MinECo BIO2014-53063-P, 2015-2017

Principal Investigator: José Luis Micol.
Investigators: David Wilson-Sánchez, Eduardo Mateo-Bonmatí, Tamara Muñoz-Nortes, Carla Navarro-Quiles, Alejandro Ruiz-Bayón, Sergio Navarro-Cartagena, Riad Nadi y Lucía Juan-Vicente.
Instituto de Bioingeniería. Universidad Miguel Hernández.

Novel chromatin modifiers in Arabidopsis

Plants play a role of unparalleled importance in human feeding. A wealth of studies identified genes that regulate different aspects of plant organ identity and shape; however, an understanding of the genetic mechanisms determining plant organ growth and final size is yet to be gained. Recent studies of the key factors determining organ size in crops have focused on the identification of genes: (a) whose loss or excess of function promote growth in a manner relatively independent of the environment (the so-called intrinsic yield genes), (b) inducing growth as a response to some environmental variables, such as light, and (c) participating in the epigenetic control of heterosis, upon which a substantial part of modern agriculture relies. We aim in this project to contribute to the third of these experimental approaches.

We propose the characterization of a family of four proteins that present the PF03171 domain, with putative 2-oxoglutarate/Fe(II)-dependent dioxygenase activity. We dubbed CP this family, by its founding member, the icu11 (incurvata11) mutant, which was initially named cp (cupuliformis). Our preliminary results show that the effects of loss of ICU11 function on the morphological and molecular phenotypes are similar to those of two other genes with epigenetic activity that we previously studied, CLF (CURLY LEAF) and ICU2 (INCURVATA2), with which ICU11 synergistically interacts.

The objectives of this project include: (1) to unequivocally define the morphological and molecular phenotypes caused by the loss of function of four members of the CP family, (2) to unravel the functions of the CP proteins, (3) to study the transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of the expression of CP genes, (4) to examine the genetic interactions of CP genes and the physical interactions of their protein products, and (5) to propose a model for the role of CP genes as well as to explore their contribution to the regulation of organ growth in Arabidopsis.