Plant meristems are major determinants of plant architecture, plant diversification, acclimation to environmental stresses, and, more importantly, crop productivity. The goal of the research unit FOR5235 is to further our understanding of meristem establishment, maintenance, and termination in the two major cereal families – maize (Panicoideae) and barley, and its close relative, Brachypodium (Pooideae).
Differentiation of different barley shoot meristems. The SAM (shoot apical meristem) transitions to an inflorescence meristem (IM) which then initiates triple spikelet meristems (TSM) on its flanks. Each TSM develops one central (CSM) and two lateral spikelet meristems (LSM) which then develop floret meristems and eventually seeds. In 2-rowed barley (ancestral), only the CSM develops a flower, while in 6-rowed barley CSM and LSM develop flowers and seeds (Image: E. Demeso).
Head of Institute
Our group specifically focuses on the identification of new molecular players and genetic networks which control the establishment, maintenance and termination of inflorescence, spikelet and floral meristems in barley. The distribution and signaling of these molecular factors will be established in barley meristems by developing reporter lines of protein candidates and hormones and by high-resolution transcriptome data generated by single-cell RNA-seq or laser captured microdissection methods. The research unit will generate profound knowledge on cereal stem cell systems that can be applied for improving plant and spike architecture and thus yield.
Research Unit Cereal Stem Cell Systems. The Heinrich Heine University and the universities of Regensburg, Bonn, Hamburg, Heidelberg and Tübingen and the IPK-Gatersleben are involved in the network. (Figure: University of Regensburg / Thomas Dresselhaus).