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.

Hake Lab Awarded New NSF Grant to study Sex Determination

The 3 year grant, for $370,000, is entitled "RoL: Understanding the Evolution of Maize Sex Determination through Combined Changes in Transcriptional Dynamics, Hormone Levels and Genetic Networks". Click "Read more" for more information. Posted 07/11/2019.

Research Highlight written by Sheila McCormick about work from the WRRC

image of plant journal cover, showing gantry cranes
As previously posted here, former PI 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. Her most recent Research Highlight is about a Gene Stacking Method from the groups of Roger Thilmony and Jim Thomson, in the WRRC (other wing of the building). Click "Read more" for a link to this Research Highlight, and to their paper. Posted 08/06/2018.

Lewis Lab Awarded Research Grant

The Lewis Lab received a Chau Hoi Shuen Women in Science research grant for collaborative research with the lab of Dr. Weihua Tang, at the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Science. Coincidentally, Weihua was previously a postdoc at the PGEC, in the McCormick Lab. The award will support the research of Dr. Yuan Chen in the Lewis Lab, and will facilitate interactions with the Tang lab. They will use Brachypodium as a model system for the study of plant disease and immunity in wheat. Posted 08/06/2018.

Three PMB students join PGEC labs

Wassim Hage, Nanticha Lutt, and Snigdha Chatterjee joined the PGEC in May. Wassim will be advised by Jennifer Fletcher, Nanticha will be co-advised by Sarah Hake and Jake Brunkard and Snigdha will be co-advised by Barbara Baker and Jake Brunkard. Click "Read more" for details about their Ph.D. projects. Posted 06/16/2018.

Congratulations to Ilea Chau, Graduate Student in the Lewis Lab

Ilea Chau passed her qualifying exam in late March and received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in early April, which will fund her for 3 years. Click "Read more" to find out more about her dissertation research. Posted 06/13/2018.

New Paper from Coleman-Derr Lab about the Sorghum Root Microbiome and Drought

Drought remains a critical obstacle to meeting the food demands of the coming century. Understanding the interplay between drought stress, plant development, and the plant microbiome is central to meeting this challenge. They demonstrate that drought causes enrichment of a distinct set of microbes in roots, composed almost entirely of monoderms, which lack outer membranes and have thick cell walls. They showed that under drought, roots increase the production of many metabolites, and that monoderms inhabiting the drought-treated rhizosphere exhibit increased activity of transporters connected with some of these same compounds. The discovery of this drought-induced enrichment and associated shifts in metabolite exchange between plant and microbe reveal a potential blueprint for manipulating plant microbiomes for improved crop fitness. Click "Read more" for a link to the paper. Posted 06/13/2018.

New paper from the Hake Lab and their collaborators at Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China

GIF1 (growth regulating factor-interacting factor 1) is a transcription factor. In Arabidopsis, mutants of GIF1 have narrow leaves. In the maize mutant the leaves are narrow, but the meristems are also indeterminate. In Zhang D, Sun W, Singh R, Zheng Y, Cao Z, Li M, Lunde C, Hake S, Zhang Z. (2018). GRF-interacting factor1 regulates shoot architecture and meristem determinacy in maize. Plant Cell. 30:360-374, they identify downstream targets for maize GIF1 that might be responsible for the dual phenotypes in maize. Click "Read more" for the abstract and a link to the paper. Posted 03/16/2018.

New paper from the Lewis Lab highlights environmental contribution to plant-pathogen interactions.

Jana A. Hassan, Roberto de la Torre-Roche, Jason C. White, and Jennifer D. Lewis. 2018. “Soil mixture composition alters Arabidopsis susceptibility to Pseudomonas syringae infection.” Plant Direct 2(2): e00044. DOI: 10.1002/pld3.44.. Click "Read more" for details. Posted 03/15/2018.


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