Dr. Timmermans' lab aims to identify novel components in the genetic networks that regulate plant stem cell activity and distinguish stem cells from their differentiating descendants. Central to her work is the characterization of an HIRA-dependent epigenetic silencing mechanism that represses stem cell fate during organogenesis. Her research addresses fundamental properties of stem cell function, as contributions of HIRA and epigenetic chromatin states to stem cell homeostasis have recently also been recognized in animals. In addition, the Timmermans' lab studies the roles of microRNAs as mobile signals operating in the stem cell niche. With the recognized importance of microRNAs in animal development and disease, experiments addressing their regulatory mechanisms and roles as development signals in plants are of general significance. Understanding the attributes of stem cells and their determinate descendants in evolutionary distinct systems will elucidate general properties that distinguish these cell types.
Guo M, Thomas J, Collins G, Timmermans MC. Direct repression of KNOX loci by the ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 complex of Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 2008 Jan;20(1):48-58. Epub 2008 Jan 18.
Nogueira FT, Madi S, Chitwood DH, Juarez MT, Timmermans MC. Two small regulatory RNAs establish opposing fates of a developmental axis. Genes Dev. 2007 Apr 1;21(7):750-5.
Phelps-Durr TL, Thomas J, Vahab P, Timmermans MC. Maize rough sheath2 and its Arabidopsis orthologue ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 interact with HIRA, a predicted histone chaperone, to maintain knox gene silencing and determinacy during organogenesis. Plant Cell. 2005 Nov;17(11):2886-98.