Plant epigenetic regulation and inheritance

Group leader : Wen Hui SHEN

Research area

In all eukaryotes, including plants, genomic DNA is packaged around octamers of histones, forming the basic structural units of chromatin, the nucleosomes. Chromatin represents the physiological template of genetic information. Epigenetics refer to heritable changes (during mitosis and sometimes meiosis) of genome function that occur without a change in DNA sequence. Well-known epigenetic mechanisms include ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling, nucleosome assembly/disassembly, histone variant incorporation, covalent modifications of histones (e.g. acetylation, methylation and ubiquitylation) and DNA (e.g. methylation). Regulatory factors involved in these epigenetic mechanisms play crucial roles in many aspects of plant growth and development, including flowering time control, seed development, cell fate maintenance and plant responses to environmental factors. Our group is interested in characterization of several genes to reveal their roles in deposition of epigenetic marks, in chromatin remodeling, in genome transcription, and in regulation of plant growth and development.