Education & Certifications

  • Ph.D., Universit Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Plant Biology (2016)
  • M.S., Northeast Normal University, Genetics (2012)
  • B.S., Jilin University (2009)


All Publications

  • Re-localization of hormone effectors is associated with dormancy alleviation by temperature and after-ripening in sunflower seeds SCIENTIFIC REPORTS Xia, Q., Ponnaiah, M., Thanikathansubramanian, K., Corbineau, F., Bailly, C., Nambara, E., Meimoun, P., El-Maarouf-Bouteau, H. 2019; 9: 4861


    Temperature is the primary factor that affects seed dormancy and germination. However, the molecular mechanism that underlies its effect on dormancy alleviation remained largely unknown. In this study, we investigate hormone involvement in temperature induced germination as compared to that caused by after-ripening. Dormant (D) sunflower seeds cannot germinate at 10?C but fully germinate at 20?C. After-ripened seeds become non-dormant (ND), i.e. able to germinate at 10?C. Pharmacological experiments showed the importance of abscisic acid (ABA), gibberellins (GAs) and ethylene in temperature- and after-ripening-induced germination of sunflower seeds. Hormone quantification showed that after-ripening is mediated by a decline in both ABA content and sensitivity while ABA content is increased in D seeds treated at 10 or 20?C, suggesting that ABA decrease is not a prerequisite for temperature induced dormancy alleviation. GAs and ethylene contents were in accordance with germination potential of the three conditions (GA1 was higher in D 20?C and ND 10?C than in D 10?C). Transcripts analysis showed that the major change concerns ABA and GAs metabolism genes, while ABA signalling gene expression was significantly unchanged. Moreover, another level of hormonal regulation at the subcellular localization has been revealed by immunocytolocalization study. Indeed, ABA, protein Abscisic acid-Insensitive 5 (ABI5), involved in ABA-regulated gene expression and DELLA protein RGL2, a repressor of the gibberellins signalling pathway, localized mainly in the nucleus in non-germinating seeds while they localized in the cytosol in germinating seeds. Furthermore, ACC-oxidase (ACO) protein, the key ethylene biosynthesis enzyme, was detected in the meristem only in germinating seeds. Our results reveal the importance of hormone actors trafficking in the cell and their regulation in specialized tissue such as the meristem in dormancy alleviation and germination.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-40494-w

    View details for Web of Science ID 000461563200021

    View details for PubMedID 30890715

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6424972

  • Activation of plasma membrane H+-ATPases participates in dormancy alleviation in sunflower seeds PLANT SCIENCE De Bont, L., Naim, E., Arbelet-Bonnin, D., Xia, Q., Palm, E., Meimoun, P., Mancuso, S., El-Maarouf-Bouteau, H., Bouteau, F. 2019; 280: 408?15


    Using various inhibitors and scavengers we took advantage of the size of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seeds to investigate in vivo the effects of hormones, namely abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene (ET), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) on the polarization of dormant (D) and non-dormant (ND) embryonic seed cells using microelectrodes. Our data show that D and ND seed cells present different polarization likely due to the regulation of plasma membrane (PM) H+-ATPase activity. The data obtained after addition of hormones or ROS scavengers further suggest that ABA dependent inhibition of PM H+-ATPases could participate in dormancy maintenance and that ET-and ROS-dependent PM H+-ATPase stimulation could participate in dormancy release in sunflower seeds.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.plantsci.2018.12.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000461262100039

    View details for PubMedID 30824019

  • One Way to Achieve Germination: Common Molecular Mechanism Induced by Ethylene and After-Ripening in Sunflower Seeds INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES Xia, Q., Saux, M., Ponnaiah, M., Gilard, F., Perreau, F., Huguet, S., Balzergue, S., Langlade, N., Bailly, C., Meimoun, P., Corbineau, F., El-Maarouf-Bouteau, H. 2018; 19 (8)


    Dormancy is an adaptive trait that blocks seed germination until the environmental conditions become favorable for subsequent vegetative plant growth. Seed dormancy is defined as the inability to germinate in favorable conditions. Dormancy is alleviated during after-ripening, a dry storage period, during which dormant (D) seeds unable to germinate become non-dormant (ND), able to germinate in a wide range of environmental conditions. The treatment of dormant seeds with ethylene (D/ET) promotes seed germination, and abscisic acid (ABA) treatment reduces non-dormant (ND/ABA) seed germination in sunflowers (Helianthus annuus). Metabolomic and transcriptomic studies have been performed during imbibition to compare germinating seeds (ND and D/ET) and low-germinating seeds (D and ND/ABA). A PCA analysis of the metabolites content showed that imbibition did not trigger a significant change during the first hours (3 and 15 h). The metabolic changes associated with germination capacity occurred at 24 h and were related to hexoses, as their content was higher in ND and D/ET and was reduced by ABA treatment. At the transcriptional level, a large number of genes were altered oppositely in germinating, compared to the low-germinating seeds. The metabolomic and transcriptomic results were integrated in the interpretation of the processes involved in germination. Our results show that ethylene treatment triggers molecular changes comparable to that of after-ripening treatment, concerning sugar metabolism and ABA signaling inhibition.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/ijms19082464

