Dr Yalin Liu

Postdoctoral Scientist Genes in the Environment

Yalin is working on the mechanism underlying thermosensitivity of male reproduction.

Temperature sensitivity of male reproduction is an important issue for studies in both male germ development and plant breeding.

Large scale of chromatin reprogramming is performed in plant germ cell development. The molecular mechanism of heat sensitivity during male reproduction is unclear.

The whole tissues of flower buds contain several different types of cells, which makes it difficult to identify the thermosensitive cells. The Xiaoqi Feng lab has found that tapetum cells, the innermost layer of the anther wall which have direct contact with the developing gametophytes, are particularly sensitive to heat.

Additionally, preliminary studies in the Feng lab have implicated that the epigenetic RNA-directed DNA methylation(RdDM) pathway could promote tapetal thermotolerance.

Yalin is investigating the genetic basis of tapetal thermosensitivity, to uncover how much tapetal defects caused by heat underly male sterility at high temperature.

She will also analyse how tapetal thermosensitivity is regulated by RdDM pathway and how RdDM confers tapetal heat tolerance. This project will enhance our understanding of male sensitivity to heat and provide mechanisms for male thermotolerance mediated by RdDM pathway.