Chromatin and transcriptome dynamics during sexual plant reproduction
Molecular Genetics of Plant Development
Sexual reproduction in flowering plants involves several cell fate transitions: (i) vegetative-to-reproductive transition of the apical meristem, (ii) reprogramming of floral somatic cells to generate the gametic progenitors (micro/mega-spore mother cells), (iii) differentiation of specialized gametes, (iv) fertilization and development of a totipotent embryo. These transitions occurring in the adult plant illustrate the remarkable plasticity of plant cells, unlike animals’ which are committed early during embryogenesis. My research focuses on transitions and cell fate reprogramming in the transitions (ii-iv) and investigates two critical aspects:
(1) From the diploid gamete progenitor to the differentiated gametes the plant chromatin seem to undergo dramatic and dynamic changes not only in histone/DNA modifications but also in structural organisation (fig1) and in core nucleosome constituent, as seen in chromatin staining and GFP reporter studies. We are investigating these key processes underlying fate reprogramming.
(2) fertilization unites two parental genomes to form a totipotent embryo; yet parental alleles do not contribute in an equal way to the embryonic transcriptome which remains massively maternally dominant, as seen in allele-specific profiling experiments (fig 2).
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Current Topics in Developmental Biology
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