    View details for Web of Science ID 000442869800316

    View details for PubMedID 30127315

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6121958

  • Integrating proteomics and enzymatic profiling to decipher seed metabolism affected by temperature in seed dormancy and germination PLANT SCIENCE Xia, Q., Maharajah, P., Cueff, G., Rajjou, L., Prodhomme, D., Gibon, Y., Bailly, C., Corbineau, F., Meimoun, P., El-Maarouf-Bouteau, H. 2018; 269: 118?25


    Temperature is an important environmental factor affecting seed dormancy and germination. The mechanism by which temperature induces germination in dormant seeds is however still unclear. Proteomic study has been performed in dormant sunflower seeds during imbibition at permissive and non-permissive temperatures for germination, 20 and 10?C, respectively. Proteome analysis showed an increase of proteins belonging to metabolism and energy from the first hours of imbibition followed by a decrease of proteins involved in protein metabolism and seed storage in germinating compared to non-germinating seeds. Proteomic study was completed by polysome and proteasome activity assessment and enzymatic profiling on several altered proteins involved in metabolism and energy. Results showed that 20?C treatment induced the activation of both protein synthesis and degradation processes, the latter being related to proteasome activity during the germination sensu stricto, and to other degradation processes such as proteases during the post-germination. Interestingly, enzymatic profiles showed that TCA cycle and glycolysis were more active in non-germinating seeds in the phase I of the germination sensu stricto. This result suggests the regulation of central metabolism activity in germinating seeds. The control of energy production during imbibition seems to be involved in molecular networks controlling seed dormancy and germination.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.plantsci.2018.01.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000430523300012

    View details for PubMedID 29606208

  • Laser Irradiation-Induced DNA Methylation Changes Are Heritable and Accompanied with Transpositional Activation of mPing in Rice FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE Li, S., Xia, Q., Wang, F., Yu, X., Ma, J., Kou, H., Lin, X., Gao, X., Liu, B. 2017; 8: 363


    DNA methylation is an integral component of the epigenetic code in most higher eukaryotes. Exploring the extent to which DNA methylation can be altered under a specific condition and its heritability is important for elucidating the biological functions of this epigenetic modification. Here, we conducted MSAP analysis of rice plants with altered phenotypes subsequent to a low-dose Nd3+YAG laser irradiation. We found that all four methylation patterns at the 5'-CCGG sites that are analyzable by MSAP showed substantial changes in the immediately treated M0 plants. Interestingly, the frequencies of hypo- and hypermethylation were of similar extents, which largely offset each other and render the total methylation levels unchanged. Further analysis revealed that the altered methylation patterns were meiotically heritable to at least the M2 generation but accompanied with further changes in each generation. The methylation changes and their heritability of the metastable epigenetic state were verified by bisulfite sequencing of portion of the retrotranspon, Tos17, an established locus for assessing DNA methylation liability in rice. Real-time PCR assay indicated that the expression of various methylation-related chromatin genes was perturbed, and a Pearson correlation analysis showed that many of these genes, especially two AGOs (AGO4-1 and AGO4-2), were significantly correlated with the methylation pattern alterations. In addition, excisions of a MITE transposon, mPing, occurred rampantly in the laser irradiated plants and their progenies. Together, our results indicate that heritable DNA methylation changes can be readily induced by low-dose laser irradiation, and which can be accompanied by transpostional activation of transposable elements.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fpls.2017.00363

    View details for Web of Science ID 000396766500001

    View details for PubMedID 28377781

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5359294

  • The Core Subunit of A Chromatin-Remodeling Complex, ZmCHB101, Plays Essential Roles in Maize Growth and Development SCIENTIFIC REPORTS Yu, X., Jiang, L., Wu, R., Meng, X., Zhang, A., Li, N., Xia, Q., Qi, X., Pang, J., Xu, Z., Liu, B. 2016; 6: 38504


    ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes play essential roles in the regulation of diverse biological processes by formulating a DNA template that is accessible to the general transcription apparatus. Although the function of chromatin remodelers in plant development has been studied in A. thaliana, how it affects growth and development of major crops (e.g., maize) remains uninvestigated. Combining genetic, genomic and bioinformatic analyses, we show here that the maize core subunit of chromatin remodeling complex, ZmCHB101, plays essential roles in growth and development of maize at both vegetative and reproductive stages. Independent ZmCHB101 RNA interference plant lines displayed abaxially curling leaf phenotype due to increase of bulliform cell numbers, and showed impaired development of tassel and cob. RNA-seq-based transcriptome profiling revealed that ZmCHB101 dictated transcriptional reprogramming of a significant set of genes involved in plant development, photosynthesis, metabolic regulation, stress response and gene expressional regulation. Intriguingly, we found that ZmCHB101 was required for maintaining normal nucleosome density and 45?S rDNA compaction. Our findings suggest that the SWI3 protein, ZmCHB101, plays pivotal roles in maize normal growth and development via regulation of chromatin structure.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/srep38504

