Recent findings point to a relevant role of epigenetic phenomena in developmental issues in animals and plants. Epigenetics has been described to affect cancer, fate programming and developmental transitions. In the vegetal kingdom it has been related to e mbryo development, floral transition, vernalization and transgene silencing. The analysis of two independent insertional mutants in a SWI3-like gene, in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, suggests that the Swi/Snf complexes are involved in regulation of transcriptional silencing of genes affecting gamete formation and embryo development. The morphological characterization of such a defect and the link to silencing will reveal a new element in the epigenetic mechanisms, and will establish new tools for ga mete and embryo development studies. It is hypothesized that the disruption of the SWI3-like gene originates the epigenetic modification of a second gene, causing alterations in the gamete formation. Positional mapping of this gene would prove the current hypothesis and would reveal a key element in gamete development. The proposed research activity is also taking into account the mutational analysis of other components of the putative Swi/Snf complex in Arabidopsis. Different T-DNA collections will be sear ched for mutants in such a genes, and the effect of these mutations will be described. Finally, plants expressing Swi3-like and Bsh (Snf5-like) proteins fused to an epitope will allow the tracking of these proteins, and the purification and co-immunoprecip itation of Arabidopsis Swi/Snf complexes. The final aim of this proposal is the combination of exciting research topics as chromatin remodeling and epigenetics with a rising model organism with a recently sequenced genome as Arabidopsis thaliana.
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