Research Group Liu
Plant chromatin structure and dynamics
Dr. Chang Liu
ZMBP, Allgemeine Genetik
Auf der Morgenstelle 32
We focus on investigating the 3D-chromatin structure in plants, as well as its biological meaning in terms of transcriptional regulation in response to developmental cues and environmental changes. From a genome structure point of view, by combining high throughput sequencing, computing and modern molecular biology approaches, much of our work has been focused on integrative genome-wide analysis on the interplay among chromatin folding, transcriptome, and epigenetic marks. Nowadays we are able to study chromatin structure at an unprecedented resolution, and our recently findings in Arabidopsis thaliana chromatin packing have revealed many unique properties. We welcome talented and motivated people to further explore this emerging field with us.
Genome-wide interaction map of A. thaliana seedlings at 20 kb resolution. Elements represent normalized contact strength. Arrows highlight selected features. (i) The centromeric and pericentromeric regions are tightly packed and depleted for interactions with other regions located on chromosome arms. This corresponds to the observation that centromeric regions appear as bright dots in A. thaliana nuclei stained with DAPI. (ii) Telomeres from different chromosomes are close to each other. This phenomenon has been found previous with FISH studies, which revealed that telomeres often gather around nucleolus. (iii) Strong interaction among a subset of interstitial heterochromatin regions.
Chromatin packing in plant species
We have generated Hi-C maps of other plant species including Oryza sativa (rice) and several members of Brassicaceae family. Together with the previous Hi-C experiment on Arabidopsis thaliana, these datasets provide the very first step towards understanding the biological principles underlying plant genome structure in 3D space.
Chromatin looping, positioning, and dynamics
The packing of genomic DNA inside nucleus enables long range DNA contact. Aside from stochastic collisions, there are DNA interactions happened for reasons, and they are very likely part of the transcription regulatory network. We are interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which gene looping and chromatin compartmentation in the nuclear space are achieved.