Role of G-quadruplexes in plant development
Genetic information in the cell is determined not only by the nucleic acid sequence but also by the chemical modifications (such as cytosine methylation) and structural modifications (G-quadruplexes, i-motifs etc). It is well known that cytosine methylation plays an essential role in various developmental processes in plants. Secondary structure formation have critical role in biological processes ranging from chromosome stability to the regulation of gene transcription in humans and yeast; we seek to understand their biological function in various developmental processes in plants such as root architecture and maintenance of root stem cell niche. Overall, the work will involve a combination of state-of-art wet-lab advanced molecular biology and biotechnology techniques along with various bioinformatics tools/approaches. Our studies will provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms involved in secondary structure mediated gene regulation during abiotic stress and development in plants.
Epigenomics of abiotic stress responses in plants
Epigenetic regulation of gene expression involves complex interplay between DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs, notably long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and micro RNAs (miRNAs). In order to understand the biological significance of epigenetic regulation, it is important to map the epigenome in some detail. Recent developments in genomic information and importance of stress adaptation in plants have set the stage for epigenomic studies in crop plants. We will undertake identification of methylome under abiotic stress conditions, followed by integration of epigenomic and gene expression data to gain insight into the regulation of stress responses by epigenetic mechanism.