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Role of Pc-G and Trx-G genes in the cellular memory of extrinsic signals in plants (PLANT-MEMORY)
Start date: Mar 1, 2013, End date: May 7, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The life of plants differs fundamentally from animals in two key aspects; they are (i) sessile and (ii) missing a nervous system. Nevertheless, plants monitor changes in their environment and are able to memorise and anticipate these changes. The molecular basics underlying plant memory are not well understood.Epigenetic modifications of chromatin are obvious candidates to provide a memory at cellular level, as they can maintain stable patterns of gene expression in response to transient environmental signals. The project will focus on histone modifications and will clarify their global influence on the memory of stress in plants.Response to environmental stress became the subject of choice for the study of the plant memory for two main reasons: (i) No other event has a larger impact on the whole plant and causes more changes in the transcriptome, implying a similar high influence on the epigenetic machinery. (ii) Due to the emerging importance of stress adaptation in plants, the anticipated results will also be highly relevant beyond basic research.The researcher is a highly trained scientist with many years of experience in the fields of epigenetic and developmental biology of plants. The project was developed to a large extent independently by the researcher, resulting from own experience in epigenetic research and study of recent scientific literature.Understanding stress memory of plants has significant direct and indirect implications for applied sciences. As it becomes more and more clear that global warming causes huge damage in the agriculture of Europe, research in this area is likely to lead to new stress adaption strategies and so, in a long-term perspective, to better crop yields, and increased food quality and safety. The project will also contribute directly and indirectly to several objectives of the European Research Area such as Life Sciences, Genomics and Biotechnology for Health, Food Quality and Safety, and Sustainable Development.
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