of molecular, genetic and cell biology techniques to understand the role of BBM during wild-type seed development and in an overexpression context. Specific topics include: characterization of proteins that regulate endogenous BBM expression, characterization of BBM target genes, and characterization of BBM-interacting proteins.
- Protein-DNA and protein-protein interactions (ChIP-seq, yeast 1 and 2-hybrid analysis)
- Genetic analysis of arabidopsis mutants
- Gene expression analysis (RNA isolation, microarrays, qRT-PCR)
- GFP reporter- and functional analysis constructs (PCR, Gateway Cloning, arabidopsis transformation)
- Analysis of GFP reporter lines using Confocal Laser Scanning Micrsoscopy
- Somatic embryo culture
- Good theoretical and practical basis in (plant) molecular biology
- Affinity for (plant) tissue culture