Carolina Ripodas

Carolina Ripodas

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2015

Receiving laboratory: Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions (LIPM), INRA, Toulouse

Country of origin : Argentina




Mobility project

Understanding the mode of action of the symbiosis-specific NF-YA1 transcription factor in Medicago truncatula

Plants belonging to the legume family are able to interact symbiotically with nitrogen fixing bacteria named rhizobia, allowing these plants to grow in agricultural systems with low nitrogen inputs and thus to be important actors of sustainable agriculture. This symbiotic interaction leads to the formation of a new organ on the roots of the host plants, called nodule, inside which N2 is fixed for the benefit of the plant. Nodule development is controlled by the nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) transcription factor (TF) NF-YA1. The heterotrimeric NF-Y complex is composed of the DNA-binding subunit NF-YA associated with two histone-like subunits NF-YB and NF-YC. Interestingly NF-Y is both a sequence specific TF, binding CCAAT boxes, but also shows nucleosome-like properties, promoting chromatin accessibility for other master TFs. Indeed, NF-YA1 of M.truncatula is rapidly, strongly and specifically expressed during nodule development, and knock-out mutant lines only form few small nodules that lack a functional meristem. The aim of this project is to thoroughly understand the mode of action of MtNF-YA transcription factors in nodule development. We will determine using ChIP-Seq the binding sites for this TF during nodule development. In addition, comparative transcriptome analysis using RNA-Seq in WT, mutant and overexpression backgrounds will be performed. The combination of these approaches will identify direct target genes of NF-Y complexes. We will also identify and characterize proteins interacting with NF-YA1 to regulate gene expression and chromatin structure by CoIP of chromatin related proteins coupled to mass spectrometry.
Data generated in this project could help defining new strategies to promote better nodule development in legume crops during adverse conditions and to transfer nodule development into non-nitrogen-fixing crops thereby contributing to the ongoing worldwide effort to increase biological nitrogen fixation in agriculture.

Biography & research interests

I graduated as a Biotechnologist at the National University of La Plata in April 2011. In November of 2015 I started my PhD under the supervision of Dr. Maria Eugenia Zanetti and Dr. Flavio Blanco. During my PhD, I characterized transcription factors playing essential roles in the root nodule symbiosis established between Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean) and Rhizobium etli. In particular, I studied the function of a transcription factor of the GRAS family and the heterotrimeric Nuclear Factor Y (NF-Y), consisting of the NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC subunits. The results obtained during my PhD were communicated into four international publications, two of them in Plant Physiology, one in Frontiers in Plant Science and other in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. Also, some of the results obtained during her PhD are part of a manuscript that is being prepare and will be submit to publication in the next few months.
In the long term period, I would like to establish a career in the epigenetic field during plant-microbe interaction. The collaborative networks established during this stage of my career can be the base for future stable collaborations with researchers working in the same field.

Selected publications

2016 Zanetti ME, Rípodas C, Niebel A (2016). Plant NF-Y transcription factors: Key players in plant-microbe interactions, root development and adaptation to stress. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017 May;1860(5):645-654. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2016.11.007.

*2015 Baudin Mael, Laloum Tom, Lepage Agnes, Rípodas Carolina, Ariel Federico, Frances L., Crespi Martin, Gamas Pascal, Blanco Flavio, Zanetti María Eugenia, de Carvalho-Niebel Fernanda and Niebel Andreas. (2015). A phylogenetically conserved group of NF-Y transcription factors interact to control nodulation in legumes. Plant Physiology doi: 10.1104/pp.15.01144.

*2015 Carolina Rípodas, Mélisse Castaingts, Joaquín Clúa, Flavio Antonio Blanco and Maria Eugenia Zanetti (2015) Annotation, Phylogeny and Expression Analysis of the Nuclear Factor Y Gene Families in Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Frontiers in Plant Science. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00761.

*2014 Marina Battaglia*, Carolina Rípodas*, Joaquín Clua, Mael Baudin, Mario O. Aguilar, Andreas Niebel, María Eugenia Zanetti, Flavio Antonio Blanco The NF-YC1 interacting protein SIN1, a member of the GRAS family, is required for nodule organogenesis, infection thread progression and lateral root growth. (2014) Plant Physiology. Mar;164(3):1430-42. doi: 10.1104/pp.113.230896.

*2014 Carolina Rípodas, Joaquín Clua, Marina Battaglia, Mael Baudin, Andreas Niebel, María Eugenia Zanetti, Flavio Antonio Blanco.Transcriptional regulators of legume-rhizobia symbiosis: nuclear factors Ys and GRAS are two for tango. Plant Signaling and Behaviour, 2014;9:e28847. doi:10.4161/psb.28847.

*2013 Carolina Rípodas, Virginia Dalla Via, O. Mario Aguilar, María Eugenia Zanetti, Flavio Antonio Blanco. Knock-down of a member of the isoflavone reductase gene family impairs plant growth and nodulation in Phaseolus vulgaris. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 2013 Jul; 68:81-9. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2013.04.003.

2013 Virginia Dalla Vía, Carolina Rípodas, Joaquín Clua, Mauricio Reynoso, Candela Narduzzi, Mario O. Aguilar, María Eugenia Zanetti y Flavio A. Blanco. (2013) Common Bean as an Emerging Model Grain Legume. Nova Science Publishing, NY, USA
Legumes: Types, Nutritional Composition and Health Benefits. ISBN 978-1-62808-280-7.

Awards & patents

2016-2018 AgreenSkills+ fellowship;
2014-2016 Type II PhD Fellowship granted by Argentine National Scientific Research Council (CONICET);
2011-2014 Type I PhD Fellowship granted by National Agency of Science and Technology;
2014 EMBO short-term fellowship grated by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). Short investigation stay in the Laboratoire des interactions plantes micro-organismes. UMR INRA/CNRS – Toulouse – France. March to June 2014;
2013 ASPB fellowship grated by the American Society of Plant Biologysts (ASPB) to attend the PBL congress in Providence, Rhode Island – USA.



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