Center for Infectious Disease and Vector Research

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CEPCEB Seminars BPSC 252

Stacey Harmer

Friday, February 8, 2013
Noon1 p.m.


Genomics Building , Genomics Auditorium RM 1102A
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Stacey Harmer
University of California, Davis


A clockwork green: understanding the plant circadian clock and its outputs



The Harmer lab is using genetic, genomic, and biochemical approaches to better understand both the molecular nature of the circadian system in higher plants and how it influences plant physiology.  Circadian rhythms are widespread in nature, found in most eukaryotes and some prokaryotes.  Although the molecular components of circadian oscillators are not conserved across divergent taxa, certain principles are shared among all eukaryotic clocks that have been studied.  For example, multiple interlocked transcriptional feedback loops are key to oscillator function in fungi, animals, and plants.  In addition, in many organisms central clock proteins also play direct roles in control of metabolic pathways and stress responses, with the consequent modulation of multiple signaling and developmental pathways by the circadian system.  The plant clock has recently been modeled as a 'repressilator'-like network, made up predominantly of inhibitors of transcription.  However, we have recently identified a small family of Myb-like transcription factors as essential activators of transcription that specifically promote expression of evening-phased clock genes.  Intriguingly, we have shown that related members of this family control daily rhythms in levels of the growth hormone auxin, providing a mechanistic link between the clock and growth control pathways.  In ongoing work, we are using sunflower as model system to investigate how daily rhythms in growth are coordinated by the light, hormone, and clock signaling networks. A better understanding of the molecular nature of the oscillator and how it interacts with signaling and metabolic networks will provide insight into how plants adapt to and thrive in an ever-changing environment.

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Institute for Integrative Genome Biology

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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
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Institute of Integrative Genomics Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

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