Cluster of Excellence, University of Freiburg

Epigenetic adaption of stem cell activity in the plant root meristem to environmental signals

Prof. Dr. Thomas Laux (CIBSS-PI), Institute of Biology III – Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plants (Faculty of Biology), University of Freiburg

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Roots play an essential role in plant productivity, taking up water and nutrients, anchoring the plant and storing food and nutrients. The root can adapt to changing environmental conditions such as drought or nutrient deficiency. This project aims at elucidating how root stem cell activity adapts to external conditions to sustain efficient plant growth. During the last two decades, many regulators of plant stem cells have been identified and recent discoveries indicate an essential role of chromatin regulation for stem cell function. However, little is understood how these activities are integrated and how they adapt to environmental conditions. Novel microfluidic and imaging technologies, together with protocols to study the contribution of a single cell to the behaviour of a cell community will be combined to tackle these questions.