Research Project Stefania Del Prete, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin
Epigenetic modifications, chromosomal interactions and chromatin dynamics as well as the nuclear context are key elements of gene regulation. Stefania will study the functional relationships between gene regulation and spatial nuclear organisation of flowering time genes in Arabidopsis thaliana by using immunolabeling, 3D-FISH and confocal microscopy. A special focus will be on the role of Polycomb (Pc) proteins such as LHP1, one subunit of Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1) that is involved in gene silencing. Together with Paul Fransz’s group, Stefania will study the localization of key genes and epitope-tagged protein factors during the floral transition, relative to the distribution of Pc and various other nuclear structures. The data obtained will be used by Philippe Andrey’s group to establish models of the 3D organization of the plant cell nucleus. In addition, Stefania will map chromosomal interactions involving LHP1 by ChIA-PET. The ChIA-PET protocol will be set up in collaboration with Gerco Angenent’s group and the generated sequences will be analyzed in collaboration with the bioinformatic teams. The data will be compared with the genome-wide distribution of LHP1 in the same tissues. All data produced will then be integrated into a global model to better understand flowering, a key developmental step for agronomy.