Research topics

Epigenetic analysis of abiotic stress response in rice

Plant epigenetics research is one of the fastest growing field in crop science and it can move to many different directions in the future. The histone methyltransferase SDG4/ASHR3 protein in Arabidopsis was previously shown to be involved in flower (Cartagena et al., 2008) and root (Kumpf et al., 2014) development. This research aims to study candidate genes (e.g. SDG4) that are involved in reproduction in rice varieties subjected to abiotic stress such as drought and salinity. The main objective is to elucidate the effect of environment on epigenetic changes that regulate gene expression in rice, particularly on genes that are involved in reproduction and how they affect plant development.

Functional analysis of histone modifiers involved in rice salinity tolerance

Several genes that code for histone modifiers were identified in the previous transcriptome studies in rice roots under salinity-stressed conditions. This research aims to elucidate the function of such candidate genes using mutant analysis and biochemical techniques.   

Unfertilized ovules (arrow) and aborted seeds (asterisks) in Arabidopsis sdg4 (Cartagena et al., 2008)
Histone methylation status of Arabidopsis wt and sdg4 pollen (Cartagena et al., 2008)