Professor Andrew Charles Allan
Research | Current
The CHIPs lab (Colour and Health in Plants)
In the "CHIPs" Lab, we have 5 post-docs and 2 research associates, all working on aspects of fruit biology.
We have genomes (apple, peach, strawberry), expressed genes (kiwifruit, berries), greenhouses full of plants, and great people - physiologists, molecular biologists, and biochemists….all enthusiasts for plant biology!
We are funded in the FRST program, HortGenomics, with the objective of producing "Elite plants with new colour & health attributes", and in the FRST program "Pipfruit; A juicy future" which focuses on fruit quality and texture. In my lab we have the target of understanding the production of fruit health and colour compounds, such as the red anthocyanin, yellow and orange carotenoids and the green chlorophylls, as well as the colourless flavonoids. With this understanding it will be possible to develop (via breeding - usually) fruit with novel appearance, colour changes that indicate harvest and eating ripeness and healthy fruit with enhanced levels of antioxidants.
Through this research we will enhance our understanding of the biosynthesis, regulation and development of plant pigments and health compounds. We exploit whole genome sequences that are available for an increasing number of plants. Also allelic diversity found in the germplasm and breeding resources, at both the genetic and epigenetic level.
Our lab uses transformation of model plants (Arabidopsis, tobacco, strawberry) for gene function testing as well as transformation of kiwifruit, apple, and other species.
Some of our projects
- The red fleshed apple
We have used extremes in the germplasm to find the mutations that give apples red foliage and red flesh. This mutation results from an autoregulatory loop set up by a major gene (MYB10) gaining the ability to up-regulate itself. We have extended our knowledge of these genes into many other fruits (peaches, cherries, strawberries, bayberries, mangosteen etc).
- New Kiwifruit colours (Transcriptional regulation of Carotenoid biosynthesis in plants)
Our research group is investigating carotenoid pigment accumulation in plant flowers and fruit and how the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway is regulated by transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. We have identified two transcription factors that appear to function in regulating gene expression of carotenoid biosynthetic genes in kiwifruit.
The aim of this project is to understand how these transcription factors control carotenogenesis using model plants. Project objectives:
- Elucidate the effect of transcription factor gene expression on carotenoid accumulation in transient/stable transgenic plants (Arabidopsis & N. benthamiana) using high performance liquid chromatography systems.
- Analyse changes in endogenous gene expression profiles in model plants expressing the transcription factor genes using Gene array and Quantitative PCR methods.
- Investigate the changes in plastid structure during carotenogenesis using transgenic model plants expressing the transcription factor genes.
- Understand promoter function by characterising potential cis-elements in transcription factor gene promoters using bioinformatics tools and in-planta assays.
- Genomes that we eat
Apple, strawberry and kiwifruit comparative genomics.
Graduate research projects can be carried out in my lab at Plant&Food Research or based in the SBS labs. Projects are funded by MBIE.
You are very welcome to make contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org or come and discuss graduate opportunities with me.
Associate Professor at SBS and Science Group Leader, Discovery for Impact, at Plant & Food Research
Areas of expertise
Plant Molecular Science
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Nardozza, S., Boldingh, H. L., Kashuba, M. P., Feil, R., Jones, D., Thrimawithana, A. H., ... McGhie, T. K. (2019). Carbon starvation reduces carbohydrate and anthocyanin accumulation in red-fleshed fruit via trehalose 6-phosphate and MYB27. Plant, cell & environment10.1111/pce.13699
- Plunkett, B. J., Henry-Kirk, R., Friend, A., Diack, R., Helbig, S., Mouhu, K., ... Putterill, J. (2019). Apple B-box factors regulate light-responsive anthocyanin biosynthesis genes. Scientific reports, 9 (1)10.1038/s41598-019-54166-2
- Zhao, Y., Dong, W., Zhu, Y., Allan, A. C., Kui, L.-W., & Xu, C. (2019). PpGST1, an anthocyanin-related glutathione S-transferase gene, is essential for fruit coloration in peach. PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY JOURNAL10.1111/pbi.13291
- Anwar, M., Yu, W., Yao, H., Zhou, P., Allan, A. C., & Zeng, L. (2019). NtMYB3, an R2R3-MYB from Narcissus, Regulates Flavonoid Biosynthesis. International journal of molecular sciences, 20 (21).10.3390/ijms20215456
- Espley, R. V., Leif, D., Plunkett, B., McGhie, T., Henry-Kirk, R., Hall, M., ... Nardozza, S. (2019). Red to Brown: An Elevated Anthocyanic Response in Apple Drives Ethylene to Advance Maturity and Fruit Flesh Browning. FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 1010.3389/fpls.2019.01248
- Wang, W.-Q., Wang, J., Wu, Y.-Y., Li, D.-W., Allan, A. C., & Yin, X.-R. (2019). Genome-wide analysis of coding and non-coding RNA reveals a conserved miR164-NAC regulatory pathway for fruit ripening. The New phytologist10.1111/nph.16233
- Templeton, M. D., McAtee, P. A., Nieuwenhuizen, N. J., Chen, X., Jose, B., Jayaraman, J., ... Allan, A. C. (2019). Re-programming of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae gene expression during early stages of infection of kiwifruit. Paper presented at 18th Congress of International-Society-for-Molecular-Plant-Microbe-Interactions (IS-MPMI), Glasgow, SCOTLAND. 14 July - 18 July 2019. MOLECULAR PLANT-MICROBE INTERACTIONS. (pp. 2).
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Matthew Templeton
- Akagi, T., Pilkington, S. M., Varkonyi-Gasic, E., Henry, I. M., Sugano, S. S., Sonoda, M., ... Wang, T. (2019). Two Y-chromosome-encoded genes determine sex in kiwifruit. Nature plants, 5 (8), 801-809. 10.1038/s41477-019-0489-6
Team Leader, Colour in Plants
120 Mt Albert Rd,
Private Bag 92169
Mt Albert, Auckland
Primary office location
COMMERCE A - Bldg 114
3A SYMONDS ST