Dr Karine Myriam David


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Senior Lecturer

Research | Current

The hormone signalling group

My group is investigating the factors controlling early fruit development in kiwifruit and apple. We are particularly interested in the factors controlling fruit size, focusing on the role of plant hormones and key fruit-size related genes.

The approaches we use are multidisciplinary and combine physiology, genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Current projects

1. Kiwifruit size regulation
Kiwifruit are the second largest horticultural export for New Zealand, with exports in 2015 at 1.4 billion NZ dollars. Advancement of new cultivars includes developing fruit with a minimum weight of 100g. While mechanisms controlling fruit size start to be understood in tomato, very little is known about fruit size regulation in kiwifruit at the molecular level. The aim of this project is to identify and characterise kiwifruit genes regulating fruit size, using data from other species. We focus on hormone-related genes (homeostasis, signalling), cell division and cell expansion related genes.

​2. Apple fruit texture

Two main factors affect this character - cell size and cell-wall rigidity. Both are partly controlled by the plant hormone auxin. We are deciphering the role of auxin during apple fruit development. We aim to understand the mechanisms controlling cell expansion during apple fruit development to eventually improve the quality of fruit texture. These projects are developed in collaboration with Dr R. Schaffer (Plant and Food Research) and AP John Ross (University of Tasmania, Australia).

Lab members

  • Nicky Read (PhD student): Identification and characteristion of genes ocntrolling fruit size in kiwifruit
  • David Reeves (BTech Hnours): Roles of CEP peptide on tomato fruit dvelopment
  • Wendy Payne (Teaching technician)
  • Rosemary Bellamy (honorary research fellow)

Postgraduate supervision

Research projects in the hormone signaling lab can be based in the School of Biological Sciences or carried out with collaborators at Plant and Food Research (Mt Albert).

Areas of expertise

Plant Molecular Science

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Kinzurik, M. I., Ly, K., David, K. M., Gardner, R. C., & Fedrizzi, B. (2017). The GLO1 Gene Is Required for Full Activity of O -Acetyl Homoserine Sulfhydrylase Encoded by MET17. ACS Chemical Biology, 12 (2), 414-421. 10.1021/acschembio.6b00815
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruno Fedrizzi
  • David, K. M. (2016). Cell Division and Cell Differentiation. In B. Thomas, B. Murray, D. J. Murphy (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences (pp. 149-154). Academic Press. 10.1016/B978-0-12-394807-6.00117-9
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33514
  • McAtee, P. A., Richardson, A. C., Nieuwenhuizen, N. J., Gunaseelan, K., Hoong, L., Chen, X., ... Schaffer, R. J. (2015). The hybrid non-ethylene and ethylene ripening response in kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) is associated with differential regulation of MADS-box transcription factors. BMC plant biology, 1510.1186/s12870-015-0697-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robert Schaffer
  • Schaffer, R. J., Crowhurst, R. N., Hallett, I. C., Atkinson, R. G., Bulley, S. M., Montefiori, M., ... Allan, A. C. (2015). A Genomics Approach to Understanding Fruit Characters. Paper presented at 8th International Symposium on Kiwifruit, Dujiangyan, PEOPLES R CHINA. 18 September - 22 September 2014. VIII INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON KIWIFRUIT. (pp. 7).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robert Schaffer, Andrew Allan
  • Karlova, R., Chapman, N., David, K., Angenent, G. C., Seymour, G. B., & de Maagd, R. A. (2014). Transcriptional control of fleshy fruit development and ripening. Journal of Experimental Botany, 65 (16), 4527-4541. 10.1093/jxb/eru316
  • Rae, G. M., Uversky, V. N., David, K., & Wood, M. (2014). DRM1 and DRM2 expression regulation: potential role of splice variants in response to stress and environmental factors in Arabidopsis. Molecular Genetics and Genomics, 289 (3), 317-332. 10.1007/s00438-013-0804-2
  • Ireland, H. S., Yao, J.-L., Tomes, S., Sutherland, P. W., Nieuwenhuizen, N., Gunaseelan, K., ... Schaffer, R. J. (2013). Apple SEPALLATA1/2-like genes control fruit flesh development and ripening. Plant J, 73 (6), 1044-1056. 10.1111/tpj.12094
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robert Schaffer
  • Rae, G. M., David, K., & Wood, M. (2013). The Dormancy Marker DRM1/ARP Associated with Dormancy but a Broader Role In Planta. Developmental Biology Journal, 2013, 1-12. 10.1155/2013/632524


Contact details

Primary location

Level 5, Room 501
New Zealand

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