Prof Caroline Dean
Cell and Developmental Biology
Caroline’s research investigates the genetic control of vernalization within plants which influences the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth.
She is interested in understanding how temperature signals integrate within the regulatory networks which control plant reproduction.
Caroline’s research involves deciphering the role of epigenetics on expression of the floral repressor gene FLC, using Arabidopsis for her research work and translating this into other Brassicas.
- The mechanisms and pathways for controlling flowering time through vernalisation
- Temperature regulation of flowering in Brassicas
- Epigenetic control of the floral repressor gene, FLC
March 2015 - BBSRC Excellence in Bioscience Award Lecture
Caroline Dean's 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 them into the dissection of conserved chromatin silencing mechanisms involving non-coding RNAs.
Their 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. They analyse how these pathways intersect during development, in different environmental conditions, and through microevolution.
This takes them into the analysis of what regulates reproductive strategy in plants, which forms part of the Genes in the Environment ISP Theme 3: understanding how temperature signals integrate into regulatory networks controlling development. They use Arabidopsis as a reference to establish the regulatory hierarchy and then translate their findings into other species, particularly Brassica species.
FLC regulation has become a paradigm for the dissection of how non-coding RNAs, particularly antisense transcripts, mediate chromatin regulation. This work is therefore central to the GEN ISP Theme 1 - which aims to understand how genomes are regulated. It is also providing important insight into evolutionary mechanisms, as modulation of FLC regulation is an important determinant of Arabidopsis adaptation.
Internationally-recognised scientist honoured with Royal Society postread more
Absence of warm temperature spikes revealed as driver for vernalisationread more
Nature communications 9 p639
Publisher’s version: 10.1038/s41467-018-03065-7
Fine-tuning timing: natural variation informs the mechanistic basis of the switch to flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Journal of Experimental Botany 68 p5439-5452
Publisher’s version: 10.1093/jxb/erx270
Genes & Development 31 p2115-2120
Publisher’s version: 10.1101/gad.305227.117
Annual review of cell and developmental biology 33 p555-575
Publisher’s version: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100616-060546
- Dr Hongchun Yang Research Assistant
- Dr Jo Hepworth Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Philip Wolff Postdoctoral Scientist
- Ms Shuqin Chen Lab Attendant
- Dr Yusheng Zhao Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Congyao Xu Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Xiaofeng Fang Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Yaoxi Li Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Pawel Mikulski Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Pan Zhu Postdoctoral Scientist
- Jade Doughty Postgraduate Student
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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