Plant Epigenetics

Taisuke Nishimura

Taisuke Nishimura
Associate Professor

Transgenic plants with useful traits may provide solutions for environmental, food, and energy issues in the world. However, several problems in the plant transgenic technology prevent its applications in many plant species. Gene silencing, a phenomenon that transcription of the introduced gene is repressed, is a major problem with transgenic plants. In addition, tissue culture systems necessary for transformation of the plant using agrobacteria have not been established in many species. Epigenetic changes are considered chief reasons for these problems. In particular, DNA methylation is closely associated with gene silencing and influences the establishment of tissue culture. Using genetic and molecular techniques, our research is aimed at elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying DNA methylation in plants. The long-term goal of this effort is to develop novel gene transfer technologies useful for the generation of transgenic plants.

  1. Mechanisms underlying silencing of the transgenic gene
  2. Roles of DNA methylation in pant tissue cultures