Our Projects

Genomic Imprinting in Plants

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon rendering alleles to be specifically active depending on their parent-of-origin. In plants, imprinted genes are mainly confined to the endosperm, a tissue regulating the nutrient transfer from the mother to the offspring. Our research focuses on elucidating the functional role of imprinted genes for endosperm development. Our work revealed that misexpression of imprinted genes establishes hybridization barriers between related plant species and between plants that differ in ploidy. We are elucidating the functional role of these genes in the endosperm and their mode of regulation. We found that paternally-expressed imprinted genes are regulated by Polycomb group proteins, which establishes a new mechanism of imprinted gene control that we currently explore.



Moreno-Romero J, Del Toro-De León G, Kumar Yadav V, Santos-González J, Köhler C (2019) Epigenetic signatures associated with imprinted paternally-expressed genes in the Arabidopsis endosperm. Genome Biology, 20:41. (PubMed)

Del Toro-De León G, Köhler C. (2019) Endosperm-specific transcriptome analysis by applying the INTACT system. Plant Reprod. 32:55-61. (PubMed)

Lafon-Placette C, Hatorangan MR, Steige KA, Cornille A, Lascoux M, Slotte T, Köhler C (2018) Paternally expressed imprinted genes associate with hybridization barriers in Capsella. Nature Plant 4: 352-357. (PubMed)

Moreno-Romero J, Santos-Gonzàlez J, Hennig L, Köhler C. (2017) Applying the INTACT method to purify endosperm nuclei and to generate parental-specific epigenome profiles. Nature Protocols, 12:238-254. (PubMed)

Hatorangan MR, Laenen B, Steige K, Slotte T, Köhler C. (2016) Rapid Evolution of Genomic Imprinting in Two Species of the Brassicaceae. Plant Cell. 28:1815-27. (PubMed)

Moreno-Romero J, Jiang H, Santos-González J, Köhler C (2016) Parental epigenetic asymmetry of PRC2-mediated histone modifications in the Arabidopsis endosperm. EMBO J. e201593534. (PubMed)

Wolff P, Jiang H, Wang G, Santos-Gonzàlez J, Köhler C (2015) Paternally expressed imprinted genes establish postzygotic hybridization barriers in Arabidopsis thaliana. eLife1 0.7554 (PubMed)

Kradolfer D, Wolff P, Jiang H, Siretskiy A, Köhler C. (2013) An imprinted gene underlies postzygotic reproductive isolation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Dev Cell. 26: 525-35. (PubMed)

Köhler C, Wolff P, Spillane C (2012) Epigenetic mechanisms underlying genomic imprinting in plants. Annu Rev Plant Biol., 63: 331-352. (PubMed )

McKeown PC, Laouielle-Duprat S, Prins P, Wolff P, Schmid MW, Donoghue MT, Fort A, Duszynska D, Comte A, Lao NT, Wennblom TJ, Smant G, Kohler C, Grossniklaus U, Spillane C. (2011) Identification of imprinted genes subject to parent-of-origin specific expression in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. BMC Plant. Biol.11:113. (PubMed )

Wolff P, Weinhofer I, Seguin J, Roszak P, Beisel C, Donoghue MT, Spillane C, Nordborg M, Rehmsmeier M, Köhler C (2011) High-Resolution Analysis of Parent-of-Origin Allelic Expression in the Arabidopsis Endosperm. PLoS Genet. 6:e102126 (PubMed)

Köhler C, Kradolfer D. (2011) Epigenetic mechanisms in the endosperm and their consequences for the evolution of flowering plants. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1809: 438-43. (PubMed )

Villar, B.R., Erilova, A., Makarevich, G., Trösch, R., Köhler, C. (2009) Control of PHERES1 imprinting in Arabidopsis by direct tandem repeats. Mol. Plant, 2:654-660. (PubMed)

Makarevich, G., Villar, C.B.R., Erilova, A., Köhler, C. (2008) Mechanism of PHERES1 imprinting in Arabidopsis. J. Cell Science, 121: 906-912. (PubMed)

Köhler, C, Makarevich, G. (2006) Epigenetic mechanisms governing seed development in plants. EMBO Rep. 7:1223-1227. (Medline)

Makarevich, G., Leroy, O., Akinci, U., Schubert, D., Clarenz, O., Goodrich, J., Grossniklaus, U., Köhler, C. (2006) Different Polycomb group complexes regulate common target genes in Arabidopsis. EMBO Rep. 7:947-952. (Medline)

Köhler, C., Page, D.R., Gagliardini, V., Grossniklaus, U. (2005) The Arabidopsis MEDEA PcG protein controls expression of PHERES1 by parental imprinting. Nature Gen., 37, 28-30. (Medline)

Köhler, C., Hennig, L., Spillane, C., Pien, S., Gruissem, W., Grossniklaus, U. (2003). The Polycomb group protein MEDEA regulates seed development by controlling expression of the MADS-box gene PHERES1. Genes Dev., 17, 1540-1553. (Medline)

Köhler, C., Hennig, L., Bouveret, R., Gheyselinck, J., Grossniklaus, U. Gruissem, W. (2003). AtMSI1 is a component of an Arabidopsis PcG complex and essential for seed development. EMBO J., 22, 4804-4814. (Medline)

Köhler, C., Grossniklaus, U. (2002). Epigenetic inheritance of expression states in plant development: the role of Polycomb group proteins. Curr. Opin. Cell. Biol. 14, 773-779. (Medline)

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