Homepage » Courses Offered » Undergraduate Studies » 8th 13A809 Molecular Plant Development

MOLECULAR PLANT DEVELOPMENT

             
Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Elective 13A809 8th 3 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 4 5.0
Aims:
 
 

1. To provide a course on Molecular Plant Development, introducing students to the principles concerning the mechanisms of growth and differentiation of plants at the molecular level.

2. To outline complex and exciting molecular mechanisms involved in fundamental plant developmental processes and during various environmental conditions.

3. To make student familiar with the analysis of transgenic and mutant plants impaired in various molecular mechanisms of growth and differentiation.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will acquire new knowledge and specific skills on the following subjects: a) Model plant species used to resolve developmental mechanisms that modulate plant growth and crop yield at the molecular level, b) Intercellular communication mechanism that determine cell fate and identity, c) Convergence of endogenous signals with environmental cues that modulate structure and development of the plant cell, tissues or organs, d) Methodologies and technologies applied to the research filed of Molecular and Developmental Plant Biology, e) Gene networks associated with hormonal signals modulating several aspects of plant development including embryogenesis, and root, leaf, shoot and flower development, f) Cooperative interaction and learning to analyze and present studies aiming to resolve modern issues in agriculture that could be resolved by manipulating  plant growth and development, g) Expertise and experience on browsing e-learning sites, online libraries and the content of scientific journals, h) Development of skills and abilities to mine the literature and present scientific results/data.

 
Objectives:
 
 

At the end of the course students should be able to: a) Retrieve, analyze and synthesize data and information relying on use of necessary technologies, b) Make decision concerning the appropriate use of methodologies in the field of Plant Molecular Biology and Genetics, c) Adjust to new experimental workflow, dictated by the emerging scientific challenges, d) Work autonomously, e) Work in groups, f) Create novel scientific projects, g) Design and develop research projects/experiments, h)  Be critical and self-critical.

 
Lectures:
 
 

Introduction (3 hrs): An introduction to flowering plants. Mechanisms in plant development. The role of hormones in molecular plant development. Programmed cell death. The coordination of plant development. Epigenetic phenomena. DNA/Histone modifications and epigenetic regulation of gene expression.

Plant Genomics (9 hrs): Structure of the plant genome. The basic “toolbox” for genomics. Acquisition of information from the genome. Genome fragmentation, library construction and analysis. Molecular maps. Molecular marker systems. Genome fractionation.

Molecular Plant Development Methods (12 hrs): Model plants. Obtaining and generating mutants and transgenic plants/lines. Forward and reverse genetics. EMS and T-DNA mutagenesis. RNAi, Post transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) and CRISPR Genome Editing. Plant transformation methods. Phenotypic, Genetic and Molecular analysis of mutants and transgenic plants. Methods for studying gene function.

Cell-intrinsic and positional information (3 hrs): Cell lineages and cell commitment. Laser ablation of cells in Arabidopsis. Green-white-green periclinal chimeras. Datura polyploid chimeras. Relationship between lineage, position and age‑dependent mechanisms in cell fate determination. Case studies of genes and mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Embryo development (2 hrs): Early events in embryogenesis. Seed development and maturation. Complexity of gene expression in the embryo. Molecular genetics of embryogenesis. Embryo-lethal mutants. Pattern mutants. Apical-basal axis mutants. Radial axis mutants. 

Shoot development (3 hrs): Shoot apical meristem (SAM) organization. SAM “organizing center” and maintenance of SAM “niche” cells. Molecular genetics of shoot development. Mutants and genes influencing SAM organization, pattern formation and function.

Leaf development (2 hrs): Leave primordial initiation. Establishment of the axial polarity (asymmetry). Determination of the adaxial and abaxial identity. Involvement of miRNA in adaxial and abaxial asymmetry. Growth of the leaf area (lamina). Genetic control of leaf shape. Development of stomata and leaf trichomes. Molecular genetics and mutants affecting leaf development. 

Flower development (3 hrs): Transition to floral development. Photoperiodic control of flowering. Molecular genetic of flower development. Flowering time genes. Meristem identity genes. Floral organ identity genes. The ABC model. Positive regulation of homeotic gene function. Mutants affecting ABC gene function. The role of miRNAs in flower development. Case studies of genes and mutations.

Root development (2 hrs): Root morphology and development. Root apical meristem (RAM). Molecular biology and genetics of root development. Cell fate and cell lineage analysis. The role of positional information. Mutants affecting RAM organization. Molecular genetics and mutants of root hair development.

 
Practicals:
 
 

1. Stable transformation of Arabidopsis thaliana plants with Agrobacterium tumefaciens, using the floral dip method. 2. Selection of transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants, expressing the kanamycin resistance gene, on MS Km50 plates. 3. Agrobacterium mediated transient expression of a green fluorescent protein (GFP) construct in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. 4. Tissue specific (qualitative) analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana plants, expressing the β-glucuronidase marker gene (GUS), by using X-Gluc substrate assays. 5. Quantitative GUS gene expression analysis of transgenic Arabidopsis plants, by using fluorometric enzyme assays

 
Instructors:
 
  Lectures: Kosmas Haralampidis, Associate Professor of Molecular Plant Development (Coordinator) - Andreas Roussis, Assistant Professor of Molecular Plant Physiology
 
  Practicals: Kosmas Haralampidis, Associate Professor of Molecular Plant Development - Dr. Hellen Giannoutsou, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. Maria Dousi, Laboratory Teaching Staff
 
Notes:
 
 

There are no pre-requisites compulsory courses to choose and attend this ourse. However, good knowledge of the student in the fields of Biochemistry, Genetics, Botany, Plant Anatomy, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Plant Physiology is a prerequisite to comprehend the methodological approaches of molecular genetics and biotechnology used nowadays to study the relevant developmental genes and mechanisms.

Students are evaluated in Greek. Erasmus students are evaluated in English. For successful completion of this course, students are evaluated with: a) Written final examination (70-80%), with ranking difficulty on the basis of the issues and subjects presented during theoretical courses. The exams may include questions of multiple choice, questions of theoretical knowledge and resolving theoretical problems, b) Written final examination on the laboratory exercises/practical courses (20%), which include questions to evaluate critical thinking and problem solving exercises to assess students’ skills in the analysis and synthesis of scientific data and information, c) Optional group or small autonomous assignments (10%) to evaluate the capabilities of processing and presenting scientific data.

 
Contact:
 
  If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Assoc. Prof. Kosmas Haralampidis at: Tel. (+30) 210 727 4131; e-mail: kharalamp[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr. For additional information on MPD visit http://scholar.uoa.gr/kharalamp.