A Tale of the Evolution and Revolution of Water-Conducting Systems in Land Plants

Feb 22, 2016

Abstract:During early plant evolution, land plants developed water-conducting systems to survive drought conditions and thus to colonize land. Several kinds of cells for water-conducting systems are known in land plants, such as the hydroids of mosses, tracheids of ferns and conifers, and vessels of flowering plants. All of the water-conducting cells are dead at maturity and most of them have thickened plant cell walls. Prof. Demura’s research team has recently identified master regulators controlling gene expression that trigger vessel cell fate in the model plant, Arabidopsis. Subsequent studies revealed that a larger gene family is regulating differentiation of all three different kinds of cells with thickened cell walls in flowering plants. In addition, they discovered the genes controlling the differentiation of hydroids in a moss, Physcomitrella patens. Based on these findings, Prof. Demura will discuss the evolution and revolution of cells contributing to water-conduction in land plants.
Speaker:Dr. Taku Demura is a plant biologist who has been working on the molecular mechanisms underlying the differentiation of woody cells in land plants. Woody cells are major components of woody biomass with potential for use in biofuels. Dr. Demura has recently succeeded in the production of genetically modified poplar trees with a higher amount of woody biomass. Dr. Demura received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology in 1995 from Tohoku University; served as an Assistant Professor at Tohoku University and the University of Tokyo; and was a group leader at RIKEN, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institution. He is now is a Professor at the Graduate School of Biological Sciences at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, where he is leading a laboratory of Plant Metabolic Regulation.
Registration is not required. For more information, see the poster.Beaty Biodiversity Museum Auditorium, 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver