Dr. Jose Manuel Franco-Zorilla. Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB), Madrid.
“Transcriptional regulation in plants in a changing world“
Plants are exposed to a changing environment and constantly need to adapt their growth and development to fluctuating conditions for survival. These adaptive responses are tightly regulated and signaling cascades most often converge at the activity of sequence-specific transcription factors (TFs), responsible for regulation of target genes by recognizing specific DNA sequences in their regulatory regions, referred to as TF-binding site. Recent research is helping to decipher the cis-regulatory code in eukaryotes, but how paralog TFs select their targets is not yet fully understood. We addressed this question by studying the MYC group of TFs, which regulate redundantly the jasmonic-acid signaling pathway. We demonstrated that A/T-rich modules flanking the MYC-binding are necessary for specific recognition of MYC target genes, likely contributing to confer a particular shape to DNA. Furthermore, the levels of DNA methylation may contribute to target selectivity of paralog activator and repressor MYCs, providing the molecular basis for the negative feedback regulation in the jasmonic-acid transcriptional pathway. Finally, we will also discuss the development of the bioinformatics tool TFBS-Discovery Tool Hub (TDTHub) for quick and easy studies of transcriptional regulation in plants, and we will introduce novel computational approaches for the identification of regulatory genes involved in the complex responses to stress combinations.
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