My lab studies genes and signals in cells that regulate the growth and shape of plants. We have discovered several genes that control plant architecture by exerting an influence on stem cells. By identifying the genes that control the number of stem cells in corn plants, for example, we’ve discovered a means of boosting the yield of that vital staple.
David Jackson and colleagues study genes and signals that regulate plant growth and architecture. They are investigating a unique way in which plant cells communicate, by transporting regulatory proteins via small channels called plasmodesmata. These channels, which direct the flow of nutrients and signals through growing tissues, are regulated during development. The team discovered a gene encoding a chaperonin, CCT8, that controls the transport of a transcription factor SHOOTMERISTEMLESS (STM) between cells in the plant stem cell niche, or meristem. STM is critical for stem cell maintenance, and studies of the CCT8 gene indicate that movement of STM between cells is required for this function. The lab also continues to identify other genes that control plant architecture through effects on stem cell maintenance and identity, and their work has implications for crop yields. Recent examples include discovery of a subunit of a heterotrimeric G protein that is conserved throughout animals and plants, and their studies indicate that this gene controls stem cell proliferation. They have found that in plants, the G protein interacts with a completely different class of receptors than in animals. Their discovery helps to explain how signaling from diverse receptors is achieved in plants. This year, they also demonstrated that weak mutations in one of the receptor proteins can enhance seed production in maize, which could lead to yield increases. Separately, the lab has characterized system-wide networks of gene expression, using “next-gen” profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation methods that have revealed many new hypotheses in developmental networks controlling inflorescence development. They are also developing a collection of maize lines that can drive expression of any reporter or experimental gene in any tissue type—tools of great interest to maize researchers that are being made available to the broader scientific community, enabling experiments never before possible in crop plants.
Do you have the dirt on plant research?
March 31, 2022
New research is constantly sprouting. Take this quiz and test your plant knowledge.
Psst! Plants pass notes from cell to cell
January 14, 2022
Plants relay messages critical for development between their cells using RNA. See tiny RNA messages zoom around inside plant cells.
Plants: RNA notes to self
January 13, 2022
CSHL scientists discovered a way plants send messages between cells using RNA and a protein escort.
Lab life: A step for students, a leap for science
December 20, 2021
The CSHL Partners for the Future program allows high school students to participate in laboratory life.
In the Field: A Barbara McClintock–inspired novel
December 2, 2021
1983 Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock continues to inspire many today. In 2021, author Rachel Pastan published a novel based on her life and legacy.
November 29, 2021
Climate change and population growth are threatening our crops. CSHL Professor David Jackson is helping corn keep up with the demand.
Using “guilt by association” to classify cells
July 14, 2021
Using a new computational statistics tool, CSHL researchers classify cells to understand how an organism functions.
Tweaking corn kernels with CRISPR
February 22, 2021
CRISPR genome editing can fast-forward the process of plant evolution. Researchers at CSHL are using the technique to increase kernel yield.
A healthy use for tobacco in coronavirus research
February 11, 2021
CSHL plant scientists grew fragments of coronavirus proteins in tobacco. They hoped to provide a cheap source of protein for virus and vaccine researchers.
Building a corn cob—cell by cell, gene by gene
January 26, 2021
CSHL scientists are piecing together the genes that control how corn develops.
30 Mar 2022 | Methods in Molecular Biology | 2457:393-407
Kitagawa, Munenori, Jackson, David
25 Mar 2022 | Science | 375(6587):eabg7985
Chen, Wenkang, Chen, Lu, Zhang, Xuan, Yang, Ning, Guo, Jianghua, Wang, Min, Ji, Shenghui, Zhao, Xiangyu, Yin, Pengfei, Cai, Lichun, Xu, Jing, Zhang, Lili, Han, Yingjia, Xiao, Yingni, Xu, Gen, Wang, Yuebin, Wang, Shuhui, Wu, Sheng, Yang, Fang, Jackson, David, Cheng, Jinkui, Chen, Saihua, Sun, Chuanqing, Qin, Feng, Tian, Feng, Fernie, Alisdair, Li, Jiansheng, Yan, Jianbing, Yang, Xiaohong
14 Jan 2022 | Science | 375(6577):177-182
Kitagawa, Munenori, Wu, Peipei, Balkunde, Rachappa, Cunniff, Patrick, Jackson, David
11 Jan 2022 | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA | 119(2):e2115871119
Klein, Harry, Gallagher, Joseph, Demesa-Arevalo, Edgar, Abraham-Juárez, María, Heeney, Michelle, Feil, Regina, Lunn, John, Xiao, Yuguo, Chuck, George, Whipple, Clinton, Jackson, David, Bartlett, Madelaine
4 Jan 2022 | Journal of Plant Biology
Kim, Da, Jeong, Jin-hee, Kang, Yu, Park, Young-Hoon, Lee, Yong-Jae, Kang, Jum-soon, Choi, Young-Whan, Son, Beung-Gu, Kim, Sun, Jackson, Dave, Je, Byoung
1 Jan 2022 | Molecular Breeding: new strategies in plant improvement | 42(1)
Jackson, D, Tian, F, Zhang, Z
Glutaredoxins regulate maize inflorescence meristem development via redox control of TGA transcriptional activity
14 Dec 2021 | Nature Plants
Yang, R, Xu, F, Wang, Y, Zhong, W, Dong, L, Shi, Y, Tang, T, Sheng, H, Jackson, D, Yang, F
3 Dec 2021 | Science | 374(6572):1247-1252
Ortiz-Ramírez, Carlos, Guillotin, Bruno, Xu, Xiaosa, Rahni, Ramin, Zhang, Sanqiang, Yan, Zhe, Coqueiro Dias Araujo, Poliana, Demesa-Arevalo, Edgar, Lee, Laura, Van Eck, Joyce, Gingeras, Thomas, Jackson, David, Gallagher, Kimberly, Birnbaum, Kenneth
An ethylene biosynthesis enzyme controls quantitative variation in maize ear length and kernel yield.
5 Oct 2021 | Nature Communications | 12(1):5832
Ning, Qiang, Jian, Yinan, Du, Yanfang, Li, Yunfu, Shen, Xiaomeng, Jia, Haitao, Zhao, Ran, Zhan, Jimin, Yang, Fang, Jackson, David, Liu, Lei, Zhang, Zuxin
Next generation cereal crop yield enhancement: From knowledge of inflorescence development to practical engineering by genome editing
2 May 2021 | International Journal of Molecular Sciences | 22(10):5167
Liu, L, Lindsay, P, Jackson, D