    View details for Web of Science ID 000389155100001

    View details for PubMedID 27917953

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5137073

  • Determination of Protein Carbonylation and Proteasome Activity in Seeds. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) Xia, Q., El-Maarouf-Bouteau, H., Bailly, C., Meimoun, P. 2016; 1450: 205?12


    Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been shown to be toxic but also function as signaling molecules in a process called redox signaling. In seeds, ROS are produced at different developmental stages including dormancy release and germination. Main targets of oxidation events by ROS in cell are lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins. Protein oxidation has various effects on their function, stability, location, and degradation. Carbonylation represents an irreversible and unrepairable modification that can lead to protein degradation through the action of the 20S proteasome. Here, we present techniques which allow the quantification of protein carbonyls in complex protein samples after derivatization by 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) and the determination proteasome activity by an activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) using the probe MV151. These techniques, routinely easy to handle, allow the rapid assessment of protein carbonyls and proteasome activity in seeds in various physiological conditions where ROS may act as signaling or toxic elements.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-3759-2_16

    View details for PubMedID 27424756

  • Ethylene, a key factor in the regulation of seed dormancy FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE Corbineau, F., Xia, Q., Bailly, C., El-Maarouf-Bouteau, H. 2014; 5: 539


    Ethylene is an important component of the gaseous environment, and regulates numerous plant developmental processes including seed germination and seedling establishment. Dormancy, the inability to germinate in apparently favorable conditions, has been demonstrated to be regulated by the hormonal balance between abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellins (GAs). Ethylene plays a key role in dormancy release in numerous species, the effective concentrations allowing the germination of dormant seeds ranging between 0.1 and 200 ?L L(-1). Studies using inhibitors of ethylene biosynthesis or of ethylene action and analysis of mutant lines altered in genes involved in the ethylene signaling pathway (etr1, ein2, ain1, etr1, and erf1) demonstrate the involvement of ethylene in the regulation of germination and dormancy. Ethylene counteracts ABA effects through a regulation of ABA metabolism and signaling pathways. Moreover, ethylene insensitive mutants in Arabidopsis are more sensitive to ABA and the seeds are more dormant. Numerous data also show an interaction between ABA, GAs and ethylene metabolism and signaling pathways. It has been increasingly demonstrated that reactive oxygen species (ROS) may play a significant role in the regulation of seed germination interacting with hormonal signaling pathways. In the present review the responsiveness of seeds to ethylene will be described, and the key role of ethylene in the regulation of seed dormancy via a crosstalk between hormones and other signals will be discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fpls.2014.00539

    View details for Web of Science ID 000344741000001

    View details for PubMedID 25346747

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4193209

  • Induced Pib Expression and Resistance to Magnaporthe grisea are Compromised by Cytosine Demethylation at Critical Promoter Regions in Rice JOURNAL OF INTEGRATIVE PLANT BIOLOGY Li, Y., Xia, Q., Kou, H., Wang, D., Lin, X., Wu, Y., Xu, C., Xing, S., Liu, B. 2011; 53 (10): 814?23


    Pib is a well-characterized rice blast-resistance gene belonging to the nucleotide binding site (NBS) and leucine-rich repeat (LRR) superfamily. Expression of Pib was low under non-challenged conditions, but strongly induced by the blast-causing fungal pathogen Magnaporthe grisea, thereby conferring resistance to the pathogen. It is generally established that cytosine methylation of the promoter-region often plays a repressive role in modulating expression of the gene in question. We report here that two critical regions of the Pib promoter were heavily CG cytosine-methylated in both cultivars studied. Surprisingly, induced expression of Pib by M. grisea infection did not entail its promoter demethylation, and partial demethylation by 5-azacytidine-treatment actually reduced Pib expression relative to wild-type plants. Accordingly, the blast disease-resistance was compromised in the 5'-azaC-treated plants relative to wild-type. In contrast, the disease susceptibility was not affected by the 5'-azaC treatment in another two rice cultivars that did not contain the Pib gene, ruling out effects of other R genes and non-specific genotoxic effects by the drug-treatment as a cause for the compromised Pib-conditioned blast-resistance. Taken together, our results suggest that promoter DNA methylation plays a novel enhancing role in conditioning high-level of induced expression of the Pib gene in times of M. grisea infection, and its conferred resistance to the pathogen.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01070.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295879700004

    View details for PubMedID 21781278

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