The Dean lab are collaborating with Professor Martin Howard, to model both vernalization and the autonomous pathway.
With ERC funding they are modelling the chromatin dynamics regulating the epigenetic silencing of FLC by prolonged cold.
We are also exploring the thermosensory inputs in this mechanism to understand how plants integrate complex temperature profiles over weeks and months.
Modelling of the consequences of the polymorphism conferring natural variation in FLC silencing, namely requirement for longer winter, has enabled us to determine which aspects of the Polycomb mechanism are attenuated.
The Dean lab are also addressing whether quantitative changes in FLC expression in ambient temperatures occurs through regulation of co-transcriptional processing linked to chromatin changes via a bistable, cell-autonomous switch or a quantitative rheostat mechanism.