Arabidopsis 2010 Project: Development of a Genome-Scale Cell Type-Specific Gene Expression Map
Funded by the National Science Foundation, Arabidopsis 2010 grant #0820842
Pattern formation in developmental fields is a dynamic process. It involves generation of specific cell types in a correct spatio-temporal sequence. Therefore, deciphering gene networks that underlie cell fate transitions requires new approaches aimed at assaying genome scale expression patterns of genes at a single cell type resolution. Shoot apical meristems (SAMs) of higher plants harbor a set of stem-cells and provide cells for the development of all the above-ground biomass of plants. Most of the important pattern formation events such as maintenance of stem-cell identity, specification and differentiation of leaf/flower primordia, and the temporal control of transition from vegetative to reproductive program are determined in the SAMs. Genetic analysis has revealed molecular and hormonal pathways involved in stem-cell maintenance, organ differentiation and flowering time. However, limited information is available as to how different pathways interact with each other to function as a network in specifying different cell types and their function. A major requirement for analyzing developmental gene networks is to determine gene expression profiles of different cell types, at a single cell type resolution. In this project, the PI and the co-PI will combine novel experimental approaches and bioinformatics analysis to generate a cell type-specific, genome-scale, expression map of the Arabidopsis shoot apex.