Yonathan Lukito

Doctor of Philosophy, (Genetics)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Epigenetic regulation of Epichloë festucae secondary metabolite biosynthesis and symbiotic interaction with Lolium perenne

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) are important epigenetic regulators of gene transcription, but none had been identified in filamentous fungi. Mr Lukito characterised putative KDMs in the model filamentous fungal endophyte Epichloë festucae, a symbiont of perennial ryegrass. An H3K4me3 demethylase, KdmB, was identified, which together with the H3K4 methyltransferase complex subunit CclA, were subsequently found to regulate the subtelomeric eas and ltm genes in the fungus. These genes, which encode enzymes for the production of ergovaline and lolitrem B, agriculturally significant compounds with anti-insect and/or anti-mammalian activities, are repressed by CclA in axenic culture but are activated by KdmB in planta. Mr Lukito also identified SetB as an H3K36me3-specific methyltransferase, which has a role in regulating the ability of E. festucae to infect its host plant.

Professor Barry Scott
Dr Tetsuya Chujo
Dr Tracy Hale
Dr Linda Johnson