Hi! I am Mingkee, an MIBTP-Chancellor's (Midlands Integrative Bioscience Training Partnership) Ph.D. candidate in Gifford’s lab and co-supervised by Dr. Sascha Ott (Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science). My project investigates plant's control of nitrogen-fixing nodulation in a model legume plant, Medicago truncatula. Transcriptomic analyses of the differentially expressed genes under rhizobia and different nitrogen conditions revealed six novel motifs. The promoters containing such motifs were found to be mainly genes involved in the nodulation response. So we hypothesised that they may be putative regulatory binding sites involved in nodulation. Of particular prevalence among the promoters were a multi-gene family called Nodule-Specific Cysteine-Rich (NCR) peptide genes.
I want to test if these novel motifs are functional, search transcription factors (TF) and ask if the NCR genes are under the regulatory control of such TF(s). Remarkably, root nodule symbiosis evolved in plants at least 5 times and is not restricted to legumes (reviewed in Lagunas et al 2015, J. Exp. Bot). I use systems biology approaches to tackle our investigation.
Interested in seeing this idea as a graphical overview of the project?