- Plant genetics
Plant growth is tightly regulated by several proteins, including those of the PEAPOD/KINASEINDUCIBLE DOMAIN INTERACTING (PPD/KIX)-complex, which controls seedpod development and
the size and shape of leaves, the energy-producing factories of the plants. Plants in which the expression of the complex is abolished have propeller-like rosettes and enlarged dome-shaped leaves. The involvement of the PPD/KIX-complex in distinct developmental processes indicates that the expression of the complex members needs to be tightly regulated during leaf development in a time and place specific manner. Despite the extended knowledge on the mode of action of this complex, it is unknown how it is regulated transcriptionally in relation to leaf growth. The proposed project aims to unravel the upstream regulatory network starting from how the expression of the core member of the complex, PPD2, is controlled. Using a panoply of computational and experimental techniques, we will identify the elements in the PPD2 sequence (promoter/introns) essential for gene expression, specifically in the leaf, and the proteins binding them. This will provide a better understanding on how the PPD-complex is regulated at a transcriptional level and allow us to discover new genes with a key role in plant growth, focussing on leaf size and shape control. As this knowledge can be exploited to optimize biomass and food production on earth, this
research is of interest for both a scientific and non-scientific public.