Ph.D., Kansas State University, 1993
Postdoctoral Research: Yale University
Address: 409A Horticulture
Research InterestsEpigenetics and epigenomics on plant centromere function and plant gene expression
Research FieldsGene Expression
Genomics & Proteomics
Research Description:My lab is interested in plant epigenetics and epigenomics. We focus our research on plant centromeres and centromeric chromatin. The centromere is the most characteristic landmark on chromosomes. It is the site for the assembly of the kinetochore to which spindle fibers attach during cell division. The centromere is specified by the presence of a special histone H3 variant, CENH3. The establishment and maintenance of centromeres is not defined by the underlying DNA sequences, but rather are determined by poorly understood epigenetic mechanisms. There is very limited information as to what epigenetic modifications are important or specific to centromeric chromatin. Rice (Oryza sativa) and potato (Solanum tuberosum) provide ideal model systems to study epigenetic modifications of centromeric chromatin. Several rice and potato centromeres contain largely single copy DNA sequences, including active genes, and have been fully sequenced. We have determined the precise boundaries of the CENH3-binding domains in these chromosomes. We are currently using these well sequenced plant centromeres to study the DNA methylation, histone modifications, and nucleosome positioning associated with the centromeric chromatin and to understand the association of these epigenomic characteristics with centromere function.
Wang, K., Wu, Y.F., Zhang, W.L., Dawe, R.K., and Jiang, J.M. (2014) Maize centromeres expand and adopt a uniform size in the genetic background of oat. Genome Res. 24: 107-116.
Zhang, T., Talbert, P.B., Zhang, W.L., Wu, Y.F., Yang, Z.J., Henikoff, J., Henikoff, S., and Jiang, J.M. (2013) The CentO satellite confers translational and rotational phasing on cenH3 nucleosomes in rice centromeres. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110: E4875-E4883.
Zhang, W.L., Wu, Y.F., Schnable, J.C., Zeng, Z.X., Freeling, M., Crawford, G.E., and Jiang, J.M. (2012) High-resolution mapping of open chromatin in the rice genome. Genome Res. 22: 151-162.
Gong, Z.Y., Wu, Y.F., Koblížková, A., Torres, G.A., Wang, K., Iovene, M., Neumann, P., Zhang, W.L., Novák, P., Buell, C.R., Macas, J., and Jiang, J.M. (2012) Repeatless and repeat-based centromeres in potato: Implications for centromere evolution. Plant Cell 24: 3559-3574
Wu, Y.F., Kikuchi, S., Yan, H.H., Zhang, W.L., Rosenbaum, H., Iniguez, A.L., and Jiang, J.M. (2011) Euchromatic subdomains in rice centromeres are associated with genes and transcription. Plant Cell 23: 4054-4064.