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Molecular and functional characterization of genes involved in setting up and reading histone methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Abstract : Histone methylation is one of the keys epigenetic marks evolutionarily conserved in eukaryotes. My study focuses on the characterization of factors potentially involved in the deposition and reading of lysine (K) methylation to appreciate its role and underlying mechanisms in the regulation of transcription and plant development, using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model organism. In the first part of my thesis, I report on our study of SET DOMAIN GROUP7 (SDG7), a protein containing the evolutionarily conserved SET domain, which is generally recognized as a signature of K-methyltransferases. We found that SDG7 plays an important role in the regulation of VIN3 induction associated with cold duration measure during vernalization treatment. Intriguingly, levels of several different histone methylations were found unchanged in the sdg7 mutant plants and the recombinant SDG7 protein failed to show a histone-methyltransferase activity in vitro. We thus conclude that SDG7 might methylate a yet unknown non-histone protein to regulate transcription and proper measurement of the duration of cold exposure in the vernalization process. In the second part, I studied interaction between SDG8 and HISTONE MONOUBIQUITINATION1 (HUB1) and HUB2. My results unravel that H3K36me3 and H2Bub1 are deposited largely independently in Arabidopsis, which is in contrast to the dependent crosstalk of these two different epigenetic marks previously reported in yeast. In the last part of my thesis, I report on the identification of the PWWP-domain proteins HUA2/HULK2 as readers of H3K36me3 and demonstrate that sdg8 and hua2 genetically interacts in the regulation of flowering time.
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Wei Zhao. Molecular and functional characterization of genes involved in setting up and reading histone methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genomics [q-bio.GN]. Université de Strasbourg, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017STRAJ033⟩. ⟨tel-02003630⟩

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