Research teams

Cell Differentiation and Polarity

DIPOL 11 members

DIPOL group is interested in understanding how development, stress response and lipid metabolism are intertwined for the sake of understanding plant physiology but also for translating knowledge to applications.
ADAPTATION & METABOLISM SIGNALING & DEVELOPMENT BIOTECH SMART CROPS AGROECOLOGY Genome Editing Stress Hormones Seed Architecture & Modeling Regeneration Cell & Morphogenesis

Plant growth and development is intrinsically associated with metabolism. Lipids are essential molecules involved in cellular structure, signalling and obviously in storage.
Membranes ensure cell integrity and also define subcellular architecture. Both lipids and proteins are essential components of membranes and are responsible for their functionalization into macro- and micro-domains.
Lipids, membranes and stress response (DeBigaultDuGranrut and Cacas 2016)
The synthesis of the endomembranes takes place, for the most part, in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with fatty acid (FA) desaturation and elongation, and with sphingolipid and phospholipid synthesis. The ER is also responsible for the anabolism of storage lipids, like triacylglycerols. The secretory pathway activity (i.e. the amount and nature of the secreted client proteins) is thus highly dependent on ER-localized lipid anabolism that provides membranes for vesicular transport. Following intrinsic and extrinsic cues, such an activity can be accommodated through adjustment of the lipid content. This can influence plant tolerance to abiotic and biotic constraints, but it also impacts plant development by modifying cell polarity and differentiation.
Indeed, polarly-localized proteins are typically involved in nutrients or hormones transport, allowing a directional flux of molecules necessary for their uptake or their gradual distribution within a tissue or during organ regeneration. Plant cells maintain or redirect such an asymmetric localization of proteins by means of targeted secretion, endocytosis and/or degradation. Molecular mechanisms regulating the synergistic interplay between cell polarity and cell identity, are still poorly understood.

DIPOL group focus on 3 main questions :
- How do changes in cell polarity and membrane dynamics translate into changes in cell identities and organogenesis ?
- How are lipids involved in the response of the ER to stresses, and conversely?
- How lipid metabolism could be engineered into the appropriate plant chassis to improve oil quality and yield but also to improve resistance to stress?

Models, tools and methods
- The DIPOL group research activities is carried out on several plant species including Arabidopsis, Camelina sativa, tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) et tomato depending the research projects. The group is also using yeast and moss (Physcomitrela patens) for specific activities.
The DIPOL group gathers also a wide range of expertise including molecular genetics, imaging, cell biology, biochemistry and lipid chemistry.
Specific expertise was developed in the frame of DIPOL 3 research axes :
- Microfluidic and imaging for the analysis of cellular processes underlying cell differenciation
- Pharmacology and lipid chemistry for ER stress responses
- Synthetic biology and camelina translational tools (transformation, vectors, CRISPR, pressing devices, etc..)
Cell Differentiation and Polarity


Jean-Denis Faure