Towards understanding the molecular basis of plant architecture
The basic strategy of plant development is different from that of animals. Plants start their life from a simple structure and continue morphogenesis throughout their lifetime. The key to this lifecycle is the activity of stem cells in the meristem. In principle, the meristem has an indeterminate activity and continues to produce next order meristems to establish an elaborate structure. However, each meristem eventually proceeds to a final determinate fate, the floral meristem, and becomes a flower for reproduction. Thus, the timing of the change from indeterminate to determinate phase is critical for plant architecture, in particular, inflorescence structure, and successful reproduction. The aim of our research is to understand the molecular basis of the regulation of meristem phase change timing. We use rice inflorescence development as a model system and identified several genes that play critical roles in this process. Currently we are on the way to fully understand molecular and genetic roles of these critical regulators. Furthermore, we study a bryophyte (Marchantia polymorpha), to reveal possible ancestral roles of the regulators.
Laboratory website URL: http://www.lifesci.tohoku.ac.jp/PlantDev/