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Roles of splicing in plant reproductive development

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MADS -box transcription factors regulate several aspects of plant reproductive development, such as the transition from vegetative to reproductive phase and floral organ formation. Although this gene family has been extensively studied in plants, relatively little attention has been given to the influence of splicing on the evolution and the regulation of MADS -box transcription factors. I will present some of my previous work that provides two examples of how splicing can effect protein activity, by influencing protein-protein interaction specificity. In one case a splicing error, around 120 million years ago, introduced an additional amino acid at a crucial protein-protein interaction interface and thereby changed a MADS -box protein’s ability to specify reproductive organs. In a second example I will show how environmental conditions can influence a splice site to modulate the availability of a MADS -box transcription factor involved in the decision to flower.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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