Stem cells are essential to plants, since they permit the indeterminate growth cycle and continual initiation of organs during development. Stem cell regulation is also an important contributor to crop yield and biomass. The Jackson lab is studying mechanisms of cell-cell communications that are essential for stem cell maintenance. Dr. Jackson has discovered a novel pathway of direct intercellular transport of transcription factor proteins and mRNAs, which appear to be critical for stem cell maintenance. The lab has also isolated genes that regulate the balance between stem cell proliferation and differentiation, and are studying their mode of action.
Satoh-Nagasawa, N., Nagasawa, N., Malcomber, S., Sakai, H., and Jackson, D. 2006. A trehalose metabolic enzyme controls inflorescence architecture in maize. Nature 441: 227-230.
Kim, J.-Y., Rim, Y., Wang, J., and Jackson, D. 2005. A novel cell-to-cell trafficking assay indicates that the KNOX homeodomain is necessary and sufficient for intercellular protein and mRNA trafficking. Genes Dev. 19: 788-793.