Robert A. Martienssen

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We report an improved draft nucleotide sequence of the 2.3-gigabase genome of maize, an important crop plant and model for biological research. Over 32,000 genes were predicted, of which 99.8% were placed on reference chromosomes. Nearly 85% of the genome is composed of hundreds of families of transposable elements, dispersed nonuniformly across the genome.(More)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are approximately 21 nucleotide noncoding RNAs produced by Dicer-catalyzed excision from stem-loop precursors. Many plant miRNAs play critical roles in development, nutrient homeostasis, abiotic stress responses, and pathogen responses via interactions with specific target mRNAs. miRNAs are not the only Dicer-derived small RNAs produced(More)
Eukaryotic heterochromatin is characterized by a high density of repeats and transposons, as well as by modified histones, and influences both gene expression and chromosome segregation. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we deleted the argonaute, dicer, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene homologs, which encode part of the machinery(More)
Meristem function in plants requires both the maintenance of stem cells and the specification of founder cells from which lateral organs arise. Lateral organs are patterned along proximodistal, dorsoventral and mediolateral axes. Here we show that the Arabidopsis mutant asymmetric leaves1 (as1) disrupts this process. AS1 encodes a myb domain protein,(More)
The transition from vegetative to reproductive phases during Arabidopsis development is the result of a complex interaction of environmental and endogenous factors. One of the key regulators of this transition is LEAFY (LFY), whose threshold levels of activity are proposed to mediate the initiation of flowers. The closely related APETALA1 (AP1) and(More)
The crucifer Arabidopsis thaliana has been used widely as a model organism for the study of plant development. We describe here the development of an efficient insertional mutagenesis system in Arabidopsis that permits identification of genes by their patterns of expression during development. Transposable elements of the Ac/Ds system carrying the GUS(More)
The mutagenic activity of transposable elements (TEs) is suppressed by epigenetic silencing and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), especially in gametes that could transmit transposed elements to the next generation. In pollen from the model plant Arabidopsis, we show that TEs are unexpectedly reactivated and transpose, but only in the pollen vegetative(More)
Overlapping epigenetic mechanisms have evolved in eukaryotic cells to silence the expression and mobility of transposable elements (TEs). Owing to their ability to recruit the silencing machinery, TEs have served as building blocks for epigenetic phenomena, both at the level of single genes and across larger chromosomal regions. Important progress has been(More)
To ensure flowering in favourable conditions, many plants flower only after an extended period of cold, namely winter. In Arabidopsis, the acceleration of flowering by prolonged cold, a process called vernalization, involves downregulation of the protein FLC, which would otherwise prevent flowering. This lowered FLC expression is maintained through(More)
Heterochromatin has been defined as deeply staining chromosomal material that remains condensed in interphase, whereas euchromatin undergoes de-condensation. Heterochromatin is found near centromeres and telomeres, but interstitial sites of heterochromatin (knobs) are common in plant genomes and were first described in maize. These regions are repetitive(More)