Amber Kei Bowers

University of California at San Diego, Division of Biological Sciences


Formation of vascular tissues is a key development during plant evolution. Despite extensive genetic and physiological studies, the molecular mechanisms of vascular tissue formation and patterning still remain obscure. Recent discoveries in the Zhao lab showed that the Arabidopsis YUCCA flavin monooxygenases (FMOs) determine the formation of vascular tissues in leaves and flowers. The YUCCA genes are involved tryptophan-dependent auxin biosynthesis. Plants with compromised YUCCA activities have defects in vascular tissue development in terms of the number of veins and the continuity of the veins. The goals of my research include investigating: 1) whether the YUCCA genes are widely distributed across the plant kingdom, 2) whether the YUCCA genes in species other than Arabidopsis are involved in auxin biosynthesis and vascular tissue development, 3) whether the formation of vascular tissue during plant evolution correlates with the acquisition of YUCCA genes. I am working in the Zhao lab in order to clone and express YUCCA genes from various plant species, while working with Dr. Joshua Kohn in order to construct comprehensive phylogenies of these proteins.



Bowers, A.K. and Zhao, Y. (2006) Recent Advances in Auxin Biosynthesis and Conjugation, in Recent Advances in Phytochemistry: Integrative Plant Biochemistry. J. Romeo, Ed. (2006), vol. 40, pp. 271-285.



Zhao Lab

Kohn Lab


Contact information

Amber Kei Bowers

University of California at San Diego

Division of Biological Sciences

9500 Gilman Drive MC 0116

La Jolla, CA 92093-0116

(858) 822-2673