Laila’s research aims to reveal the mechanism at the cellular, molecular and genetic level that determines organ symmetry in plants, e.g. radial and bilateral symmetry foundation.
The establishment of ground symmetry during organ formation is a paramount aspect of multi-cellular development since it is strictly connected to organ function, thus contributing to fitness and evolution of species.
Laila’s research looks at identifying a conserved “organ symmetry core machinery” necessary and sufficient to control symmetry establishment across plant organs using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model, as well as across land species, including agronomically important crops. This “core” molecular framework comprises regulators of the cell-cycle machinery and the distribution of the phytohormone auxin.
By investigating how the control of cell division (either in orientation or in rate) and hormone dynamics crosstalk to one another, Laila aims to understand how the symmetry decision is made during early stages of organogenesis and then maintained.
The core cell-cycle machinery is highly conserved among multicellular organisms as is the use of concentration gradients of signals as patterning strategy. Therefore, it is conceivable that through understanding the mechanisms underlying symmetry formation in plant organs, this research will facilitate comparative studies into the evolution of symmetry establishment for the fitness of the species.
Moreover, with the key factors in hand, it will be possible to fine-tune organ physiology and productivity, thus pointing out directions for sustainable food production and crop adaptation to environmental changes.
Moubayidin L., Østergaard L. (2017)Gynoecium formation: an intimate and complicated relationship.Current opinion in genetics & development (45)Publisher's version: 0959-437X
Moubayidin L., Ostergaard L. (2014)Dynamic control of auxin distribution imposes a bilateral-to-radial symmetry switch during gynoecium developmentCurrent Biology (24)Publisher's version: 0960-9822
Moubayidin L., Østergaard L. (2015)Symmetry matters.New Phytologist (207)Publisher's version: 0028-646X