Varotto Serena

Professor, Università degli Studi di Padova

13th February



Discovering the epigenetic contribution to plant phenotypic variation

Epigenetics investigate heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes can affect cellular and physiological phenotypic traits and may result from environmental factors or be part of regular developmental programs. In all eukaryotes, DNA wraps on a histone octamer (made up by two copies of histone H2A, H2B, H3 and H4) to form nucleosome, the basic unit of chromatin. The structure of chromatin is dynamically regulated by several epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, histone posttranslational modifications (PTMs), chromatin remodeling and noncoding RNAs. These epigenetic mechanisms that represent regulatory mechanisms in gene expression, participate in almost all the important biological processes, from basal development to environmental response. Importantly, plant studies have provided numerous interesting contributions to the epigenetic research: there are examples of some unique epigenetic mechanisms, which have been evolved in plants. In plants, the study of epigenetic mechanisms is of great significance both to improve crop agronomic traits and environmental adaptability.

Curriculum Vitae

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