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.
Cause or Consequence? Scientists help to settle an epigenetic debateread more
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Publisher’s version: 10.7554/eLife.06620
Flowering Locus C's Lessons: Conserved Chromatin Switches Underpinning Developmental Timing and Adaptation.
Plant Physiology 168 (4) p1237-45
Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.15.00496
Publisher’s version: 10.7554/eLife.07205
Plant Journal 10.1111/tpj.12869 pepub
Publisher’s version: 10.1111/tpj.12869
- 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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