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Systems approaches towards understanding temperature signalling in plants

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Abstract: Plants are sessile, and must therefore adapt their growth and development to their environment. A major environmental variable is ambient temperature. Annual variations in temperature provide plants with important seasonal information, and 24 h temperature cycles are important for entraining the circadian clock. Temperature extremes are also major threats to crop yield, with yields decreasing about 10 % for every 1 ºC increase in mean temperature.

Despite the importance and interest of temperature signalling in plants, very little is known about the underlying mechanisms by which temperature is sensed and how this information is integrated into development. To address this question, our laboratory has adopted a variety of forward and reverse genetics approaches to identify key nodes in the temperature perception pathways. These have revealed an important connection between chromatin status and temperature signalling. Because temperature has global scale effects on a large proportion of the transcriptome, this problem is ideally suited to being addressed with systems biology approaches, and I will outline some of our progress in this area as well as topics that are currently under study and would make good MPhil projects.


The G-Box Transcriptional Regulatory Code in Arabidopsis. Ezer D, Shepherd SJK , Brestovitsky A, Dickinson P, Cortijo S, Charoensawan V, Box MS, Biswas S, Jaeger KE, Wigge PA. Plant Physiol. 2017 Oct;175(2):628-640. doi: 10.1104/pp.17.01086. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

Tradict enables accurate prediction of eukaryotic transcriptional states from 100 marker genes. Biswas S, Kerner K, Teixeira PJPL , Dangl JL, Jojic V, Wigge PA. Nat Commun. 2017 May 5;8:15309. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15309.

Phytochromes function as thermosensors in Arabidopsis. Jung JH, Domijan M, Klose C, Biswas S, Ezer D, Gao M, Khattak AK, Box MS, Charoensawan V, Cortijo S, Kumar M, Grant A, Locke JC, Schäfer E, Jaeger KE, Wigge PA. Science. 2016 Nov 18;354(6314):886-889. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

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