Scott Poethig

Patricia M. Williams Professor of Biology
103E Carolyn Lynch Laboratories
spoethig@sas.upenn.edu
215-898-8915
Plant Biology
Cell and Developmental Biology
Genetics, Epigenetics, Genomics
Education: 
Ph.D., Yale University, 1981 
M.A., Yale University, 1976 
B.A., College of Wooster, 1974
Research Interests: 

 

Plants change as they develop. Some of these changes occur gradually over a long period of time, whereas others occur quickly, often resulting in major changes in shoot morphology. This latter phenomenon is termed phase change, and is the primary focus of our research. We are particularly interested in the juvenile-to-adult transition, also known as vegetative phase change. This transition precedes flowering, and is characterized by changes in leaf shape and patterns of cellular differentiation, by an increase in reproductive competence, and by changes in a variety of physiological processes. Vegetative phase change is promoted by a group of plant-specific transcription factors (SBP/SPL proteins), whose expression is repressed during the juvenile phase by the miRNAs, miR156 and miR157. Vegetative phase change occurs when the levels of miR156/miR157 decline, leading to an increase in the abundance of SBP/SPL proteins. We are studying the temporal regulation of miR156/miR157 and the organization and function of the pathways they control.  We work primarily with Arabidopsis thaliana, but have recently begun to explore the mechanism and evolution of vegetative phase change in the Acacieae, a pantropical family of nitrogen-fixing trees that includes species that do, and do not, undergo major morphological changes during vegetative phase change.  In addition to studying the timing of vegetative phase change, we are interested in the molecular mechanism by which miR156/miR157 regulate gene expression, and have identified a number of genes involved in this process.

 

Selected Publications: 

Poethig, R. S. (2013) Vegetative phase change and shoot maturation in plants. In: Current Topics in Developmental Biology 105: 125-152

Yang, L., Xu, M., Koo, Y., He, J., and R. Scott Poethig (2013). Sugar promotes vegetative phase change in Arabidopsis thaliana by repressing the expression of MIR156A and MIR156C. eLife 2:e00260

Yang, L. and R. S. Poethig (2012). Mutations in the GW-repeat protein SUO reveal a developmental function for miRNA-mediated translational repression in Arabidopsis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci 109:315-320.

Earley, K. W. and R. S. Poethig (2011). Binding of the Cyclophilin 40 ortholog SQUINT to HSP90 protein is required for SQUINT function in Arabidopsis. J. Biol. Chem. 286: 38184-38189.

Wang, J-W., Park, M. Y., Wang, L-J., Koo, Y., Chen, X-Y., Weigel, D. and R. S. Poethig (2011) miRNA control of vegetative phase change in trees. PLoS Genetics 7:e1002012.

Willmann, M. R. and R. S. Poethig (2011) The effect of the floral repressor FLC on the timing and progression of vegetative phase change in Arabidopsis. Development 138: 677-685.

Yang, L., Conway, S. R. and R. S. Poethig (2011). Vegetative phase change is mediated by a leaf-derived signal that represses the transcription of miR156. Development 138: 245-249.

Poethig, R. S. (2010). The past, present, and future of vegetative phase change. Plant Physiol. 154: 541-544.

Earley, K. W., Smith, M. R., Weber, R., Gregory, B. D. and R. S. Poethig (2010) An endogenous F-box protein regulates ARGONAUTE1 in Arabidopsis. Silence 1: 15.

Gillmor, C. S., Park, M. Y., Smith M. R., Pepitone R., Kerstetter R. A., and R. S. Poethig (2009). The MED12-MED13 module of mediator regulates the timing of embryo patterning in Arabidopsis. Development 137:113-122.

Poethig, R. S. (2009). Small RNAs and developmental timing in plants. Curr. Op. Gen. Dev. 19: 374-378.

Yamaguchi A., Wu M-F, Yang L., Wu G., Poethig R. S., and D. Wagner (2009). The microRNA-regulated SBP-box transcription factor SPL3 is a direct upstream activator of LEAFY, FRUITFULL, and APETALA1. Dev. Cell 17: 268-278.

Wu G., Park, M. Y., Conway S. R., Wang J-W., Weigel D. and R. S. Poethig (2009). The sequential action of miR156 and miR172 regulates developmental timing in Arabidopsis. Cell 138: 750-759.

Smith M. R., Willmann M. R., Wu G., Moller B., Weier D. and R. S. Poethig (2009). Cyclophilin40 is required for miRNA activity in Arabidopsis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 106: 5424-5429.

Willmann, M. R. and R. S. Poethig (2007). Conservation and evolution of miRNA regulatory programs in plant development. Curr. Op. Plant Biol. 10: 503-511.

Poethig, R. S., A. Peragine, M. Yoshikawa, C. Hunter, M. Willmann and G. Wu (2006). The function of RNAi in plant development. Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 71: 165-170.

Wu, G and R. S. Poethig (2006). Temporal regulation of shoot development in Arabidopsis by miR156 and its target SPL3. Development 133: 3539-3547.

Hunter, C, M. Willmann, G. Wu, M. Gutierrez-Nava and R. S. Poethig (2006). Trans-acting siRNA-mediated repression of ETTIN and ARF4 regulates heteroblasty in Arabidopsis. Development 133: 2973-2981.

Yoshikawa, M., Peragine, A., Park, M. Y. and R. S. Poethig (2005) A pathway for the biogenesis of trans-acting siRNAs in Arabidopsis. Genes & Dev. 19: 2164-2175.

Park, M. Y., Wu, G., Gonzalez-Sulser, A., Vaucheret, H. and R. S. Poethig (2005) Nuclear processing and export of microRNAs in Arabidopsis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 102: 3691-3696.

Courses Taught: 

Integrated Studies 1: Identity, Inheritance, Change

Biology 17: The Biology of Food

Biology 255: Plant Development

Biology 540/CAMB541: Genetic Analysis