Prof Caroline Dean
Cell and Developmental Biology
Our research has focused on the timing of the transition to reproductive development in plants. The acceleration of flowering by prolonged cold is a classic epigenetic process called vernalization. The study of this and parallel genetic pathways has led us into the dissection of conserved chromatin silencing mechanisms involving non-coding RNAs.
Our recent work has focused on a mechanistic understanding of vernalization and on the pathways that determine a requirement for vernalization. These pathways converge on a gene that encodes a floral repressor called FLC. We analyse how these pathways intersect during development, in different environmental conditions, and through microevolution. This takes us into the analysis of what regulates reproductive strategy in plants. We use Arabidopsis as a reference to establish the regulatory hierarchy and then translate our findings into other species.
FLC regulation has become a paradigm for the dissection of how non-coding RNAs, particularly antisense transcripts, mediate chromatin regulation. It is also providing important insight into evolutionary mechanisms, as modulation of FLC regulation is an important determinant of Arabidopsis adaptation.
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Mutually exclusive sense–antisense transcription at FLC facilitates environmentally induced gene repression
Nature Communications 7 p13031
Publisher’s version: 10.1038/ncomms13031
Cell Reports 16 p3087-3096
Publisher’s version: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.08.045
Plant Methods 12 p13
Publisher’s version: 10.1186/s13007-016-0114-x
Physical coupling of activation and derepression activities to maintain an active transcriptional state at FLC.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 p9369-74
Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1605733113
Nucleotide polymorphism affecting FLC expression underpins heading date variation in horticultural brassicas.
Plant Journal N/A pN/A
Publisher’s version: 10.1111/tpj.13221
- Deborah Cox Lab Attendant
- Dr Rebecca Bloomer Postdoctoral Scientist
- Shuqin Chen Lab Attendant
- Dr Yusheng Zhao Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Danling Zhu Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Hongchun Yang Research Assistant
- Dr Zhe Wu Postdoctoral Scientist
- Huamei Wang Support Specialist
- Stefanie Nunes Rosa Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Julia Questa Postdoctoral Training Fellow
- Susan Duncan Research Fellow
- Dr Congyao Xu Postdoctoral Scientist
Non-resident Faculty of the Salk Institute, 2012-18
German Leopoldina Academy, elected April 2008
Officer of the Order of the British Empire, 2004
Fellow of the Royal Society, elected 2004
Genetics Society Medal, 2002
Elected a European Molecular Biology Organisation Fellow, 1999
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