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Mechanism and significance of de novo gene methylation during reproduction in Marchantia

Project description

Gene methylation study in plant model system

DNA methylation is a fundamental process in gene regulation. However, methylation in plants and animals exhibits distinct patterns, and reprogramming of developmental methylation occurs in different ways. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the EPIC project aims to perform a state-of-the-art study of DNA methylation using the plant model system Marchantia polymorpha. The application of high-throughput single-cell methylomics and transcriptomics, combined with innovative molecular techniques, will allow the identification of the developmental processes and epigenetic players involved in the gene methylation reprogramming process. Next, the researchers will investigate the methylation targeting mechanism using genetically modified plant cell lines to confirm the role of gene methylation in transcriptional regulation and development.


DNA methylation plays fundamental roles in gene regulation and cell identity in plants and animals. However, these two kingdoms exhibit distinct methylation patterns and reprogramming of methylation during development occurs in different ways. I have exciting evidence from the emerging model plant system Marchantia polymorpha of de novo DNA methylation at thousands of genes in the embryo that is analogous to gene methylation established in the oocyte of mammals. A subset of these genes are also methylated in the Marchantia male sex organ prior to fertilisation and are enriched for roles in hormone signalling, epigenetics, and developmental transitions, indicating parental imprinting events important for embryo development. I propose to conduct a targeted dissection of this phenomenon. I will be hosted first by Prof. Ecker (Salk Institute, US), who is a world leader in single cell epigenomics. I will carry out high-throughput single cell methylomics and transcriptomics in combination with other cutting-edge molecular techniques to precisely determine the developmental processes undergoing gene methylation reprogramming as well as the underlying epigenetic players involved. In the return phase, I will be hosted by Prof. Solano (Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Spain) who is an expert in motif analysis and Marchantia hormone biology. With his expertise I will investigate the methylation targeting mechanism and will utilise methylation loss lines to confirm the role of gene methylation in transcriptional regulation as well as development, with a focus on ethylene signalling. This proposal represents a state-of-the-art class of study of DNA methylation through which I will broaden my scientific knowledge, develop complementary skills such as lab management and science outreach, and extend my professional network internationally. The experiences gained during this Fellowship will be essential to achieve my goal of leading a research group at the forefront of epigenetics.


Net EU contribution
€ 261 380,64
Calle serrano 117
28006 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
No data

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