Helen North

Helen North

Seed coat differentiation and secondary metabolites of commercial interest

Main research interests

In my team we study seed mucilage production and function. Mucilage is formed of polysaccharides accumulated in the epidermal cells of the seed coat that are released on imbibition. The function of mucilage remains to be clearly demonstrated. We are thus interested in both how and why its constituent polysaccharides are produced. In particular, we exploit natural variation in mucilage characteristics to identify novel genes and associate particular mucilage traits with the environment.

Selection of 3 major recent publications

North HM, Berger, A, Saez-Aguayo S, Ralet M-C. (2014) Understanding polysaccharide production and properties using seed coat mutants: future perspectives for the exploitation of natural variants. Ann Bot 114: 1251-1263.

Saez-Aguayo, S, Rondeau-Mouro, C, Macquet, A, Kronholm, I, Ralet, M-C., Berger, A, Salle, A, Poulain, D, Granier, F, Botran, L, Loudet, O, de Meaux, J,  Marion-Poll, A, North, HM (2014). Local evolution of seed flotation in Arabidopsis. PloS Genet. 10: e1004221.

Saez-Aguayo S, Ralet M-C, Berger A, Botran L, Marion-Poll A, North HM (2013) PECTIN METHYLESTERASE INHIBITOR6 promotes Arabidopsis mucilage release by limiting methylesterification of homogalacturonan in seed coat epidermal cells. Plant Cell 25: 308-323


Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin
Pôle Reproduction et Graines
UMR 1318 INRA-AgroParisTech
Route de Saint Cyr
78026 Versailles cedex


See also

Embryogenesis, epigenetic control and seed size

Lucia Colombo (University of Milan), Jean-Denis Faure (Labex SPS), Loïc Lepiniec (Labex SPS)

Seed coat differentiation and secondary metabolites of commercial interest

George Haughn (University of British Columbia), Isabelle Debeaujon (LabEx SPS), Helen North (LabEx SPS)

Seed reserve accumulation : yield and quality

John Harada (University of California), Sébastien Baud (LabEx SPS), Bertrand Dubreucq (LabEx SPS)

Desiccation and stress responses

Julia Buitink (INRA Angers), Christophe Bailly (UPMC Paris), Emmanuelle Issakidis-Bourguet (LabEx SPS)

Dormancy, germination and dispersal

Kathleen Donohue (Duke University),  Annie Marion-Poll (LabEx SPS), Loïc Rajjou (LabEx SPS)

Modification date: 12 December 2014 | Publication date: 13 November 2014 | By: Helen North