M. van Dop (Maritza)

Medewerker - Plant & Animal Biology

M. van Dop (Maritza)

Heyendaalseweg 135
Interne postcode: 30

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One of the greatest inventions in the evolution of life is the development of multicellularity. The most fundamental processes of creating a multicellular organism are cell adhesion (cells sticking together) and cell dissociation (releasing cells). In plants, cell dissociation is required to let go of old organs such as leaves, to generate pollen and aid root growth. To release cells without disintegrating the plant, the correct connections between plant cell walls must be disrupted. Cell polarity cues help plants to differentiate between different sides of the cells and as such play a crucial role in cell dissociation. But how does cell polarity regulate cell dissociation?

To answer this question, I use the Arabidopsis thaliana root cap as a simple, accessible model of cell dissociation. Using this model, I investigate candidate genes with potential roles in cell polarity and cell dissociation. By applying advanced microscopy techniques, mutagenesis and protein interaction studies, I aim to unravel the mechanism of polar domain establishment that is required for cell dissociation.