Mortar and pestle

Crushing Plants in the Lab

Marissa and China
Carine Marshall (Left) and Frank Harmon (Right)
Flowers

Arabidopsis (Fletcher Lab)

Jana Hassan of the Lewis Lab works with samples
Tester Slide II

PGEC Greenhouse

China Lunde working with a developing corn ear

arabidopsisThe Plant Gene Expression Center (PGEC) conducts fundamental research in plant molecular biology. Researchers are elucidating the signal transduction pathways responsible for the perception of environmental and cellular cues. We are exploring disease resistance, light perception, the circadian clock, vegetative growth and the plant-associated microbiome. Essential genes and the networks within which they operate are elucidated using molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches.

The PGEC is a collaboration of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Plant & Microbial Biology Department of the University of California, Berkeley. The Center's principal investigators are faculty at UC Berkeley, and research opportunities are available in our laboratories for graduate and undergraduate students.

New Paper from Harmon Lab

The endogenous circadian clock enables plants to anticipate daily and seasonal changes in the environment. This paper shows that the SICKLE (SIC) gene is necessary for two fundamental circadian clock properties: setting by external temperature cues and maintenance of a constant rate over a range of temperature conditions. The cause of clock phenotypes in sic mutants is perturbation of an unknown aspect of messenger RNA processing needed for control of transcript alternative splicing. These findings show that control of alternative splicing is critical for plants to actively perceive and respond to their temperature environment. The authors are graduate student Carine Marshall, UC Berkeley student Virginia Tartaglio, research associate Maritza Duarte, and Frank Harmon. "The Arabidopsis sickle Mutant Exhibits Altered Circadian Clock Responses to Cool Temperatures and Temperature-Dependent Alternative Splicing" Plant Cell 28: 2560-2575. First Published on September 13, 2016; doi:10.1105/tpc.16.00223 Click "Read more" to read the abstract. Posted 11/11/2016.

Jake Brunkard Receives NIH Early Independence Award!!

Jake is a 2015 Ph.D. graduate from Pat Zambryski's lab in the Dept. of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC-Berkeley, and is now a postdoc in the Hake Lab. Early Independence Awards support exceptional junior scientists, allowing them to move immediately into independent research positions. Jake's group will be working on how plants sense nutrient availability, focusing on understanding how the highly conserved TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN (TOR) metabolic signaling network responds to amino acids, and how TOR impacts plant physiology and development. These discoveries will shed light on the evolution of metabolic signaling and, especially, amino acid sensors in eukaryotes. Click "Read more" for more details about the Early Independence Award Program and about Jake's project. Posted 10/06/2016.

Lewis Lab Summer Activities

Cover of Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, volume 56
In July several members of the Lewis Lab attended the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (IS-MPMI) in Portland OR. Jennifer Lewis edited a special issue on Plant Immunity for Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, Jana Hassan did the cover art (right panel), and the lab also contributed a review article on the molecular mechanisms of effector recognition. Click "Read more" for details about the poster presentations and the review article. Posted 09/27/2016.

New Postdocs in Quail and Hake Labs

Eduardo Gonzalez Grandio joined the Quail lab in July and Sam Leiboff joined the Hake Lab in September. Click "Read more" to find out more about their previous research experiences and what they will be working on at the PGEC. Posted 09/12/2016.

Last? Paper from McCormick Lab

S-Adenosylmethionine, a methyl donor for diverse biological reactions, is synthesized from methionine and ATP. In Arabidopsis, one of the four S-adenosylmethionine synthetase genes, METHIONINE ADENOSYLTRANSFERASE3 (MAT3), is highly expressed in pollen, suggesting that it might play an important role. Indeed, mat3 mutants have impaired pollen tube growth and reduced seed set. Metabolomics analyses confirmed that mat3 pollen and pollen tubes overaccumulate methionine. As a consequence, mat3 pollen has several metabolite profiles different from those of wild type, and disruption of methionine metabolism in mat3 pollen affected transfer RNA and histone methylation levels. Click "Read more" for a link to the publication. Posted 09/12/2016.

More Sequences for Coleman-Derr Lab

A Community Science Project, awarded by the Joint Genome Institute of the Department of Energy, will fund DNA and RNA sequencing, as well as metabolic profiling, of Actinobacteria associated with the roots of sorghum and rice, under both normal and drought conditions. Click "Read more" for details. Posted 09/12/2016.

Harmon Lab News - visiting student and new publication

Cian-Cian Hsieh, a student from National Taiwan University, is visiting the lab this fall. She will be testing whether cold tolerance in maize depends on alternative splicing of key transcripts. To study the relationship between the circadian clock and heterosis, the Harmon lab collaborates with the Z. Jeffrey Chen lab at the University of Texas-Austin. Results from this collaboration were recently published in PL0S Genetics. Ko, D.K., D. Rohozinski, Q. Song, S.H. Taylor, T.E. Juenger, F.G. Harmon, and Z.J. Chen (2016). Temporal shift of circadian-mediated gene expression and carbon fixation contributes to biomass heterosis in maize hybrids. PLoS Genet. 12,e1006197. Click "Read more" for a link to the publication. Posted 08/25/2016.

Welcome to PMB Rotation Students

First year graduate students in the Dept. of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC-Berkeley spend 10 weeks each in 3 different labs, before selecting a home for their thesis project. For the first rotation period, we have 4 students: Michael Busche, who was an undergraduate at Purdue, is rotating in the Fletcher Lab, Lily Gu, who was an undergraduate at Ball State, is rotating in the Lewis Lab; Dhondup Lhama, who was a MCB undergraduate at UC-Berkeley, is rotating in the Hake Lab, and Dhruv Patel, who was an undergraduate at Cornell, is rotating in the Harmon Lab. Posted 08/23/2016.

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