The Dean lab is investigating the molecular control of flowering time, focusing specifically on the acceleration of flowering by prolonged cold, a process known as vernalization.
Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system we are analysing genes conferring a vernalization requirement and are identifying and characterising genes that mediate a vernalization response. A central regulator in flowering and vernalization is FLC, which represses the floral transition. We are focusing on pathways that promote and repress FLC expression. It turns out that FLC regulation provides an excellent system in which to define conserved chromatin regulatory pathways. We aim to understand the molecular basis of these different pathways, how their interaction antagonistically regulates a common target and how this interaction changes throughout the life-cycle and during the evolution of different flowering variants.
We plan to translate knowledge emerging from this system into manipulating vernalization in different plants, focusing on Brassica (collaboratively with Judith Irwin) and wheat and barley (collaboratively with David Laurie).
In the role of Section Head, Caroline Dean oversees the Plant-Environment Interactions Section in the Plant Biology Faculty, including advising on the division of the Section into topics and the selection of suitable Faculty Members who actively review the literature in each of the topic areas.
The Faculty comprises Heads of Faculty, Heads of Section, Faculty Members and Associate Faculty Members, as well as an International Advisory Board.
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