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We are studying the mechanisms that control flower development and analyzes the changes undergone by these regulators during evolution. The LEAFY protein (LFY) is a key regulator of floral development and according to evolutionary theories, would also be the major player behind the rise of flowering plants. We have just obtained the first 3-D structure of the binding domain of LEAFY to the DNA in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. By the mean of a biochemical approach confirmed by the structure, we showed that the cooperative DNA/protein interaction could partly explain the ability of LEAFY to initiate the floral transition.
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CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.