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Talks related to plants in the University of Cambridge
Updated: 45 min 59 sec ago

Thu 19 May 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 04/05/2022 - 15:41
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Thu 12 May 13:00: Stomatal evolution and using knowledge of stomatal function to breed more resilient crops

Tue, 03/05/2022 - 09:59
Stomatal evolution and using knowledge of stomatal function to breed more resilient crops

Stomata are pores found, typically, on the surfaces of leaves and their acquisition is believed to be one of the key factors leading to the successful radiation of the early terrestrial flora. They are surrounded by two guard cells. In responses to changes in the environment and, or endogenous signals, the guard cells increase or decrease in turgor causing the pore to open or close. Changes in stomatal aperture result in changes to transpirational water loss and the uptake of carbon dioxide. These in turn, play out in terms of alterations in dry matter accumulation, leaf cooling, nutrient uptake and the ability to withstand reductions in soil water availability. A complex intracellular signalling network is responsible for coupling extracellular signals to alterations in guard cell turgor. This lecture will focus on stomatal evolution where there are still many fundamental questions that remain unanswered and also, if time permits, will discuss recent results that have relevance to developing crops that are more resistant to climate and environment change.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Thu 12 May 13:00: Stomata evolution and using knowledge of stomatal function to breed more resilient crops

Fri, 29/04/2022 - 15:24
Stomata evolution and using knowledge of stomatal function to breed more resilient crops

Stomata are pores found, typically, on the surfaces of leaves and their acquisition is believed to be one of the key factors leading to the successful radiation of the early terrestrial flora. They are surrounded by two guard cells. In responses to changes in the environment and, or endogenous signals, the guard cells increase or decrease in turgor causing the pore to open or close. Changes in stomatal aperture result in changes to transpirational water loss and the uptake of carbon dioxide. These in turn, play out in terms of alterations in dry matter accumulation, leaf cooling, nutrient uptake and the ability to withstand reductions in soil water availability. A complex intracellular signalling network is responsible for coupling extracellular signals to alterations in guard cell turgor. This lecture will focus on stomatal evolution where there are still many fundamental questions that remain unanswered and also, if time permits, will discuss recent results that have relevance to developing crops that are more resistant to climate and environment change.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 12 May 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Fri, 29/04/2022 - 10:24
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 05 May 13:00: Host Age-dependent Evolution of a Plant RNA Virus

Thu, 21/04/2022 - 09:34
Host Age-dependent Evolution of a Plant RNA Virus

As organisms age, their metabolism and immunity change, which may result in a different response to pathogens. Therefore, the interaction of a host with its pathogens may vary along the organism’s lifetime. How this interplay between host age and pathogens affects virus evolution hasn’t been thoroughly studies.

In this work, we used the pathosystem Arabidopsis thaliana – Turnip mosaic potyvirus to characterize plant-virus interaction and virus evolution at three developmental stages: vegetative, bolting (transition from vegetative to reproductive) and reproductive growth. We inoculated plants at these stages with two viral strains, one naïve and other well-adapted to A. thaliana. We observed that both viral strains had higher infectivity and induced stronger symptoms in older plants. To study how these differences in the plant-virus interaction may influence virus evolution, we experimentally evolved both strains in each one of the three host stages. After evolution, we observed that the disease progression was faster in all the evolved virus in comparison with the ancestral one. However, viruses evolved in young hosts were selected to have a bigger increase in disease severity. This relative increase of disease severity was higher in the naïve strain than in the well-adapted one. The sequence of the evolved virus genomes showed that all viruses evolved from the naïve strain had mutations in the VPg protein involved in genome amplification, independently of the host stage were viruses evolved. For the viruses evolved from the preadapted strain, that already had fixed mutations in VPg, the mutation pattern was different: viruses evolved in young plants did not have any non-synonymous mutation while bolting and flowered hosts selected for mutations in the NIaPro protease. The virulence of the infection was age-dependent: while all evolved viruses cause a significant reduction in seed production, hosts infected during their reproductive stage produced significatively more offspring than host infected at other developmental stages. Next, we characterized the transcriptional responses of all hosts to infection, finding that despite the biological processes involved in the response are similar against all evolved virus, each host stage has a particular set of genes that are fine-tune regulated in coordination with the hormonal response of the host. Finally, a metabolomic analysis points ABA as a key component of the differential response. Overall, our study contributes to understand the impact of host age on host-virus interactions and how it conditions the evolution of viruses.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Wed 27 Apr 10:30: Characterising the epistatic relationship between signalling pathways for AM symbiosis in rice

