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. This forms part of the GEN ISP theme 3: understanding how temperature signals integrate into regulatory networks controlling development. We use Arabidopsis as a reference to establish the regulatory hierarchy and then translate our 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.
John Innes Centre scientists remove reliance on seasonality in new line of broccoli – potentially doubling crop productionread more
A step closer to understanding the ‘switch’ that triggers flowering in plantsread more
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
- Dr Hongchun Yang Research Assistant
- Dr Rebecca Bloomer Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Joanna Hepworth Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Philip Woolf Postdoctoral Scientist
- Ms Shuqin Chen Lab Attendant
- Dr Yusheng Zhao Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Julia Questa Postdoctoral Training Fellow
- Dr Congyao Xu Postdoctoral Scientist
- Ms Jade Doughty Postgraduate Student
- Emily Hawkes Postgraduate Student
- Ms Eleri Tudor Postgraduate Student
- Dr Rea Antoniou-Kourounioti Postdoctoral Scientist
Made Dame Cammander of the British Empire (CBE) Queen's Birthday Honours List 2016
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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