The main goal of my lab is to understand developmental mechanisms and pigment pathways in plants. The control of cell fate decisions is a central issue during plant development and pattern formation. One main focus of my lab is to use trichome (epidermal plant hair) initiation as a simple and amenable model to study the control of plant cell fate decision events. Over the years we have identified a combinatorial transcriptional complex that regulates trichome initiation and patterning. We are studying how this complex functions by manipulating the complex members and by investigating many of the complex's transcriptional targets. This complex also has pleiotropic control of the common red/purple anthocyanin pigment pathway in Arabidopsis and most other flowering plants. We have studied how the complex regulates these pigments and recently we have begun work on a red pigment pathway, the betalains, that are narrowly restricted to a single order of flowering plants that include beets, cactus and other taxa. The betalain pathway is much simpler than the anthocyanin pathway and has the potential to be used as a color and fluorescent marker in heterologous systems, fungi, animals and others.
We have performed Next Generation Roche 454 transcriptome sequencing of
hypocotyl mRNA from Table Beet and Amaranthus cruentus. Both of these
tissues produce large amounts of betalain pigments. Contig sequences are
contained in Word files and Excel files contain BLAST annotation information
that can be downloaded here.
Amaranthus cruentus 454 annotation
Amaranthus contig sequences
Table beet 454 annotation
Table beet contig sequences