Thu, 21/04/2022 - 09:32
Characterising the epistatic relationship between signalling pathways for AM symbiosis in rice

Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis is conserved across the land plants and is the default nutrient uptake strategy for plants in nature. Plant recognition and accommodation of AM fungi requires signalling through both the α/ß hydrolase DWARF14 -LIKE pathway and the common symbiosis signalling pathway. Loss of D14L completely blocks AM symbiosis and renders roots defective in the normal transcriptional reprogramming required to host AM fungi. In contrast, symbiosis is significantly reduced in CSSP mutants, but fungal contacts can nevertheless still be established. In this talk, epistatic analysis in rice is presented to support the placement of D14L upstream of the CSSP component CCaMK. Phenotypic and gene expression analysis are also presented to suggest NSP1 and NSP2 are essential for AM symbiosis in rice.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Wed 27 Apr 10:30: Genotypic variation in maize influences rates of soil organic matter mineralisation and gross nitrification

Thu, 21/04/2022 - 09:30
Genotypic variation in maize influences rates of soil organic matter mineralisation and gross nitrification

Plant species and genotypes vary with respect to the degree to which they mediate soil organic matter mineralisation. For example, as a consequence of rhizodeposition amount and composition shaping rhizosphere microbial community structure and increasing microbial activities, including mineralisation of soil organic matter. A consequence of soil organic matter mineralisation is the mobilisation of ammonium and subsequent nitrification, both providing N available for plant uptake. Therefore, there is the potential for manipulating these root-soil interactions through breeding to help meet soil nitrogen supply in cropping systems, especially in low input systems of tropical and subtropical areas.

Lumbani will discuss these results and their implications for breeding, soil organic matter/nutrient management and sustainable production. Then, will discuss his future research interests to build on these findings. Lumbani will also introduce our current work on wheat in my new postdoc with Dr Stephanie Swarbreck at NIAB and Prof Andrew Tanentzap at the University of Cambridge.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 05 May 13:00: Host Age-dependent Evolution of a Plant RNA Virus

Wed, 20/04/2022 - 14:54
Host Age-dependent Evolution of a Plant RNA Virus

As organisms age, their metabolism and immunity change, which may result in a different response to pathogens. Therefore, the interaction of a host with its pathogens may vary along the organism’s lifetime. How this interplay between host age and pathogens affects virus evolution hasn’t been thoroughly studies.

In this work, we used the pathosystem Arabidopsis thaliana – Turnip mosaic potyvirus to characterize plant-virus interaction and virus evolution at three developmental stages: vegetative, bolting (transition from vegetative to reproductive) and reproductive growth. We inoculated plants at these stages with two viral strains, one naïve and other well-adapted to A. thaliana. We observed that both viral strains had higher infectivity and induced stronger symptoms in older plants. To study how these differences in the plant-virus interaction may influence virus evolution, we experimentally evolved both strains in each one of the three host stages. After evolution, we observed that the disease progression was faster in all the evolved virus in comparison with the ancestral one. However, viruses evolved in young hosts were selected to have a bigger increase in disease severity. This relative increase of disease severity was higher in the naïve strain than in the well-adapted one. The sequence of the evolved virus genomes showed that all viruses evolved from the naïve strain had mutations in the VPg protein involved in genome amplification, independently of the host stage were viruses evolved. For the viruses evolved from the preadapted strain, that already had fixed mutations in VPg, the mutation pattern was different: viruses evolved in young plants did not have any non-synonymous mutation while bolting and flowered hosts selected for mutations in the NIaPro protease. The virulence of the infection was age-dependent: while all evolved viruses cause a significant reduction in seed production, hosts infected during their reproductive stage produced significatively more offspring than host infected at other developmental stages. Next, we characterized the transcriptional responses of all hosts to infection, finding that despite the biological processes involved in the response are similar against all evolved virus, each host stage has a particular set of genes that are fine-tune regulated in coordination with the hormonal response of the host. Finally, a metabolomic analysis points ABA as a key component of the differential response. Overall, our study contributes to understand the impact of host age on host-virus interactions and how it conditions the evolution of viruses.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 05 May 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 20/04/2022 - 09:02
Plant Sciences Seminar

As organisms age, their metabolism and immunity change, which may result in a different response to pathogens. Therefore, the interaction of a host with its pathogens may vary along the organism’s lifetime. How this interplay between host age and pathogens affects virus evolution hasn’t been thoroughly studies.

