Contribution of Histone H3 Variants and Histone Chaperones to Epigenetic Cell Fate

Project Number
RP 1/14 CZ

Project Duration
November 2014 - October 2017


Plants are frequently wounded by herbivory. Wound-induced plant regeneration represents an ideal developmental model which involves two distinct developmental processes: firstly, differentiated cells at the wound site rapidly reprogram their fates to become undifferentiated in the form of callus. Secondly, the stem-cell-like cells in callus re-differentiate to generate new organs to restore the body plan. It remains intriguing how these two distinct processes are achieved by orchestrated cell fate reprogramming and re-acquisition. Transcription factors have essential roles in directing the cell fates. Epigenetic mechanisms also contribute to cell differentiation and fate reprogramming by changing the chromatin state and seem to be a more effective manner to regulate globally the transcription of a large set of genes. Genes are packed on nucleosomes which are made of histone proteins. Histone variants play important roles in genome-wide transcriptional regulation. It is expected that dynamic changes in histone variant H3.3 profiles facilitate the extensive remodeling of the transcriptome that occurs during cell differentiation. In this proposed research, we aim to address the contribution of histone H3 variants and histone chaperones to epigenetic cell fate reprogramming in plant wound-induced regeneration. Understanding of molecular mechanisms governing plant regeneration will guide us to increase plant survival and reproductive rates after herbivore attack, and improve efficiency of plant tissue culture and grafting. We will use the model plant Arabidopsis, and combine approaches in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genomics and Bio-imaging. Given the extreme conservation of H3 amongst plants the general properties discovered in Arabidopsis will be applicable directly to crop species and the long-term goal of our work is to engineer a method to improve the capacity for vegetative propagation in plants.

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