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Max Perutz Lecture- Antisense transcription and epigenetic switching

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What quantitatively regulates gene expression? Non-coding transcription and chromatin regulation are now seen as major factors regulating gene expression in most eukaryotic genomes. Through the study of how plants time developmental transitions, we have discovered that Arabidopsis floral repressor FLC is an excellent system in which to dissect how non-coding RNA and chromatin mechanisms regulate gene expression. FLC expression is quantitatively modulated by an antisense-mediated chromatin mechanism that coordinately influences transcription initiation and elongation. Expression is then epigenetically silenced through a cold-induced, cis-based, Polycomb switching mechanism. The talk will describe our latest understanding of these conserved mechanisms and how they have been modulated during adaptation.

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