Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Chandler, Vicki L.
Location Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences
Primary Field Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Field Plant Biology
 Election Citation
Chandler is a plant geneticist who has studied the molecular basis for a phenomenon known as "paramutation." She has thereby made important contributions to our understanding of why particular DNA sequences become silent or active, depending on their position within a genome or the type of cell in which they reside. Her discoveries had a profound impact on the field of gene expression and on the design of biologically engineered crop plants.
 Research Interests
My research program investigates the regulation of gene expression using the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in maize. I use this system to investigate mechanisms of gene silencing, which has a fundamental role in development and is a genetic engineering impediment. We study paramutation, the regulation of transposable elements and transgene silencing. Paramutation is a mitotically and meiotically heritable change in gene expression that is induced by allele interactions. My laboratory has shown that the heritable change is accompanied by a ten-fold reduction in transcription, which is associated with chromatin differences. Using a combination of classical genetics, genomics, and molecular methods we mapped the minimal sequences required for paramutation, to 95-102 kbp upstream of the transcription initiation site. We identified multiple genes required for paramutation and showed that these genes are also involved in transposon and transgene silencing. Currently I am using cis- and trans-acting mutants to investigate the mechanisms underlying paramutation and transposon and transgene silencing. As heritable changes in chromatin structure are involved in the establishment and maintenance of distinct transcription states, my laboratory is also using functional genomics to investigate chromatin-level control of gene expression in both maize and Arabidopsis.

 
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