Multicellular organisms are faced with dramatic challenges: multiple cell types need to be individually instructed and coordinated in time and space. In addition, precise control of cell division and cellular growth patterns is required for developing a functional, 3-dimensional shape. In most species, developmental patterns are highly reproducible, leading a species-specific phenotypes. A central question in biology is how genetic regulation ensures species-specific morphologies. In plants, morphogenesis relies heavily on the placement of the new cell wall, and thus, developmental regulation often results in modulation of the new division plane. We use the early Arabidopsis embryo as a simple and highly predictable model in which cell type specification, cell division and tissue patterning are intricately coordinated. I will discuss our recent work aimed at understanding the cellular basis for the establishment of multicellular patterns in 3D. I will describe our efforts towards identifying the genetic and cellular basis for the establishment of cell polarity and oriented cell division.
Dolf Weijers, Wageningen University, the Netherlands studied Biochemistry and Biotechnology and obtained his PhD in Developmental Genetics on hormonal control of plant embryo development at Leiden University (the Netherlands). After an EMBO-funded post-doc at Tübingen University with Gerd Jürgens (Germany), he became group leader (2006), Assistant (2008), Associate (2010) and Full Professor (2012) of Biochemistry at Wageningen University. He heads an international research group, funded in part by the ERC, that studies mechanisms of multicellular development using the early plant embryo as a model. Areas of interest include transcriptional regulation of cell identity, 3D patterning and oriented cell division.