Genetics/Genomics

Abstract

CS-7-1 - Chromatin in developmental and environmental cell fate reprogramming

Sunday, July 15
3:18 PM - 3:38 PM

Plant development and survival is tuned in response to endogenous and extrinsic cues in the context of chromatin. All living plant cells can be triggered to de-differentiate, to assume different cell identities, or form an entire new organism. In addition, plant cell function is modulated in response to the environment. Plant environmental and developmental plasticity is thought to be an adaptation to their sessile lifestyle. It additionally impacts plant survival and yield. Studies from many laboratories, including my own, have revealed that developmental and environmental adaptation is orchestrated by transcriptional master regulators and chromatin state changes with inputs by hormone response pathways. Currently, we are in particular interested in the series of events that lead from cue perception to transcriptional and cellular reprogramming. Recently, we asked how Polycomb repression, which silences unwanted gene expression programs, is targeted to specific sites in the plant genome. Polycomb Repressive Complexes, like many chromatin regulators, have no inherent sequence recognition capability. Our studies uncovered DNA sequence motifs and transcription factors with important roles in Polycombe\ recruitment recruitment. We are also interested in the spatiotemporal control of flower formation; the stereotypical arrangement of flowers on the primary inflorescence stem determines the species-specific inflorescence architecture, reproductive fitness and yield. Inflorescence architecture is modulated in the context of chromatin in response to developmental and environmental cues. Finally, we study plant response to water stress (drought). Chromatin has long been known to act at the interface between the genome and the environment and both activating and repressive chromatin regulators contribute to the optimal response to drought and the stress hormone ABA. Mechanistic insight into the regulation of these processes in the context of chromatin not only uncovers the wiring of plant plasticity, but will also enable future epigenome reprogramming to enhance desirable plant traits.


 

Doris Wagner, PhD

Professor
University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology

Doris Wagner did her undergraduate work in Weihenstephan, Germany. She received her PhD from UC Berkeley for work on phytochrome B in Dr. Peter Quail's lab. Subsequently she joined Dr Elliot Meyerowitz' lab at Caltech as postdoc studying theLEAFY transcription factor and linking ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling to plant development. She has held an independent position at the University of Pennsylvania since 2000, where she is a full professor and holds a named chair. Dr. Wagner has published more than 60 papers on the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of changes in cell identity and function. She is an elected member and now president of the North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee, has co-led an international initiative to promote plant epigenetics and epigenomics (EPIC) and has organized a number of workshops and symposia on plant development and epigenetics. Dr. Wagner has been recognized for her efforts in undergraduate and graduate teaching and training.

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