Team 02: SILENT : Silencing, Environment and Transposons

Our research aims to delineate the molecular mechanisms of gene silencing. Using Arabidopsis as a model organism, we investigate how DNA methylation homeostasis is achieved, how epigenetic information influences genome stability and how environment modulates epigenetic processes.


We implement combinations of forward/reverse genetics and genomic approaches to understand the molecular bases of silencing mechanisms restraining gene expression and transposon activity. DNA methylation is a central epigenetic mark in silencing mechanisms and we are studying the mechanisms controlling genomic DNA methylation patterns. Additionally, we are characterizing the molecular bases of stress-induced release of silencing.

Research supported by:

Research thematics


Last Name First Name Position Contact
Pierre BOURGUET profile picture BOURGUET Pierre Ph.D Student
Amy HESKETH profile picture HESKETH Amy Intern
Olivier MATHIEU profile picture MATHIEU Olivier Principal Investigator
Marie-Noelle PELISSIER profile picture PELISSIER Marie-Noelle Research Engineer
Thierry PELISSIER profile picture PELISSIER Thierry Research Fellow


  • 2016
    • M. Rigal, C. Becker, T. Pelissier, R. Pogorelcnik, J. Devos, Y. Ikeda, D. Weigel and O. Mathieu, “Epigenome confrontation triggers immediate reprogramming of DNA methylation and transposon silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana F1 epihybrids.”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2016.
    • M. Clavel, T. Pelissier, T. Montavon, M. Tschopp, M. Pouch-Pelissier, J. Descombin, V. Jean, P. Dunoyer, C. Bousquet-Antonelli and J. Deragon, “Evolutionary history of double-stranded RNA binding proteins in plants: identification of new cofactors involved in easiRNA biogenesis.”, Plant molecular biology, 2016.
  • 2015
    • M. Clavel, T. Pelissier, J. Descombin, V. Jean, C. Picart, C. Charbonel, J. Saez-Vasquez, C. Bousquet-Antonelli and J. Deragon, “Parallel action of AtDRB2 and RdDM in the control of transposable element expression.”, BMC Plant Biol., vol. 15 , pp. 70, 2015.
  • 2014
    • O. Mathieu and N. Bouche, “Interplay between chromatin and RNA processing.”, Curr. Opin. Plant Biol., vol. 18C , pp. 60–65, 2014.
  • 2012
    • M. Rigal, Z. Kevei, T. Pelissier and O. Mathieu, “DNA methylation in an intron of the IBM1 histone demethylase gene stabilizes chromatin modification patterns.”, EMBO J., vol. 31 (13) , pp. 2981–93, 2012.
    • T. Pélissier and O. Mathieu, “Glue for Jumping Elements: Epigenetic Means for Controlling Transposable Elements in Plants”, Plant Transposable Elements, pp. 125–145, 2012.
  • 2011
    • T. Pelissier, M. Clavel, C. Chaparro, M. Pouch-Pelissier, H. Vaucheret and J. Deragon, “Double-stranded RNA binding proteins DRB2 and DRB4 have an antagonistic impact on polymerase IV-dependent siRNA levels in Arabidopsis.”, RNA, vol. 17 (8) , pp. 1502–10, 2011.
    • M. Rigal and O. Mathieu, “A "mille-feuille" of silencing: epigenetic control of transposable elements.”, Biochim. Biophys. Acta, vol. 1809 (8) , pp. 452–8, 2011.
  • 2010
    • M. Tittel-Elmer, E. Bucher, L. Broger, O. Mathieu, J. Paszkowski and I. Vaillant, “Stress-induced activation of heterochromatic transcription.”, PLoS Genet., vol. 6 (10) , pp. e1001175, 2010.
  • 2009
    • S. Tsukahara, A. Kobayashi, A. Kawabe, O. Mathieu, A. Miura and T. Kakutani, “Bursts of retrotransposition reproduced in Arabidopsis.”, Nature, vol. 461 (7262) , pp. 423–6, 2009.
    • M. Mirouze, J. Reinders, E. Bucher, T. Nishimura, K. Schneeberger, S. Ossowski, J. Cao, D. Weigel, J. Paszkowski and O. Mathieu, “Selective epigenetic control of retrotransposition in Arabidopsis.”, Nature, vol. 461 (7262) , pp. 427–30, 2009.
  • 2008
    • S. Lageix, E. Lanet, M. Pouch-Pelissier, M. Espagnol, C. Robaglia, J. Deragon and T. Pelissier, “Arabidopsis eIF2alpha kinase GCN2 is essential for growth in stress conditions and is activated by wounding.”, BMC Plant Biol., vol. 8 , pp. 134, 2008.
    • M. Pouch-Pelissier, T. Pelissier, T. Elmayan, H. Vaucheret, D. Boko, M. Jantsch and J. Deragon, “SINE RNA induces severe developmental defects in Arabidopsis thaliana and interacts with HYL1 (DRB1), a key member of the DCL1 complex.”, PLoS Genet., vol. 4 (6) , pp. e1000096, 2008.
    • M. Caikovski, C. Yokthongwattana, Y. Habu, T. Nishimura, O. Mathieu and J. Paszkowski, “Divergent evolution of CHD3 proteins resulted in MOM1 refining epigenetic control in vascular plants.”, PLoS Genet., vol. 4 (8) , pp. e1000165, 2008.