We are collaborating with Prof. Peter Shaw, (Cell & Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre) to study the role of nuclear organization in FLC epigenetic silencing.

Nuclear organization has been established as an important parameter in chromosome interaction and an emerging theme in gene regulation is the importance of physical position in the nucleus.

To investigate the relationship between nuclear organization, chromosome interaction and histone modifications we have developed a set of tools based on the lacO/lacI system, which enable us to perform live cell imaging on the FLC locus. This revealed a cold-induced physical clustering of FLC alleles.

Our approach offers an excellent opportunity to dissect the importance of nuclear organization in Polycomb silencing in plants. With the use of genetic and molecular tools available we are now exploring the functional interconnection between FLC clustering, histone modification dynamics, non-coding RNAs and chromosome interaction.