RNA silencing and jasmonate (JA) signalling are key pathways that regulate plant development and defence against pests and disease. Evidence indicates that these pathways interact, but the full extent and nature of the interactions are unknown. An accurate understanding of these interactions is crucial to inform crop modification strategies that improve plant defence and growth. RNA silencing targets specific genes using small (s)RNAs. It controls gene expression through processes such as DNA methylation, which affects binding of transcription factors (TFs) to promoters, and mRNA degradation. JA signalling may influence DNA methylation via RNA silencing, and expression of hundreds of genes changes during JA responses. Also, JA signalling is inhibited by disruption of RNA silencing. I propose to conduct a targeted dissection of JA signalling/RNA silencing interactions. I will be hosted first by Prof. Ecker (Salk Institute, US), who is a world leader in DNA methylation research. There, I will investigate JA-responsive changes in DNA methylation at a genome-wide scale. I will also study a group of TFs that regulate both RNA silencing and JA signalling, and investigate the roles of known RNA silencing components in JA responses. In the return phase, I will be hosted by Prof. Solano (Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Spain) who is an expert in JA biology. Whilst in his group I will characterize novel JA-responsive sRNAs and investigate the effects of JA-responsive DNA-methylation on known JA-signalling TFs. These objectives will reveal new insights into two critical plant defence pathways, making an important contribution to the EU Knowledge Based Bio-Economy. Through significant international mobility, I will learn cutting-edge techniques, broaden my scientific knowledge, develop complementary skills such as lab management, and extend my professional network. These experiences will be crucial in attaining my goal of becoming a group leader.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/rna
Call for proposal
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