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.


Functional Analysis of the Arabidopsis TETRASPANIN Gene Family in Plant Growth and DevelopmentWang F, Muto A, Van de Velde J, Neyt P, Himanen K, Vandepoele K, Van Lijsebettens MPLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 169, 2200-14, 2015
Transcript elongation factors: shaping transcriptomes after transcript initiationVan Lijsebettens M, Grasser KTRENDS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 19, 717-726, 2014
Histone H2B monoubiquitination is required to reach maximal transcript levels of circadian clock genes in ArabidopsisHimanen K, Woloszynska M, Boccardi T, De Groeve S, Nelissen H, Bruno L, Vuylsteke M, Van Lijsebettens MPLANT JOURNAL, 72, 249-60, 2012
Brachypodium distachyon promoters as efficient building blocks for transgenic research in maizeCoussens G, Aesaert S, Verelst W, Demeulenaere M, De Buck S, Njuguna E, Inzé D, Van Lijsebettens MJOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY, 63, 4263-73, 2012
Energy efficiency and energy homeostasis as genetic and epigenetic components of plant performance and crop productivityDe Block M, Van Lijsebettens MCURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY, 14, 275-82, 2011

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

VIB-Ghent University and Bayer CropScience scientists start collaboration to accelerate improvement of agricultural crops

21/09/2011 - Using epigenetics and computational biology, the scientists will develop new molecular breeding tools. The results of the studies will be made public in scientific journals.

From bench to field and back

15/09/2011 - The rapidly growing population, accelerating climate change and a rush on biofuels are pushing plant breeders to look for crops with higher yields. Basic research into plant processes by academic and industrial scientists plays a key role.

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