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Locke Group

James Locke

Research Group Leader

Royal Society University Research Fellow

Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge
University of Cambridge Bateman Street
Cambridge CB2 1LR

Office Phone: 01223 761110

Research Interests

In order to gain a quantitative understanding of the gene circuits that underlie plant development, it is critical to examine gene regulation at the single cell level. Single cell analysis has revealed that gene regulation can be surprisingly dynamic and heterogeneous, in ways that are not identified by traditional approaches that take an average from a population. In our lab we use a combination of single cell time-lapse microscopy, mathematical modelling and synthetic biology approaches to understand the design principles of dynamic gene regulation. We do this in simpler model systems such as cyanobacteria and B. subtilis, where it is possible to have precise single cell control of gene regulation, but we have also extended our approach to Arabidopsis. In Arabidopsis we are able to build on our work on simpler systems to examine the functional role of dynamic, and even stochastic, gene regulation in development.

Selected Recent Publications

HM Meyer*, J Teles*, P Formosa-Jordan*, Y Refahi, R San-Bento, G Ingram, H Jönsson^, JCW Locke^, AHK Roeder^, Fluctuations of the transcription factor ATML1 generate the pattern of giant cells in the Arabidopsis sepal, eLife, 2017, e19131 *joint first authors ^Joint corresponding authors

BMC Martins*, AK Das*, L Antunes, JCW Locke, Frequency doubling in the cyanobacterial circadian clock, Molecular Systems Biology, 2016, 12 (12), 896, *joint first authors.

JH Jung*, M Domijan*, C Klose*, S Biswas*, D Ezer*, M Gao, AK Khattak, MS Box, V Charoensawan, S Cortijo, M Kumar, A Grant, JCW Locke, E Schäfer, KE Jaeger, PA Wigge, Phytochromes Function as Thermosensors in Arabidopsis, Science, 2016, Nov 18;354(6314):886-889. *joint first authors.

MS Box, BE Huang, M Domijan, KE Jaeger, AK Khattak, SJ Yoo, EL Sedivy, DM Jones, TJ Hearn, AAR Webb, A Grant, JCW Locke, Wigge PA, ELF3 controls thermoresponsive growth in Arabidopsis, Current Biology, 2015, 19;25(2):194-9. 

J Young*, JCW Locke*, MB Elowitz, Rate of environmental change determines stress response specificity, PNAS, 2013,  Mar 5;110(10):4140-5, *joint first authors.

JCW Locke*, J Young*, M Fontes, MB Elowitz, Stochastic pulse regulation in bacterial stress response, Science, 2011 Oct 21;334(6054):366-9, *joint first authors.  

 

Selected Recent Reviews

K Abley, JCW Locke, HMO Leyser, Developmental mechanisms underlying variable, invariant and plastic phenotypes, Annals of Botany, 2016, 117 (5), 733-748

BMC Martins, JCW Locke, Microbial individuality: how single-cell heterogeneity enables population level strategies, Current Opinion in Microbiology, 2015, 24, 104-112

 


Group Members 

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Downstream targets of the cyanobacterial circadian clock can double their frequency from one peak to two peaks every 24 hours through an oscillatory incoherent feedforward loop circuit. 

Research supported by grants from:

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