Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Li, Jiaxu

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Molecular Biology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Condensation of chromatin and alteration of chemical groups in the proteins around which the DNA is wrapped play major role in regulation of transcription. Histones are basic proteins rich in arginine and lysine residues which form the nucleosomal core. Histone modifications like acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation, etc. have broadened the horizon for researchers to study epigenetics more in detail. Histone methyl transferases and histone demethyl transferases are enzymes which add or remove methyl groups on histone lysine and arginine residues respectively. In this study a jumonji domain containing putative histone demethyltransferase has been shown to be responsible in controlling flowering phenotype in Arabidopsis thaliana. The knocked out mutants for this gene (JMJ14) showed an early flowering phenotype along with elevated levels of FT transcript (Flowering locus T, gene responsible for controlling the flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana). We show that methylation was altered on H3K36 in the FT ene in the mutants using ChIP (chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments). The possible role of SDG8 gene, a histone methyl transferase in ABA signaling was also studied during the research. A SET domain containing Sdg8 (group 8 methyltransferase) mutant was found to be responsible for ABA signaled altered root growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. The cell number and cell size in roots decreased in both meristematic and elongation zones leading to decrease in root size in sdg8 mutants and number of root hairs increased when treated with Abscisic acid, a plant hormone. In this part of study, as part of an interaction between epigenetics and gene regulation, it was observed that a putative histone demethylase gene, JMJ14 was responsible for regulating the flowering time by controlling the expression of FT and SDG8 played a role in altered root growth in response to ABA in Arabidopsis thaliana. Further studies on these genes could lead to generation of commercial crops with phenotypes that would increase the plant productivity and be beneficial agronomically.