Metabolism and Development

Dr. Vanessa Wahl’s group focuses on how metabolic and nutritional status affects developmental transitions in plants. In particular, we are interested in processes at the shoot apical meristem (SAM) that regulate meristem size and the timing of the floral transition. We use Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system in order to understand basic mechanisms. We are also applying this research to study the regulation of developmental transitions in the crop species Solanum tuberosum (potato).

The floral transition is a key developmental process, and is tightly connected to available resources. We have previously published on how a plant’s sucrose status is integrated into the regulation of flowering time via the trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana (Wahl et al., Science, 2013) and are now further characterizing this pathway’s function in several follow-up projects.

We were also able to identify how a plant’s nitrogen (N) nutrition regulates flowering via nitrate inducible components of the flowering network in the shoot apical meristem. We are working to understand the underlying mechanisms both in Arabidopsis thaliana and Solanum tuberosum.

In addition to these major topics we are running a few collaborative projects, requiring our scientific and technical skills (e.g. RNA in situ hybridization). 

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