Investigating Natural Variation of Epigenetic Regulation of the Promoter of the Stress Response Gene ESM1
Epithiospecifier Modifier 1 (ESM1) is a stress response gene affecting secondary metabolite formation in response to herbivory. In the promoter region of this gene is a series of repetitive elements, which resemble those in other areas of the genome that have previously been shown to be epigenetically controlled. This led to the hypothesis that the promoter region of ESM1 might be under epigenetic control of some type. I investigated the possibility of epigenetic control mechanisms affecting the promoter region of ESM1 and inducing differential expression of the gene itself, looking for a correlation between the two variables. I focused specifically on DNA methylation in several different strains of Arabidopsis thaliana, using techniques such as quantitative real time PCR, restriction enzyme digests, and sequencing to gain a better understanding of how epigenetic factors interact with this locus.