© Leibniz-Institut (IPK)


The group’s research is focused on identifying the genetic and epigenetic factors which control the development of flowering plant anthers and pollen, with a view to using this knowledge to improve crops. The successful development of the anther, the floral structure within which pollen is produced, is crucial for the plant’s successful reproduction, and therefore in the context of crop improvement, for both its economic yield and the production of hybrid varieties.

The development of the anther and pollen grains involves multiple rounds of cell division and differentiation, leading to the transfer of genetic information from the mother plant to the mature pollen grains, and subsequently to the filial generation. Our aim is to understand how the stability of the genome is maintained during this highly coordinated and complex developmental process. We are seeking to determine how the various cell types present coordinate their growth. Although a start has been made to revealing the mechanistic basis of anther and pollen development, as yet the full picture remains unclear. Our research seeks to fill current gaps in understanding with respect to both the genetically and epigenetically controlled regulatory mechanisms involved.

While most of the research is directed to the model species Arabidopsis thaliana, we also aim to use the knowledge acquired to manipulate the fertility and economic yield of crop species.

Variation in the epigenome has emerged as a potent driver of crop yield and end-use quality, so a programme of generating and identifying novel epigenetic variants is being conducted in an attempt to exploit this source of phenotypic variation for crop improvement. While much is already known with respect to the generation and stability of epigenetic variants in A. thaliana, much less of such knowledge has been assembled to date in crop species. Thus, the direction of our research is translational, aiming first to generate novel epigenetic variants in various crop species and then to test whether any of them can make a positive contribution to crop improvement.

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Chandra J R:

Functional analysis of H3K9 demethylases in Arabidopsis. (Master Thesis) Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (2021) 43 pp.

Cheng J, Zhang G, Xu L, Liu C, Jiang H:

Altered H3K27 trimethylation contributes to flowering time variations in polyploid Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes. J. Exp. Bot. (2021) accepted. dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab470

Kuhlmann M, Jiang H, Catoni M, Johannes F (Eds.):

Front. Plant Sci., Frontiers Research Topic “DNA Methylation in Plants Associated with Abiotic Stress." Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA (2021)


Wang Y, Jiang H, Wang G:

PHERES1 controls endosperm gene imprinting and seed development. Trends Plant Sci. 25 (2020) 517-519. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2020.03.004

Wang Y, Zhong Z, Zhang Y, Xu L, Feng S, Rayatpisheh S, Wohlschlegel J A, Wang Z, Jacobsen S E, Ausin I:

NAP1-RELATED PROTEIN1 and 2 negatively regulate H2A.Z abundance in chromatin in Arabidopsis. Nat. Commun. 11 (2020) 2887. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16691-x

Xu L, Jiang H:

Writing and reading histone H3 lysine 9 methylation in Arabidopsis. Front. Plant Sci. 11 (2020) 452. https://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.00452

Yang S:

ldentifying the role of AHL22-complex in organ size regulation in Arabidopsis. (Master Thesis) Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (2020) 39 pp.


Zhang G:

Flowering time variation in autopolyploid Arabidopsis thaliana. (Master Thesis) Göttingen, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Fakultät für Agrarwissenschaften (2019) 60 pp.


Wang G, Jiang H, Del Toro de León G, Martinez G, Köhler C:

Sequestration of a transposon-derived siRNA by a target mimic imprinted gene induces postzygotic reproductive isolation in Arabidopsis. Dev. Cell 46 (2018) 696-705. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2018.07.014

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