GC (Gerco) Angenent GC (Gerco) Angenent

Group leader Plant Developmental Systems (PDS), Professor

Research interest: My research group is interested in how developmental processes are controlled by transcription factors and chromatin modifications. We aim to unravel transcriptional networks underlying various processes such as flowering time regulation, floral organ development, fruit formation and embryogenesis. We apply various methods, such as ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, proteomics, microscopy, CRISPR/CAS9 technologies and in vitro assays, to build gene regulatory networks and study the role of genes and proteins involved in these developmental processes. We are using predominantly the model species Arabidopsis and tomato, but also aim to understand to what extent the networks and genes are conserved in other species, including crops.

A main question of our research is:  How do Transcription factors work and what are their target genes?  To answer this question we are studying the properties of transcription factors belonging to the MADS domain, AP2-like or TCP transcription factor families. Since these transcription factors form larger complexes we analyse the components of the complexes by immunoprecipitation followed by MS/MS (Smaczniak et al, 2012). Furthermore, we are interested in the target genes that they control. A standard technology in our lab is ChIP-seq to identify in vivo binding sites. In addition we use in vitro methods, such as EMSA and SELEX to understand the specificity of binding to certain DNA sequences. Our results show that the composition of the transcription factor complex determines in part the binding specificity to target DNA.  We aim to identify downstream target genes by ChIP-seq and RNA-seq approaches and decipher their role in various developmental processes, such as flowering, flower, fruit and embryo development by genetic and molecular studies. A more recent focus of the group are studies to understanding the role of promoter elements (CIS regulatory elements) and how they control transcription. For this purpose we make mutations in promoters using CRISPR/Cas9, aiming at modulating gene expression in vivo.

The PIs in the group are: 

Group members (from left to right):

  • prof. dr. Gerco Angenent,  group leader
  • dr. Kim Boutilier, senior researcher
  • dr. Ruud de Maagd, senior researcher
  • prof. dr. Richard Immink, senior researcher
  • dr. Steven Groot, senior researcher
  • dr. Marian Bemer, researcher
  • dr. Wilma van Esse, post-doc
  • dr. Martijn Fiers, researcher
  • Marco Busscher, technician
  • Tjitske Riksen, technician
  • Mieke Weemen, technician
  • Froukje van der Wal, technician
  • Jacqueline Busscher-Lange, technician
  • Michiel Lammers, technician
  • Jan Kodde, technician
  • Manjunath Prasad, PhD student (with Steven Groot)
  • Mengfan Li, PhD student (with Kim Boutilier)
  • Baojian Chen, PhD student (with Kim Boutilier)
  • Rufang Wang, PhD student (with Ruud de Maagd)
  • Vera Veltkamp, PhD student (with Ruud de Maagd)
  • Lena Maas, PhD student (with Kim Boutilier)
  • Annemarie Castricum, PhD student (with Richard Immink, Marian Bemer)
  • Charlotte Siemons, PhD student (with Kim Boutilier)
  • Ellen Slaman, PhD student (with Ruud de Maagd)
  • Xiaobing Jiang (with Marian Bemer)
  • Francesca Bellinazzo, PhD student (with Richard Immink)
  • Suze Blom, PhD student (with Richard Immink)



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The following PhD students from our group  successfully defended their thesis:

 Doctorate degree Sam van Es

"Sculpting a plant: TCP transcription factors as key regulators of plant growth and development.

"Wageningen, 18 September 2018


Doctorate degree for Suraj Jamge

"MADS efloral integrators: Insights into molecular mechanisms of MADS domain proteins in the floral transition."

Wageningen February 9, 2018

Doctorate degree for Suzanne de Bruijn

"MADS evolution: Insights into the evolutionary changes in transcription factors and their binding sites

"Wageningen, November 20, 2017


Doctorate degree for Hilda van Mourik

"MADS specificity: Unravelling the dual function of the MADS domain protein FRUITFULL"

Wageningen November 10, 2017

Doctorate degree for Leonie Verhage

"Ambient temperature-directed flowering time regulation"

Doctorate degree for Iris Heidmann

"Applied and fundamental aspects of BBM-mediated regeneration".

Doctorate degree for Anneke Horstman

"Baby Boom induced somatic embryogenesis in Arabidopsis"

Doctorate degree for Alice Pajoro

"MADS dynamics, gene regulation in flower development by changes in chromatine structure and MADS domain protein binding"