Comparative Genomics of Solanaceae Meristems (GENOSOME)


A trilateral genomic project between France, Germany and Spain


Plant meristems initiate all parts of the plant and play a major role in the establishment of plant architecture. The project aims at exploiting natural diversity in meristem activity and organization within the Solanaceae family to gain insight into the mechanisms underlying meristem function. Knowledge derived from Arabidopsis will be directly applied to plants of the Solanaceae family, including species of great economical importance like tomato and potato, to enable the study of specific developmental programs such as tuber formation. To achieve these goals the following studies will be conducted: Comparative analyses between Arabidopsis and the Solanaceae family will be performed by analyzing the expression of promoter-reporter gene fusions and by over-expressing the corresponding regulatory genes. Normalized meristem-specific libraries will be prepared and dedicated meristem-chips will be produced. Transcriptome analyses will be performed on those microarrays to obtain general insights in the patterns of gene expression characteristic for the different meristems. Subsequently, a thorough functional analysis will be performed by de-regulation of candidate gene expression using tissue-specific promoters, to define regulatory pathways common to all meristematic cells and specific networks to specialized meristems.

Three major meristem-associated developmental processes will be investigated:

  • axillary meristem initiation
  • meristem identity, i.e. developmental transitions determining a change in meristem cell fate like during transition from vegetative to inflorescence meristem, or transition from the stolon meristem into a tuber.
  • bud outhgrowth, i.e. those determining a change in meristem cell division and activity, as during tuber sprouting or axillary meristem outgrowth.
These developmental processes, are of major agronomic importance since they determine fruit harvest and tuber yield, playing important roles in plant architecture, increased photo-assimilate export to the developing fruit/tuber sinks, and prolonged shelf storage of the tubers.

For details about partners see the Organisation page.

 

potato blossoms
potato blossoms

 

potatoes
potatoes

 

tomato
tomato