Expertise: Developmental Biology
Fruits are an important evolutionary acquisition of angiosperms, which afford protection for seeds and ensure their optimal dispersal in the environment. These serve to attract animals that eat them and disseminate the indigestible seeds.
In our laboratory we use tow model species, Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato.Our group is investigating the genetic and molecular networks controlling fruit maturation, in particular we are characterizing the role of two hormones, ABA and GA. For our aims we use genetic and genomic tools together with cellular biology explorations.
Fruit maturation is also accompanied by several striking cytological modifications. In particular, plastids undergo significant structural alterations, including the dedifferentiation of chloroplasts into chromoplasts. Chloroplast biogenesis, their remodeling in response to environmental constraints and their conversion into alternative plastid types are known to require communication between plastids and the nucleus in order to coordinate the expression of their respective genomes. In our group we also explore the role of plastid modifications in the context of fruit maturation and ripening, and consider the possible involvement of organelle-nucleus crosstalk via retrograde (plastid to nucleus) and anterograde (nucleus to plastid) signaling in the process.