Epigenetic temperature sensing in plants

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Prof B H Davies, Prof A Whitehouse, Dr J Aspden  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Our changing climate is already having a dramatic effect on the growth and development of the plants that support our entire civilisation. This is likely to be amplified as we await concerted action on climate change. It is therefore essential that we attempt to understand the mechanisms that enable factors such as increased temperature to affect plant performance. Understanding these mechanisms will allow us to engineer altered responses and thereby mitigate the negative effects. We have used a genetic screen to identify novel components of the mechanism that allows plants to decide when to flower in response to temperature. One of the novel genes that we identified directly links the epigenetic control of gene expression to temperature perception. In this project you will discover the underlying mechanism, identify more components and use our new understanding to engineer plants that respond differently to temperature. In addition, you will explore the biotechnological applications of the mechanism. You will join a collaborative team including plant developmental biologists, virologists and RNA biologists to apply advanced molecular genetic and genomic approaches to study this highly topical global challenge.

Funding Notes

Project is eligible for funding under the Gosden PhD Studentship scheme. The successful candidate will receive a PhD studentship for 4 years, covering fees at UK/EU level and stipend at research council level (£15,009).
Candidates should have/be expecting a 2.1 or above at undergraduate level in a relevant area. If English is not your first language, you will be required to meet our language entry requirements. The PhD is to start in Oct 2020.
Please apply online https://studentservices.leeds.ac.uk/pls/banprod/bwskalog_uol.P_DispLoginNon and include project title and supervisor name, and upload a CV and transcripts.


Lloyd JPB, Lang D, Zimmer A, Causier, B, Reski R, Davies B. The loss of SMG1 causes defects in quality control pathways in Physcomitrella patens. NAR (2018) 4:5822-5836

Causier B, Li Z, De Smet R, Lloyd JPB, Van de Peer Y, Davies B. Conservation of Nonsense Mediated mRNA Decay Complex Components Throughout Eukaryotic Evolution. Sci Rep. (2017) 7:16692.

Dolzblasz A, Nardmann J, Clerici E, Causier B, van der Graaff E, Chen J, Davies B, Werr W, Laux T. (2016) Stem cell regulation by Arabidopsis WOX genes. Mol Plant. S1674-2052(16)30029-6.

Airoldi CA, McKay M, Davies B. MAF2 Is Regulated by Temperature-Dependent Splicing and Represses Flowering at Low Temperatures in Parallel with FLM. PloS one (2015) 10:e0126516.

Causier B, Davies B. Flower development in the asterid lineage. Methods in Molecular Biology (2014) 1110:35-55.

Lloyd JPB and Davies B. SMG1 is an ancient nonsense-mediated mRNA decay effector (2013) The Plant Journal 76:800-810.
Rayson S, Ashworth M, de Torres Zabala M, Grant M, Davies, B. The salicylic acid dependent and independent effects of NMD in plants. Plant Signaling & Behavior (2012) 7:1434–1437.

Causier B., Lloyd J., Stevens L., Davies, B. TOPLESS co-repressor interactions and their evolutionary conservation in plants. Plant Signaling & Behavior (2012) 7:325 - 328.

Airoldi CA, Davies B. Gene duplication and the evolution of plant MADS-box transcription factors. J Genet Genomics (2012) 39:157-165.
Rayson S., Arciga-Reyes L., Wootton L., De Torres Zabala M., Truman W., Graham N., Grant M., Davies B. A role for nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in plants: pathogen responses are induced in Arabidopsis thaliana NMD mutants. PLoS One (2012) 7: e31917.

Causier B., Ashworth M., Guo W., Davies B. The TOPLESS interactome: a framework for gene repression in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology (2012) 158: 423-438.

Kieffer, M., Matser, V., Waites, R., Davies, B. TCP14 and TCP15 affect internode length and leaf shape in Arabidopsis. The Plant Journal (2011) 68:147-158.

Airoldi CA, Bergonzi S, Davies B. Single amino acid change alters the ability to specify male or female organ identity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (2010) 107:18898-902.

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