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Regulation of Gene Expression during Plant Embryogenesis
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Somatic embryogenesis is a poorly understood process that is of value to agriculture because a means of regeneration, either by organogenesis or somatic embryogenesis, is necessary for genetic engineering for crop improvement of most plants. AGL15 is a protein that controls expression of genes, is most abundant during embryo development, and can promote somatic embryogenesis. The proposed work to identify genes directly and indirectly controlled by AGL15 will contribute to a better understanding of genetic processes controlling zygotic and somatic embryo development.
2010 Project Description
A graduate student who has been working on this project has completed and defended her thesis in late 2010, and has earned her Ph.D. A second graduate student working on an unrelated project has also gained experience in techniques to identify targets of transcription factors and he completed his Ph.D. in early 2010. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University. An undergraduate in the Agricultural Biotechnology program performed her independent research project in the lab and graduated in December 2010.
The project has produced data that has resulted in funding from the National Science Foundation (started 2009 and continuing 2010) and the United Soybean Board (started 2010) and these funds are supporting two new postdoctoral scholars who joined the lab in March 2010. The project has also led to ongoing collaborations and one publication from one of these collaborations in the past year.
We are continuing to use combinations of mutants, hormones and inhibitors of hormones to tease apart cross-talk between gene products and hormones in somatic embryogenesis. The hope is that work in the model plant Arabidopsis will contribute to an understanding of embryogenesis that can be applied to crop plants to facilitate recovery of transgenic plants by somatic embryo development.
In fact we have been performing work to test whether stable introduction of a soybean ortholog of a gene involved in embryogenesis in Arabidopsis will also promote somatic embryo formation in Glycine max and preliminary results look encouraging. This will allow extension of competency for regeneration by somatic embryogenesis to genotypes recalcitrant for the process.
We continue to analyze downstream targets of AGL15, a transcriptional regulator expressed during embryogenesis, and are extending what we've learned about the regulatory network to other embryo-expressed factors.
Tingsu Chen, Nihar Nayak, Susmita Maitra Majee, Jonathan Lowenson, Kim R. Schafermeyer, Alyssa C. Eliopoulos, Taylor D. Lloyd, Randy Dinkins, Sharyn E.Perry, Nancy R. Forsthoefel, Steven G. Clarke, Daniel M. Vernon, Zhaohui Sunny Zhou,Tomas Rejtar, and A. Bruce Downie. (2010) Substrates of the Arabidopsis thaliana PROTEIN ISOASPARTYL METHYLTRANSFERASE1 Identified Using Phage Display and Biopanning. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285: 37281-37292