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Biosciences Research Seminar - Chromatin-level regulation in plant specialised metabolism

Part of the Biosciences lunchtime research seminar series

A Biosciences seminar
Date13 October 2022
Time12:30 to 13:30
PlaceLSI Seminar Room A

and via MS Teams

Speaker: Dr Hans-Wilhelm Nützmann, Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Bath. Host: Professor James Wakefield


Co-localisation of functionally related but non-homologous genes in so called gene clusters is a rare yet reoccurring phenomenon in eukaryotic genomes. Gene clusters encoding essential information for development, immunity and metabolism are present in both lower and higher eukaryotes. Recent discoveries have unveiled genetic clustering as a common feature of plant specialised metabolism and have established the genetic basis for the biosynthesis of plant-derived compounds of major nutritional and pharmacological importance.

The genes within biosynthetic gene clusters are typically co-expressed in specific plant organs and in response to environmental triggers. In this seminar, I will show that these clustered pathways are characterized by distinct chromatin signatures associated with gene repression and activation. I will further show that active and repressed gene clusters are embedded in spatially distinct chromosome domains with variable positioning within the nuclear environment.

Our work offers an unprecedented view on the epigenetic and three-dimensional organisation of co-regulated gene clusters in plants. It demonstrates a unique and flexible chromatin architecture at metabolic genes that may be crucial in their tight transcriptional regulation and, therefore, in the metabolic output and environmental response of plants.   

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