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Understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling the orientation of plant cell divisions

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "TORPEDO" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 9052

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Belgium [BE]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙499˙937 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙937 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-02-01   to  2022-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    VIB BE (ZWIJNAARDE - GENT) coordinator 1˙499˙937.00


 Project objective

Due to the presence of a rigid cell wall, plant cells are fixed within their tissue context and cannot move relative to each other during development. Plants thus need to rely on directed cell elongation and cell division to generate a full three-dimensional (3D) structure. Controlling cell division orientations relative to the tissue axis is therefore the fundamental basis for 3D growth. In the root, plant cells are organised in cell files and undergo two main types of cell division to allow directional growth: anticlinal cell divisions (AD, adding cells within a cell file) and periclinal cell divisions (PD, creating new cell files, organs and tissues). Understanding the mechanisms that control cell division orientation is a key question in developmental biology and the main focus of this application. PDs are challenging to study as they only occur sporadically and typically in the most inner tissues of the root. I recently constructed a powerful system to induce strong, fast and homogenous PDs in any tissue type. I therefore now have the perfect tool at hands to tackle the fundamental question of how plants control the orientation of its cell divisions by:

1. Understanding the cellular events that occur prior to PD using a set of complementary techniques. 2. Identifying novel downstream components that translate the known genetic triggers for PD into changes in cell division orientation by performing an unbiased genetic screen. 3. Determining the developmental specificity and convergence of the known genetic pathways capable of inducing PD through studying their transcriptional targets in an ectopic tissue context. 4. Establishing a cell-culture based system for genetic and high throughput chemical perturbation studies of cell division orientation.

I thus aim to perform a global and comprehensive study of cell division orientation, a process crucial for 3D growth in general and vascular development in specific.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 BaoJun Yang, Jos R. Wendrich, Bert De Rybel, Dolf Weijers, Hong‐Wei Xue
Rice microtubule‐associated protein IQ67‐DOMAIN14 regulates grain shape by modulating microtubule cytoskeleton dynamics
published pages: , ISSN: 1467-7644, DOI: 10.1111/pbi.13279
Plant Biotechnology Journal 2020-02-13
2020 Kuan-Ju Lu, Nicole van ’t Wout Hofland, Eliana Mor, Sumanth Mutte, Paul Abrahams, Hirotaka Kato, Klaas Vandepoele, Dolf Weijers, Bert De Rybel
Evolution of vascular plants through redeployment of ancient developmental regulators
published pages: 733-740, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1912470117
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117/1 2020-02-13
2019 Wouter Smet, Iris Sevilem, Maria Angels de Luis Balaguer, Brecht Wybouw, Eliana Mor, Shunsuke Miyashima, Bernhard Blob, Pawel Roszak, Thomas B. Jacobs, Mark Boekschoten, Guido Hooiveld, Rosangela Sozzani, Ykä Helariutta, Bert De Rybel
DOF2.1 Controls Cytokinin-Dependent Vascular Cell Proliferation Downstream of TMO5/LHW
published pages: 520-529.e6, ISSN: 0960-9822, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.041
Current Biology 29/3 2019-08-29

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The information about "TORPEDO" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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