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 Grant to Barbara Baker and Jake Brunkard

diagram showing DCL4 influence on plant immunity
Barbara Baker and Jake Brunkard received a 3 year award from the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), for research on DCL4 (Dicer-like 4) regulation of plant innate immunity. They will study the mechanism of a newly discovered process that regulates plant immunity against pathogens and should provide direct insights into methods for engineering improved disease resistance in crop species. Click "Read more" for a information and pictures from the IGI open house, which featured presentations from the 2017 Awardees. Posted 01/18/2018.

Lewis Lab News - Awards, French Visitor

Ilea Chau, a graduate student in the Lewis Lab, received the Grace Kase Graduate Fellowship Award in 2017-2018, from UC-Berkeley's Plant and Microbial Biology Dept. This fellowship was established to support UC Berkeley graduate students pursuing research in plant biology or microbiology. Ilea received it for her "excellent academic and rotation performance" during her first year as a graduate student. Amgen scholar Taylor Harris, from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, spent the summer of 2017 working in the Lewis Lab, focusing on identifying resistance in tomato to the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. She received an award for her poster presentation at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Assistant Professor Alice Boulanger, a Lewis Lab collaborator from the Universite Paul Sabatier and INRA in Toulouse, France, studies transcriptional changes during the Xanthomonas infection cycle and characterizes bacterial genetic programs specific to the infection process. She received a grant to visit the Lewis Lab for a week. Posted 01/12/2018.

Three Papers from the Lewis Lab

Phloem-limited pathogens can cause devastating diseases, such as citrus greening, but are understudied. In a review article, Bendix, C and Lewis, JD (2017) The enemy within: phloem-limited pathogens, Molecular Plant Pathology 19: 238-254, they identify commonalities in the virulence strategies of diverse phloem-limited pathogens, which might help identify new means of controlling them. In Baudin, M, Hassan, JA, Schreiber, K and Lewis, JD (2017) Analysis of the ZAR1 immune complex reveals determinants for immunity and molecular interactions, Plant Physiology 174: 2038-2053, the group established a transient assay in Nicotiana benthamiana in order to further refine the interactions among a bacterial effector protein HopZ1a, and the two plant proteins that recognize it, the pseudokinase ZED1 and the Resistance protein ZAR1. They additionally showed that ZAR1-mediated recognition is conserved from the Brassicaceae to the Solanaceae. Lastly, Gong, Y, Desveaux, D, Guttman, DS and Lewis, JD (2017) A practical guide to Quantitative Interactor Screening with Next-Generation Sequencing (QIS-SEQ), published in a special issue "Biological Networks and Pathway Analysis", in Methods in Molecular Biology, describes a high throughput and quantitative yeast two hybrid screening method. Click "Read more" for links to these papers. Posted 01/10/2018.

News from the Coleman-Derr Lab

Yi Wang accepted a position as a faculty member at Southwestern University in Chongqing, China, where he will lead a research program developing tools for plant genomics and bioinformatics. Daniel Naylor recently received his Ph.D. from the Plant and Microbial Biology Department at UC-Berkeley. He is now interviewing for positions in industry and academic labs and hopes to continue research in environmental microbiology and contribute to solving the major challenges facing world agriculture. Daniel and Devin published a review entitled “Drought Stress and Root-Associated Bacterial Communities” in Frontiers in Plant Science. Click "Read more" for a link to their review. Posted 01/10/2018.

Former PGEC PI writes Research Highlights and Tweets for The Plant Journal

Since mid-2017, Sheila McCormick has been selecting a paper for the cover of each issue of The Plant Journal, and writing a synopsis of the work, after interviewing the authors. She also Tweets about selected papers (@ThePlantJournal). Click "Read more" for links to the Research Highlights. Posted 01/09/2018.

New Graduate Student in Lewis Lab

Ilea Chau has joined the Lewis Lab for her dissertation work. She is identifying bacterial virulence factors that are recognized in wild tomato species, and is building tools for functional genomics. Her work will help characterize the molecular mechanisms of resistance, and protect tomato from Pseudomonas syringae infection. Posted 09/19/2017.

Dr. Carine Marshall!

PMB graduate student Carine Marshall completed her PhD in August 2017. Her thesis is titled "Control of Alternative Splicing by SICKLE/WARP2 is Required for Adaptation of the Plant Circadian Clock to Cool Temperatures". Great work Carine! She will remain in the lab as a postdoctoral researcher until the end of 2017, to follow up on her thesis work. Posted 09/18/2017.

Hake Lab: a New Grant and Two New Papers in Plant Cell

Sarah Hake is co-PI on a grant awarded from the NSF Plant Genome Research Program. Andrea Eveland, at the Danforth Center in St. Louis, is the lead PI. They will study gene regulatory networks at boundary regions in maize. And the papers: Rosa, M, Abraham-Juarez MJ, Lewis MW, Fonseca JP, Tian W, Ramirez V, Luan S, Pauly M, Hake S. (2017) The Maize MID-COMPLEMENTING ACTIVITY Homolog CELL NUMBER REGULATOR13/NARROW ODD DWARF Coordinates Organ Growth and Tissue Patterning. Plant Cell 29:474-490. and Tsuda, K, Abraham-Juarez, MJ, Maeno, A, Dong, Z, Aromdee, D, Meeley, R, Shiroishi, T, Nonomura, K and Hake, S. (2017) KNOTTED1 co-factors, BLH12 and BLH14, regulate internode patterning and vein anastomosis in maize. Plant Cell. 29:1105-1118. Click "Read more" to read the abstracts. Posted 09/18/2017.


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