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Biogenesis of chloroplasts and development of leaves under light control

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Research in our lab addresses two of the fundamental biogenesis processes that make plants essential for humanity: the development of leaves and the biogenesis of chloroplasts in leaf cells. Development of leaves takes place continuously through the life span of plants, at the shoot apical meristem, a stem cell niche. A natural driver of development is light: the shoot meristem produces leaves only in its presence: in the dark the meristem is arrested. Plants possess informational photoreceptors, and understanding how light drives leaf and chloroplast development will help us identify the natural growth control mechanisms. Equally in flowering plants,during the first dark to light transition, chloroplast develop from a non-photosynthetic precursor plastid type. Both processes take place through the control of nuclear gene expression, the molecular basis of which we are trying to unravel, through the identification and use of novel mutants, through whole genome expression studies, and through "big data" and systems approaches. Projects will address one of two areas: 1) Central regulators of chloroplast biogenesis. 2) The control of meristem activity, cell proliferation and growth during leaf initiation in response to light. These will be studied in either a model plant (Arabidopsis) or in developing leaves of wheat, a major human staple food, with the long term goal of contributing to an improvement of plant productivity.


Mohammed B, Farahi Bilooei S, Dóczi R, Grove E, Railo S, Palme K, Ditengou FA, Bögre L, López-Juez E (2018) Converging light, energy and hormonal signalling control meristem activity, leaf initiation and growth. Plant Physiology 176: 1365-1381.
Hills AC, Khan S, López-Juez E (2015) Chloroplast biogenesis-associated nuclear genes: Control by plastid signals evolved prior to their regulation as part of photomorphogenesis. Frontiers in Plant Science 6:1078.
Jarvis, P and Lopez-Juez E (2013) Chlroplast biogenesis and homeostasis. Nat. Revs. Mol. Cell Biol. 14: 787-802.

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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