Mieke Van Lijsebettens Lab

Research focus

​The research unit on “Chromatin and growth control” headed by Mieke Van Lijsebettens has a history in developmental biology and transformation research in Arabidopsis. Over the last years, the research was extended to a few crops such as Brassica napus and maize, with a focus on epigenetic and chromatin-related aspects of plant growth and development. Transcriptional regulation is one of the major molecular mechanisms that controls plant growth and developmental pathways. Chromatin state determines transcriptional activity which is either repressed or active and might be especially important in the regulation of developmental transitions. Chromatin might act as an interface between environmental/developmental stimuli and the RNA polymerase II transcriptional machinery. We study the role of chromatin modifying complexes activating transcription during RNA polymerase II transcription elongation in plant growth and development. Furthermore, artificial selection has an epigenetic component and might represent an important novel method to obtain epigenetic variation. We aim to unravel the molecular and epigenetic mechanisms selected for in artificial selection and study the stability of epigenetic variation in subsequent generations. Another project relates to the role of tetraspanin membrane proteins in plants which is virtually unknown except for one which has a severe impact on auxin-related patterning processes. We study the function of the tetraspanin gene family in cell-cell communication processes throughout development and expect to identify some of them as novel components of existing signaling pathways. Finally, we have a maize transformation platform in place that is used for basic, translational and biotechnological research.


Elongator regulates hypocotyl growth in darkness and during photomorphogenesisWoloszynska M, Gagliardi O, Vandenbussche F, De Groeve S, Baez L, Neyt P, Le Gall S, Fung J, Mas P, Van Der Straeten D, Van Lijsebettens MJOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE, e-pub, e-pub, 2018
Altered expression of maize PLASTOCHRON1 enhances biomass and seed yield by extending cell division durationSun X Cahill J Van Hautegem T Feys K Whipple C Novák O Delbare S Versteele C Demuynck K De Block J Storme V Claeys H Van Lijsebettens M Coussens G Ljung K De Vliegher A Muszynski M Inzé D* Nelissen H*Nature Communications, 8, 14752, 2017* These authors contributed equally
Plant-RRBS, a bisulfite and next-generation sequencing-based methylome profiling method enriching for coverage of cytosine positionsSchmidt M, Van Bel M, Woloszynska M, Slabbinck B, Martens C, De Block M, Coppens F, Van Lijsebettens MBMC PLANT BIOLOGY, 17, 115, 2017
ROTUNDA3 function in plant development by phosphatase 2A-mediated regulation of auxin transporter recyclingKarampelias M, Neyt P, De Groeve S, Aesaert S, Coussens G, Rolcik J, Bruno L, De Winne N, Van Minnebruggen A, Van Montagu M, Ponce M, Micol J, Friml J, De Jaeger G, Van Lijsebettens MPROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 113, 2768-73, 2016
Selection for Improved Energy Use Efficiency and Drought Tolerance in Canola Results in Distinct Transcriptome and Epigenome ChangesVerkest A Byzova M* Martens C* Willems P Verwulgen T Slabbinck B Rombaut D Van De Velde J Vandepoele K Standaert E Peeters M Van Lijsebettens M Van Breusegem F De Block MPLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 168, 1338-50, 2015* These authors contributed equally

Job openings


Technological evolutions in plant transformation

30/07/2016 - Transformation is an essential tool for functional analysis of genes in model organisms, such as Arabidopsis and maize, and thus essential in the VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent.​

Novel component in pin recycling steers auxin-mediated development

18/07/2016 - ​At the VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent, scientists identified the ROTUNDA3 protein as a regulator of the protein phosphatase 2A-driven PIN-FORMED recycling

Mieke Van Lijsebettens

Mieke Van Lijsebettens

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


​​PhD: Ghent University, Belgium, 1984
VIB Group Leader since 1998

Contact Info

VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems BiologyUGent-VIB Research Building FSVMTechnologiepark 927 9052 GENTRoute description