Talk by Charles Melnyk, University of Cambridge – University of Copenhagen

Talk by Charles Melnyk, University of Cambridge

On 14 August at 14.30-15.00 Charles Melnyk from the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge will give a talk on:

Making the right connections: graft formation in Arabidopsis

Plant grafting is a biologically important phenomenon involving the physical joining of two plants to generate a chimeric organism. It encompasses various processes including vascular formation, cell adhesion, wound healing and tissue regeneration.

Despite its widespread use and biological interest, we know little about the mechanism of graft formation. I use the Arabidopsis hypocotyl as a simple and highly efficient tool to study graft formation.

I will discuss my recent work studying the dynamics and mechanisms of vascular reconnection including the temporal separation between tissue attachment, phloem connection, root growth, and xylem connection. By analyzing cell division patterns and hormone responses at the graft junction, I found that tissues initially show an asymmetry in cell division, cell differentiation, and gene expression and, through contact with the opposing tissue, lose this asymmetry and reform the vascular connection.

In addition, I will describe recent progress elucidating the genes required for graft formation and understanding what cell types are important for vascular reconnection. This work has implications for phenomena where forming vascular connections are important including graft formation, parasitic plant infection and wound healing.