Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

International Initiatives



Participants : Yann Guédon, Maryam Aliee.

Funding: ANR-DFG (Contractor for Virtual Plants: INRA, From 2015 to 2019)

The aim of the AlternApp project is to investigate functional hypotheses on the genetic and environmental control of floral induction in apple tree progenies. Two segregating populations will be studied in two different environmental conditions for floral induction and bearing behavior, in order to identify genomic regions associated with regular phenotypes. The specific contribution of the team will be to develop statistical methods to quantify phenotype and genotype, as well as years and climatic effects on alternation. Transcriptome of varieties contrasted in their bearing behavior and artificially set into high or low cropping conditions will be explored by New Generation Sequencing Technology (NGS) to identify new candidate genes and allelic variations of interest. By this project, new results are expected on floral induction in apple tree in relation to their alternate bearing behavior and more applied results linked to the discovery of allelic variation in key genes that could be used in breeding programs.

Partners: AFEF INRA team (Montpellier), PIAF INRA team (Clermont-Ferrand), JKI (Dresden, Germany), UHOH (Hohenheim, Germany), Foundation E. Mach (San Michele all’Adige, Italy)

Inria International Partners


Participants : Guillaume Cerutti, Sophie Ribes, Frédéric Boudon, Christophe Godin, Teva Vernoux [ENS-Lyon] , Géraldine Brunoud [ENS-Lyon] , Carlos Galvan-Ampudia [ENS-Lyon] .

Funding: Human Frontiers - HFSP (From 2014 to 2017)

We propose to elucidate the basis for positional information by hormones during plant morphogenesis. While it is known that cell fate decisions require simultaneous input from multiple hormones, to-date a precise understanding of how these signals are coordinated and act together to drive morphogenesis does not exist. Our limited mechanistic understanding is largely due to the difficulty to quantify the distribution of these small molecules in space and time. To explore this fundamental question, we will exploit recent advances in synthetic biology to engineer an RNA-based biosensor platform applicable to a broad range of small molecules and in particular to hormones. Using live-imaging technologies, we will use the sensors to obtain quantitative dynamic 3D maps of hormone distributions and relate these maps to the spatio-temporal distribution of cell identities, both during normal morphogenesis and upon perturbations of hormone levels. This analysis will be done on the shoot apical meristem, one of the bestcharacterized developmental systems in higher plants. In this context, mathematical approaches will be essential to analyze and establish a predictive model for how multiple hormones influence cell fate in a spatio-temporal manner.

Informal International Partners

An important collaboration with the CIRAD research unit HortSys at the Reunion island and in particular Frédéric Normand, Yann Guédon, Pierre Fernique and Christophe Pradal has been established for several years. The topic of the collaboration is the study of the phenology of mango tree. This is a tripartite collaboration that also involves Pierre-Eric Lauri of the System research unit (INRA, Montpellier).

We have for several years a strong partnership with Ted de Jong group at UC Davis concerning the influence of various agronomic practices (water stress, pruning) on fruit tree branching and production. This is a tripartite collaboration that also involves Evelyne Costes of the AGAP/AFEF team.

A collaboration in plant phenotyping with the CSIRO and the INRA/Lepse team has been established for several years. The topic of the collaboration is to develop a full pipeline using OpenAlea 2.0 on plant phenotyping platforms. This is a joint collaboration with UMR LEPSE in Montpellier (François Tardieu).

A collaboration started in the last two years with the group of Henrik Jönsson of the Sainsbury Lab, Cambridge, UK. The collaboration is related to several modeling projects in the context of shoot apical and flower meristems development, with a particular focus on the use of quantitative 3D reconstructions of meristem structures. Yassin Refahi from the Sainsbury Lab is regularly paying visits to Montpellier. The Virtual Plants team is also regularly invited to Cambridge.