INDEPTH Report from ICAR2018

Thursday, 02 August 2018

ICAR 2018 logo

Stefanie Rosa provides a report from the 2018 International Conference on Arabidopsis Research (ICAR).

The 29thInternational Conference on Arabidopsis Research (ICAR) was held at Turku, Finland, from the 25th to the 29thof June. The conference brought together over 600 scientists from all corners of the world for five days to discuss all aspects of molecular plant science from research on plant growth and development to improving plant tolerance to adverse environmental conditions. The meeting hosted a diverse range of talks, held as plenary, parallel sessions and workshops.  The abstracts are available here

The contribution from INDEPTH partners started right on the first day of the meeting with a workshop that aimed at introducing the INDEPTH Cost Actionto the Arabidopsis research community. The workshop was organized by Geraint Parry (GARNet, UK) and Stefanie Rosa (SLU, Sweden) and had approximately 50 participants in total. Geraint and Stefanie introduced the general aims of the Action (a broad collaboration that brings together cell biologists, plant physiologists and data management experts to address important questions that surround the analysis of nucleus and chromatin domains in plants), the current members and the newly available website. Additionally, they provided an overview of the scientific and communication goals, which involved outlining the activities of different working groups (Quantitative imaging and analysis of the plant nucleus in 3D (WG1); Transcriptional regulation through association of chromatin domains with nuclear compartments
(WG2); Structure of nuclear domains and the functional output for plant traits (WG3); and Storage, Data management and integrative analysis (WG4)). The speakers also introduced the opportunities that exist for skill development and collaborations. Namely, they presented the:Training schools scheme, with a focus on the up coming Training School in Cytogenetics that will take place in Clermont-Ferrand later this year; the Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMS) (its goals, duration, budget and application process; as well as the Inclusiveness Target Countries Conference grants  (ITC) (focusing on the eligibility and application procedure). At the end of the workshop participants approached the speakers with more specific questions regarding eligibility to the different tools including the STSMs and Training Schools. Several participants also had scientific questions regarding methods to study chromatin and nuclear domains in plants and were pointed towards the experts on the field, most of which are currently already INDEPTH partners. 

Other contributions from INDEPTH partners during the meeting included a talk by Kalyanikrishna from Daniel Schubert’s lab (Freie Univertsität, Germany). In her talk she presented part of her PhD work on the role of the novel chromatin protein family - PWWP INTERACTOR OF POLYCOMBS1 (PWO family). PWO1, in particular, seems to interact with proteins from the nuclear envelope, namely CROWDED NUCLEI 1 (CRWN1) - a coiled-coil analog of lamin proteins in Arabidopsis. This study provides a putative link between PRC2-mediated gene repression and the nuclear periphery in plants. Kalyani is taking this study forward in order to characterize additional PWO1 interactors identified in the nuclear envelope enriched fraction to give additional insights regarding PRC2-mediated gene silencing at the nuclear periphery. 

Kalyanikrishna_ICAR

Additionally, the group of Chang Liu (University of Tübingen, Germany) also made its contribution in the format of a Poster presentation by Xiuli Bi. They presented their work on the role of non-CG methylation for targeting chromatin to the nuclear periphery, which contrasts with what is known in other systems where H3K9me seems to play a role. This work involved a set of relevant tools to study the organization of nuclear domain in plants, including Hi-C analyses and two-color in situ hybridization. This study highlights fundamental differences at this aspect of spatial chromatin compartmentalization between metazoans and Arabidopsis.

Next year the ICAR meeting will be held in Wuhan, China. The meeting is scheduled for June 16th-21st2019 and we expect even more contributions from our partners at next year’s meeting. Please save this date!!