Nuclear organisation of spliceosomal components in plants

In collaboration with Dr Peter Shaw, John Innes Centre, Norwich, we have shown that U1, U2 and U6snRNAs and U2B" are distributed in a fibrous interchromatin network and Cajal bodies.

Processing of polycistronic pre-snoRNAs

Intron-encoded snoRNAs (as found predominantly in vertebrates) are processed by exonucleases from linearised, spliced introns.

Methylation function of snoRNAs

Box C/D snoRNAs are involved in 2'-O-ribose methylation and box H/ACA snoRNAs in pseudouridylation. Box C/D snoRNAs specifiy sites of ribose methylation by base-pairing with regions of rRNA.

Genes and Development

Biochemical and developmental processes determine how plants grow and respond to external stimuli. We are interested in the molecular basis of particular plant developmental and metabolic pathways. In particular, we address general aspects of post-transcriptional regulation at the level of alternative splicing and non-coding RNAs and how such regulation determines flowering time.

The biochemical pathway of lignin biosynthesis is an extremely important and topical area of research due to the opportunities in biofuels and bioenergy. The potential for biotechnological applications to address areas like biofuels and biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in the face of climate change requires research on technologies to express multiple genes or pathways and to target modification of specific genes.

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