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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 the Lopez-Juez 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 we hope understanding how light drives leaf and chloroplast development will help us identify the natural growth control mechanisms. Equally In dicot 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 use of mutants, through whole genome expression studies (microarrays), and through systems approaches (in collaboration with colleagues in our Department of Computer Sciences). Projects will address one of two areas: 1) Central regulators of chloroplast biogenesis. These are being sought through novel mutants and through expression analysis. 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.

Further details:


Jarvis, P and Lopez-Juez E (2013) Chlroplast biogenesis and homeostasis. Nat. Revs. Mol. Cell Biol. (December issue)
Enfissi, E.et al. (2010) Integrative transcript and metabolite analysis of DE-ETIOLATED1 down-regulated tomato fruit reveals the underlying metabolic and cellular events associated with their nutritionally enhanced chemotype. Plant Cell 22: 1190-1215
Bögre L, Magyar Z, López-Juez E (2008) New clues to organ size control in plants. Genome Biol. 9:226.
López-Juez E, et al. (2008) Distinct light-initiated gene expression and cell cycle programs in the shoot apex and cotyledons of Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 20: 947-968.
López-Juez E, Bowyer JR, Sakai T (2007) Distinct leaf developmental and gene expression responses to light quantity depend on blue-photoreceptor or plastid-derived signals, and can occur in the absence of phototropins. Planta 227: 113-123.

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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