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Postdoc - Plant Gamete Gene Expression

Sheila McCormick sheilamc at nature.berkeley.edu
Fri Aug 16 12:04:29 EST 2002

Postdoctoral position  Functional Genomics of Plant Gamete Gene Expression

A postdoctoral position, funded by the NSF Plant Genome Program, is 
available immediately.

Double fertilization was discovered over 100 years ago, but the 
molecular biology of this unique feature of the angiosperm life cycle 
is essentially unexplored. This project will provide tools to help 
answer many long-standing questions about gamete gene expression and 
gamete interactions. Examples include: Where and when are the mRNAs 
in sperm transcribed? Will plant gamete fusion use molecules similar 
to those mediating gamete fusions in animals or in yeast? Will 
differing molecules on the two sperm mediate preference for fusion 
partner (egg or central cell)? Will there be interspecific barriers 
that operate at the sperm-egg level? Will sperm RNAs delivered upon 
fusion have any impact on early zygote or endosperm development?

In this project, cDNA libraries will be constructed from isolated 
eggs and embryo sacs of maize (we already have an excellent cDNA 
library prepared from FACs-purified sperm). More than 5000 cDNAs from 
each library will be sequenced. Expression profiles for ~200 diverse 
cDNAs from each library will be determined using RT-PCR and whole 
mount in situ hybridization. Although purified gametes are not 
accessible from most plants, with information about maize gamete gene 
expression, comparative genomics can be used to identify and 
manipulate gamete-expressed genes in diverse plant species. 
Arabidopsis lines with fluorescently-tagged gametes will be 
constructed to facilitate analysis of mutants affected in gamete 
function, and to facilitate imaging of fertilization in vivo. 
Functional analyses will focus on genes predicted to encode 
surface-localized proteins that might mediate cellular interactions 
during fertilization.

Applicants should have a strong background and publication record in 
molecular biology or a related field. Experience with plant biology 
or reproductive biology is not required; experience with in situ 
hybridizations is a plus.  Salary range $31, 000 - $35,000/yr., 
depending on experience and track record.  

Applicants should mail or email:
1) a cover letter describing experience
2) a CV including a list of publications and the names and email 
addresses of 3 references, to:
Sheila McCormick, Plant Gene Expression Center, 800 Buchanan St., 
Albany, CA 94710, sheilamc at nature.berkeley.edu.
Additional information about the lab, including recent publications, 
can be found at http://www.pgec.usda.gov/McCormick/mclab.html

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