Daphne K. Preuss
Board Member: 2002 - 2004
Cell Interactions in Plant Growth and Development
We are interested in understanding how plants use cell-cell interactions to regulate growth and development. Our studies are focused on fertilization in Arabidopsis thaliana, which relies on a series of cell-cell interactions, including recognition of pollen by stigma cells, migration of pollen tubes toward ovules, and fusion of the male and female gametes.
By screening for sterile mutants, we have identified several genes that are required for pollen-pistil communication. We are currently analyzing (1) mutations that affect the structure of the extracellular pollen coating and disrupt communication with stigma cells, and (2) mutations that affect the guidance of pollen tubes to the ovules. We are using genetic approaches to characterize these mutants and are developing biochemical assays to identify the critical signaling molecules.
A second interest in the laboratory is the development of new genetic assays for Arabidopsis. We previously identified mutations that make it possible to perform tetrad analysis in this plant, and are using these mutants to define Arabidopsis centromeres genetically. These mutations also facilitate the identification of genes required for pollen fertility, and screens for haploid-specific sterile mutations are underway.