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Waite Agriculture, Food and Wine Seminar Series

Oct 25, 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Please come along to this new, campus-wide seminar series. One week we will hear from a group leader or a visitor to the campus and the following week from two ECR/MCRs from the Waite Future Leaders cohort.

Come and hear about great science going on across the campus, up the road or across the sea! Expand your network and find new collaborators!

Everyone is welcome to a shared morning tea (please bring your own coffee cup) following the seminar.

WHEN: Thursday 25th October. 10:30am Seminar, 11:15am morning tea
WHERE: Plant Research Centre Auditorium
SPEAKER:  Dr Christian Fankhauser, University of Lausanne
Reaching out for the sun: dealing with the threat of carbon deprivation


Light is a vital resource for plants, which compete for its availability particularly in dense communities, which are typical in agriculture. Plants possess multiple photosensory receptors to detect the presence of competitors and thereby adjust their growth and developmental strategies accordingly. I will discuss the photoperception mechanisms and growth responses elicited by the neighboring vegetation in Arabidopsis and Brassica rapa, two typical shade-avoiding species. These responses include rapid shade-induced organ-specific transcriptional reprogramming mediated by Phytochrome Interacting Factors (PIFs) (1). In young seedlings shade leads to a rapid burst of auxin production in cotyledons that is then transported to the hypocotyl where it promotes elongation. Later in development similar regulatory mechanisms underlie leaf repositioning that is restricted to the shaded part of the plant (2). Finally, I will present evidence for rapid reallocation of carbon from the main photosynthetic source tissues towards elongating stems. This resource reallocation is essential for rapid growth elicited by neighbor threat. Moreover, in the stem starch metabolism plays a growth-regulatory function that is controlled by the bHLH transcription factor PIF7 (3).
(1) Kohnen, M.V., et al., Neighbor Detection Induces Organ-Specific Transcriptomes, Revealing Patterns Underlying Hypocotyl-Specific Growth. Plant Cell, 2016. 28:2889-2904.
(2) Michaud, O., et al., Local auxin production underlies a spatially restricted neighbor-detection response in Arabidopsis. PNAS, 2017. 114:7444-744

About the Speaker

Christian Fankhauser received his PhD from the University of Lausanne in 1994 after carrying out his thesis at Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in the laboratory of Dr. Viesturs Simanis. He performed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Marty Yanofsky at UCSD then with Dr. Joanne Chory at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego. He became a Swiss National Science Foundation Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology of the University of Geneva in 2000. He joined the Center for Integrative Genomics in January 2005, where he was appointed Associate Professor. In 2011 he was promoted to Professor.


Oct 25
10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Auditorium, Plant Research Centre
2b Hartley Grove
Urrbrae, South Australia 5064 Australia
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