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A newly discovered role for mRNA methylation in controlling plant gene expression

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "PLANT-RNA-MET" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Nethergate
city: DUNDEE
postcode: DD1 4HN

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 195˙454 €
 EC max contribution 195˙454 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2017
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-03-01   to  2020-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE UK (DUNDEE) coordinator 195˙454.00


 Project objective

Modifications to mRNA, collectively known as the epitranscriptome, comprise a neglected layer of gene regulation. The most abundant internal modification of mRNA is methylation of adenosine (m6A). The aim of this proposal is to explain a recently discovered interplay between mRNA methylation, gene silencing and gene expression in plants. Specific expressed Arabidopsis genes contain transposons within them that bear localised silencing marks that include methylation of DNA and modifications to histone proteins. The antagonism between stretches of so-called heterochromatin that should be “silent”, in genes that must be expressed, appears to provide a novel means to tune gene expression. Crucially, the Arabidopsis immune response gene RPP7 is regulated in this way. Recent findings suggest a link between mRNA methylation and intragenic heterochromatin: (1) The RNA binding protein FPA co-purifies with Arabidopsis m6A writers. (2) RNA-Sequencing analysis of fpa mutants and m6A writer complex mutants reveals changes in transcription through intragenic heterochromatin. (3) RNA-Sequencing maps m6A to intragenic heterochromatin. To determine the role of mRNA methylation in analyzed interplay, the order of events will be resolved by parallel measurement of heterochromatin (H3K9me2, m5C) and m6A marks in mutants defective in factors that control these marks. The directness by which FPA and mRNA methylation influences these events will be examined by ChIP-Seq and iCLIP-Seq of FPA and m6A writer complex components. The epigenetic stability of disrupting intragenic heterochromatin will be determined in stable lines with inducible FPA and m6A writer expression. Overall, we will assess a new role of mRNA methylation in tuning expression of crucially important plant genes.

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