In this work, we used the pathosystem Arabidopsis thaliana – Turnip mosaic potyvirus to characterize plant-virus interaction and virus evolution at three developmental stages: vegetative, bolting (transition from vegetative to reproductive) and reproductive growth. We inoculated plants at these stages with two viral strains, one naïve and other well-adapted to A. thaliana. We observed that both viral strains had higher infectivity and induced stronger symptoms in older plants. To study how these differences in the plant-virus interaction may influence virus evolution, we experimentally evolved both strains in each one of the three host stages. After evolution, we observed that the disease progression was faster in all the evolved virus in comparison with the ancestral one. However, viruses evolved in young hosts were selected to have a bigger increase in disease severity. This relative increase of disease severity was higher in the naïve strain than in the well-adapted one. The sequence of the evolved virus genomes showed that all viruses evolved from the naïve strain had mutations in the VPg protein involved in genome amplification, independently of the host stage were viruses evolved. For the viruses evolved from the preadapted strain, that already had fixed mutations in VPg, the mutation pattern was different: viruses evolved in young plants did not have any non-synonymous mutation while bolting and flowered hosts selected for mutations in the NIaPro protease. The virulence of the infection was age-dependent: while all evolved viruses cause a significant reduction in seed production, hosts infected during their reproductive stage produced significatively more offspring than host infected at other developmental stages. Next, we characterized the transcriptional responses of all hosts to infection, finding that despite the biological processes involved in the response are similar against all evolved virus, each host stage has a particular set of genes that are fine-tune regulated in coordination with the hormonal response of the host. Finally, a metabolomic analysis points ABA as a key component of the differential response. Overall, our study contributes to understand the impact of host age on host-virus interactions and how it conditions the evolution of viruses.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 06 Apr 10:30: Crop Science Seminar: Revealing the “box” code: the spatial and temporal regulation of plant-parasitic nematode pathogenicity

Mon, 04/04/2022 - 16:03
Crop Science Seminar: Revealing the “box” code: the spatial and temporal regulation of plant-parasitic nematode pathogenicity

Plant-parasitic nematodes are an important group of plant pathogens that threaten current and future food security. Among them, the cyst nematodes parasitize some of the most important crop species. To cause disease, cyst nematodes inject effector proteins into the plant, produced primarily in either the dorsal or sub-ventral glands. In order to identify the genetic signatures and corresponding readers of gene expression in different gland cell and at different times of infection, we used Pacbio DNA -seq and Illumina RNA -seq to reconstruct the genome and lifestage-specific transcriptome of Heterodera schachtii infecting the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We then combined this transcriptome-wide analysis of temporal expression with a gland cell specific RNAseq dataset to identify candidate regulators of the gland cells. This led to the identification of a transcription factor regulating the subventral gland, coined the SUGR . Functional analysis of the SUGR reveals it regulates a set of known and candidate subventral gland effectors as well as additional transcription factors. This suggests the SUGR is part of a cascade of regulation involved in plant penetration, consistent with the reduction in plant penetration observed after RNAi-mediated silencing of the SUGR -encoding gene. Finally, the SUGR -encoding gene expression gets either activated or inhibited by plant-derived signals that remain to be identified, shedding light on potential control strategies.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Wed 06 Apr 10:30: Crop Science Seminar: Combining multi-scale phenotyping, AI-powered analysis with genetic mapping studies to connect lab-based plant research with in-field crop improvement

Mon, 04/04/2022 - 16:02
Crop Science Seminar: Combining multi-scale phenotyping, AI-powered analysis with genetic mapping studies to connect lab-based plant research with in-field crop improvement

