Investigating Epigenetic Programming of Plant Sperm Cells
Most of the grains and seeds that form the world’s food supply are the result of the successful functioning of sperm and egg cells during fertilisation. Our research aims to investigate the nature of sperm cell genome programming in plants and unravel molecular processes that give these cells their unique identity. This project aims to investigate how the epigenome is organised and controlled in the sperm cells of plants. Epigenetic modifications of the genome define the identity of a given cell by regulating gene expression patterns. We will provide a comprehensive picture of epigenetic marks that are distinguishing features of chromatin in sperm cells and reveal how this process is controlled at the cellular level. The discovery of epigenetic programmes controlling the accessibility of the sperm cell genome to transcriptional machinery will significantly enhance our knowledge of plant reproduction.