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Génétique Quantitative et Évolution – Le Moulon

Ferme du Moulon – Salle de conférences

Vendredi  24  mai   2019


Lorenzo CONCIA

IPS2 Orsay

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Chromosome architecture of hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)


Polyploidization events are known to trigger extensive epigenetic and transcriptional alteration of the duplicated or merged genomes, accompanied by small- and large-scale conformational changes. The genome of modern hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.; 2n = 6x = 42) is the product of two rounds of interspecific hybridization between three closely related diploid species, resulting in the presence of distinct but highly syntenic sub-genomes (AA, BB and DD). We examined the large-scale chromatin architecture of the nucleus of wheat using Hi-C, a genome-wide chromatin conformation capture (3C) method and GISH, (genomic in situ hybridization). We found evidence that physical interactions occur with significantly higher frequency within sub genomes (A with A, B with B or D with D) than between sub genomes (A with B or D, etc. ...), defining sub-nuclear “genomic territories”. In addition, we observed a polarized distribution of facultative and constitutive heterochromatin that suggests a functional compartmentalization within the nucleus.

On a local scale, we found that genes tend to interact mainly with other genes over long-distance “loops” that are especially established between genes presenting similar expression levels and bearing the same histone marks. Moreover, gene pairs in spatial proximity show similar changes in expression levels between shoots and roots. Consistently, we found that physical contact between genes is mediated by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII). Immunofluorescence assays with anti RNAP2 antibodies revealed the presence of “transcription factories” in which multiple interacting genes are co-transcribed. This indicates that local-scale topology is an important factor for transcriptional regulation as it determines the micro-compartimentalization of active genes within the nucleus.

Our results provide a framework for understanding the physical organization of wheat genome and highlight the interplay between chromosome conformation and gene expression in wheat.