Recent advances of imaging and sensing technologies, machine learning, computer vision and big-data analytics open new opportunities for plant research. Complex traits such as flowering, canopy structure and yield formation can be dynamically characterised, helping plant researchers understand growth patterns of key agronomic traits under varied environmental conditions. These methodological advances can also enable biological discoveries to unravel the genetics behind target traits with quantifiable evidence at the cell, organ, tissue, plant, and population levels. In this talk, the speaker will start with NIAB ’s seed l phenotyping lab (i.e. SeedGerm 2.0 and hyperspectral seed imaging with Videometer), then link lab-based discoveries to plant early establishment in the field through aerial phenotyping and the AirMeasurer platform. He will demonstrate how to measure dynamic traits, their applications in modelling plant growth and development, as well as their usefulness in genetic mapping studies. Also, the speaker will briefly introduce phenomics research carried out by his China-UK lab, including aerial phenotyping of orchard fruits, 3D trait analysis for screening resource use efficiency wheat varieties, embedded AI techniques for yield prediction in wheat, and spikelet-related trait analysis for rice, demonstrating the great potential of plant phenomics in addressing challenging biological questions.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Wed 23 Mar 10:30: Crop Science Seminar: Improving the mycorrhizal symbiosis in spring barley – lab and field studies

Mon, 21/03/2022 - 16:13
Crop Science Seminar: Improving the mycorrhizal symbiosis in spring barley – lab and field studies

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are ubiquitous symbionts of cereal crops worldwide and may contribute substantially to the P and N uptake of their host plant. In exchange for mineral nutrients and water, the fungi receive carbon as lipids and carbohydrates. The symbiosis is essential for the fungus, which cannot complete its lifecycle without the host plant, while the impact on the plant varies between mutualism and parasitism. Engineering the symbiosis to be more beneficial for the plant should allow more efficient nutrient capture and reduced fertiliser demand. Key genes which control symbiotic signalling and fungal colonisation have been characterised in controlled conditions but not in the field. Knockouts of certain genes can abolish mycorrhizal colonisation in barley, while over-expression of other genes causes increased colonisation, especially at high soil P concentrations which normally suppress mycorrhizas. In this presentation, I will talk through plans for our trial which has very recently been approved by DEFRA . Using gene-edited and genetically modified barley lines, I will test the function of these genes in field trials. In addition to yield and nutrition data, root and soil samples will be taken to quantify and characterise fungal colonisation in these contrasting barley lines. Disease scoring will identify any effects of these genes on pathogen susceptibility.

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Wed 23 Mar 10:30: Crop Science Seminar: Pre-breeding, food security and net zero: so much to do, so little time and money

Mon, 21/03/2022 - 16:13
Crop Science Seminar: Pre-breeding, food security and net zero: so much to do, so little time and money

UK farming is at something of a tipping point, subject to multiple societal, environmental, economic and political pressures. The trade-offs between food/nutritional security, biodiversity, fuel/energy production, soil health and water quality are manifold, complex and nuanced. However it is clear is that the status quo is regarded as unsustainable: we must expect crop genetics, soils and farming systems to do a lot more, and agrochemicals a lot less, of the heavy lifting in the future. Given the drawn-out timescales involved in crop breeding, we need to first assemble and then interrogate diverse genetic toolkits within and across crops, to increase genetic gain and maximise stability. Furthermore, we need to be open to evaluating these against different metrics, including challenging the current variety development and registration paradigms. I will present a virtual tour through our diverse portfolio of field crop pre-breeding and breeding, which includes cereals, legumes, oilseeds and others, and some of the opportunities that seem to be cropping up (pun intended).

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Thu 16 Jun 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 16/03/2022 - 13:36
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Thu 09 Jun 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 16/03/2022 - 13:36
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Thu 26 May 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 16/03/2022 - 13:35
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Thu 19 May 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 16/03/2022 - 13:34
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

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Thu 12 May 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 16/03/2022 - 13:33
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 05 May 13:00: Plant Sciences Seminar

Wed, 16/03/2022 - 13:33
Plant Sciences Seminar

Due to having to go online, we are restricting the talks to University of Cambridge and alumni to keep them as informal as possible.

Contact reception@plantsci.cam.ac.uk for a Zoom link prior to a talk if you are not on our mailing list.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list