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Principal Investigator

Regulation of plant developmental transitions—the age pathway

      What determines the rate at which a multicellular organism ages is a mystery in biology. In plants the changes in morphological and physiological traits serve as markers for the developmental transitions. Mutant characterizations and genetic analyses in Arabidopsis thaliana delineate an evolutionarily conserved, microRNA156 (miR156)-guided timing mechanism that temporally regulates many aspects of biological processes during development. Recent studies now reveal that sugar metabolites, the products of photosynthesis, feed into this developmental timer by regulating miR156 levels, thereby ensuring that each developmental transition occurs under favorable conditions. Our lab is performing a comprehensive characterization of the age pathway, focusing on the regulatory basis of the developmental decline in miR156 level by age and the molecular mechanism underlying the physiological and morphological changes with age.

Selected publications

1. Zhang TQ, Lian H, Zhou CM, Xu L, Jiao YL, and Wang JW*. (2017). A Two-Step Model for de novo Activation of WUSCHEL during Plant Shoot Regeneration. Plant Cell. 29(5):1073-1087.

2. Yu S, Lian H, and Wang JW*. (2015). Plant Developmental Transitions: the Role of MicroRNAs and Sugars. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 27: 1-7.

3. Zhang TQ, Lian H, Tang H, Dolezal K, Zhou CM, Yu S, Chen JH, Chen Q, Liu H, Ljung K, and Wang JW*. (2015). An Intrinsic MicroRNA Timer Regulates Progressive Decline in Shoot Regenerative Capacity in Plants. Plant Cell. 27: 349-360. (recommended by F1000).

4. Rubio-Somoza I, Zhou CM, Confraria A, Martinho C, Born P, Baena-Gonzalez E, Wang JW*, and Weigel D*. (2014). Temporal control of leaf complexity by miRNA-regulated licensing of protein complexes. Curr Biol, 24: 2714-2719.

5. Wang JW*. (2014). Regulation of flowering time by miR156-mediated age pathway. J Exp Bot. 65: 4723-4730.

6. Zhou CM, Zhang TQ, Wang X, Yu S, Lian H, Tang H, Feng ZY, Zozomova-Lihova J, and Wang JW*. (2013). Molecular Basis of Age-dependent Vernalization in Cardamine flexuosa. Science. 340: 1097-1100. (highlighted by Nature China, doi:10.1038/nchina.2013.57).

7. Yu S, Cao L, Zhou CM, Zhang TQ, Lian H, Sun Y, Wu JQ, Huang JR, Wang GD, and Wang JW*. (2013). Sugar is an Endogenous Cue for Juvenile-to-Adult Phase Transition in Plants. eLife. 2: e00269. (highlighted by Nature China, doi:10.1038/nchina.2013.37).

8. Yu S, Galvao V, Zhang YC, Horrer D, Zhang TQ, Hao YH, Feng YQ, Wang S, Schmid M, and Wang JW*. (2012). Gibberellin Regulates Arabidopsis Floral Transition through miR156-Targeted SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING-LIKE Transcription Factors. Plant Cell. 24: 3320-3332. (recommended by F1000).

9. Gou JY, Felipes FF, Liu CJ, Weigel D, and Wang JW*. (2011). Negative regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis by a miR156-targeted SPL transcription factor. Plant Cell. 23: 1512-1522.

10.Wang JW*#, Park MY#, Wang LJ, Chen XY, Weigel D, and Poethig S*. (2011). MiRNA Control of Vegetative Phase Change in Trees. PLoS Genet. 7: e1002012.