Siobhan Brady

Presenter: Siobhan Brady, University of California, Davis

Nitrogen is essential for plant growth, and insufficient nitrogen leads to decreased agricultural yield. While nitrogen fertilisers increase plant productivity, they can have a negative impact on the environment.

Nitrogen availability is perceived by nitrate transporters in the plant roots, and this results in changes in gene expression. Despite their importance in this adaptive response, only a small number of nitrogen metabolic transcription factors are known.

The plant vascular system supports the transport of water and nutrients throughout the plant body, and the xylem cells contained within this tissue are unusual in the fact that they undergo terminal differentiation. While the genes regulating this process are well characterised, much less is known about the dynamic behaviour underlying the transition to xylem cell differentiation.

I will highlight a number of approaches that, collectively, have led to the identification of a number of nitrogen transcription factors as well as a biostable switch that underlies xylem cell differentiation.

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