Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Regulation of vegetative development and life history strategy in plants

How is vegetative development regulated in plants and how does this affect a plant’s life history strategy?

2020 - 2024
Remko Offringa
Graduate School Green Top Sectors Graduate School Green Top Sectors
A senescing wild-type Arabidopsis plant (left) and an Arabidopis plant overexpressing the REJUVANTOR/AHL15 gene (right) showing enhanced vegetative growth and longevity (image by Omid Karami)

Polycarpic plants flower more than once in their lifetime, and need to resume vegetative development after flowering to continue growth and prepare for the next flowering cycle. Monocarps, on the other hand, do not resume this vegetative growth and die after flowering. Control of vegetative growth is of major agri- and horticultural interest, as it can help to improve the quality of leafy vegetables and the yield and quality of cuttings and flowers. Recently, the Arabidopsis REJUVENATOR/AHL15 transcription factor gene has been identified as a key regulator of vegetative growth. While striking phenotypes have been described in plants with altered RJV/AHL15 expression, the molecular mechanism of RJV/AHL15-induced vegetative growth remains unknown.

With this research, we aim to unravel the regulatory pathways surrounding RJV/AHL15 to gain understanding of vegetative development in plants. This will be done by studying different effects of RJV/AHL15 activity in Arabidopsis thaliana such as its effect on the transcriptome and its role in changing the epigenetic landscape of the genome, and the natural variation of RJV/AHL15 in different Arabidopsis ecotypes and other plant species. Understanding how vegetative development is regulated in plants will not only help breeding efforts in commercial crops, but also shed light on how the diversity of life history strategies has evolved in plants.


Karami, O., Rahimi, A., Khan, M. et al. (2020) A suppressor of axillary meristem maturation promotes longevity in flowering plants. Nat. Plants 6, 368–376. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-020-0637-z

Rahimi, A., Karami, O., Offringa, R.(2020) miR156-independent repression of the ageing pathway by longevity-promoting AHL proteins in Arabidopsis. BioRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.18.160234

Soriano, M., Li, H., Jacquard, C., Angenent, G.C., Krochko, J., Offringa, R., Boutilier, K. (2014) Plasticity in cell division patterns and auxin transport dependency during in vitro embryogenesis in Brassica napus. Plant Cell 26, 2568-2581.

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