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Molecular control of shoot architecture: interplay between microRNAs, transcription factors and phytohormones


Fundamental questions in plant biology include how cells and tissues maintain their identity over time and how they switch from one stable state to the next. Understanding such basic questions may help us to better predict how plants modulate their shoot architecture in response to endogenous cues and the environment. Shoot architecture is one of the main developmental factors affecting plant productivity. Predictable, plants have evolved intricate regulatory networks to module their shoot architecture, which include phytohormones, transcription factor-regulated transcriptional programming, and epigenetic factors like microRNAs. However, how these different factors integrate to control shoot architecture at molecular and cellular levels is still unclear in most species. Following our findings that microRNAs (miRNAs) can regulate different aspects of sugarcane and tomato development by interacting with phytohormones [1-4], the characterization of miRNA-based patterning mechanisms and their association with phytohormones is a central aspect of our work. For example, we are studying the interaction between the gibberellin-negative regulator DELLA with miRNA-controlled pathways during flower and shoot development. Moreover, we are evaluating the interactions between phytohormones and microRNA modules in the control of axillary shoot branching, which directly influence shoot architecture. For each of the research areas, we intend to employ developmental genetics, genome editing (via CRISPR/Cas9-based technologies), next generation sequencing (NGS), imaging, and bioinformatics approaches. Moreover, we use Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in our studies, as each model organism offers unique experimental advantages and because comparative studies can provide an evolutionary perspective on key genetic pathways associated with the establishment of the shoot architecture. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BARRERA-ROJAS, CARLOS HERNAN; BRAGA ROCHA, GABRIEL HENRIQUE; POLVERARI, LAURA; PINHEIRO BRITO, DIEGO ARMANDO; BATISTA, DIEGO SILVA; NOTINI, MARCELA M.; FERREIRA DA CRUZ, ANA CLAUDIA; ORTIZ MOREA, EDNA GICELA; SABATINI, SABRINA; OTONI, WAGNER CAMPOS; et al. miR156-targeted SPL10 controls Arabidopsis root meristem activity and root-derived de novo shoot regeneration via cytokinin responses. Journal of Experimental Botany, v. 71, n. 3, p. 934-950, . (15/17892-7, 18/17441-3)
ALVES, CRISTIANE S.; NOGUEIRA, FABIO T. S.. Plant Small RNA World Growing Bigger: tRNA-Derived Fragments, Longstanding Players in Regulatory Processes. FRONTIERS IN MOLECULAR BIOSCIENCES, v. 8, . (18/17441-3)
BARRERA-ROJAS, CARLOS HERNAN; OTONI, WAGNER CAMPOS; SILVEIRA NOGUEIRA, FABIO TEBALDI. Shaping the root system: the interplay between miRNA regulatory hubs and phytohormones. Journal of Experimental Botany, v. 72, n. 20, p. 6822-6835, . (18/17441-3)

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