Clémentine Vitte

French National Centre for Scientific Research, Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France

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Publications (18)72.33 Total impact

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    Marie Mirouze · Clémentine Vitte
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    ABSTRACT: In the past decade, plant biologists and breeders have developed a growing interest in the field of epigenetics, which is defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression that cannot be explained by changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic marks can be responsive to the environment, and evolve faster than genetic changes. Therefore, epigenetic diversity may represent an unexplored resource of natural variation that could be used in plant breeding programmes. On the other hand, crop genomes are largely populated with transposable elements (TEs) that are efficiently targeted by epigenetic marks, and part of the epigenetic diversity observed might be explained by TE polymorphisms. Characterizing the degree to which TEs influence epigenetic variation in crops is therefore a major goal to better use epigenetic variation. To date, epigenetic analyses have been mainly focused on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and have provided clues on epigenome features, components that silence pathways, and effects of silencing impairment. But to what extent can Arabidopsis be used as a model for the epigenomics of crops? In this review, we discuss the similarities and differences between the epigenomes of Arabidopsis and crops. We explore the relationship between TEs and epigenomes, focusing on TE silencing control and escape, and the impact of TE mobility on epigenomic variation. Finally, we provide insights into challenges to tackle, and future directions to take in the route towards using epigenetic diversity in plant breeding programmes.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Experimental Botany
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    ABSTRACT: The past decades have revealed an unexpected yet prominent role of so-called ‘junk DNA’ in the regulation of gene expression, thereby challenging our view of the mechanisms underlying phenotypic evolution. In particular, several mechanisms through which transposable elements (TEs) participate in functional genome diversity have been depicted, bringing to light the ‘TEs bright side’. However, the relative contribution of those mechanisms and, more generally, the importance of TE-based polymorphisms on past and present phenotypic variation in crops species remain poorly understood. Here, we review current knowledge on both issues, and discuss how analyses of massively parallel sequencing data combined with statistical methodologies and functional validations will help unravelling the impact of TEs on crop evolution in a near future.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Briefings in functional genomics
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    ABSTRACT: Certain temperate species require prolonged exposure to low temperature to initiate transition from vegetative growth to flowering, a process known as vernalization. In wheat, winter cultivars require vernalization to initiate flowering, making vernalization requirement a trait of key importance in wheat agronomy. The genetic bases of vernalization response have been largely studied in wheat, leading to the characterization of a regulation pathway that involves the key gene VERNALIZATION1 (VRN1). While previous studies in wheat and barley have revealed the functional role of histone modification in setting VRN1 expression, other mechanisms might also be involved. Here, we were interested in determining whether the cold-induced expression of the wheat VRN-A1 gene is associated with a change in DNA methylation. We provide the first DNA methylation analysis of the VRN-A1 gene, and describe the existence of methylation at CG but also at non CG sites. While CG sites show a bell-shape profile typical of gene-body-methylation, non CG methylation is restricted to the large (8.5 kb) intron 1, in a region harboring fragments of transposable elements (TEs). Interestingly, cold induces a site-specific hypermethylation at these non CG sites. This increase in DNA methylation is transmitted through mitosis, and is reset to its original level after sexual reproduction. These results demonstrate that VRN-A1 has a particular DNA methylation pattern, exhibiting rapid shift within the life cycle of a winter wheat plant following exposure to particular environmental conditions. The finding that this shift occurs at non CG sites in a TE-rich region opens interesting questions onto the possible consequences of this type of methylation in gene expression.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · BMC Plant Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Background and AimsAlthough monocotyledonous plants comprise one of the two major groups of angiosperms and include >65 000 species, comprehensive genome analysis has been focused mainly on the Poaceae (grass) family. Due to this bias, most of the conclusions that have been drawn for monocot genome evolution are based on grasses. It is not known whether these conclusions apply to many other monocots.Methods To extend our understanding of genome evolution in the monocots, Asparagales genomic sequence data were acquired and the structural properties of asparagus and onion genomes were analysed. Specifically, several available onion and asparagus bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) with contig sizes >35 kb were annotated and analysed, with a particular focus on the characterization of long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons.Key ResultsThe results reveal that LTR retrotransposons are the major components of the onion and garden asparagus genomes. These elements are mostly intact (i.e. with two LTRs), have mainly inserted within the past 6 million years and are piled up into nested structures. Analysis of shotgun genomic sequence data and the observation of two copies for some transposable elements (TEs) in annotated BACs indicates that some families have become particularly abundant, as high as 4-5 % (asparagus) or 3-4 % (onion) of the genome for the most abundant families, as also seen in large grass genomes such as wheat and maize.Conclusions Although previous annotations of contiguous genomic sequences have suggested that LTR retrotransposons were highly fragmented in these two Asparagales genomes, the results presented here show that this was largely due to the methodology used. In contrast, this current work indicates an ensemble of genomic features similar to those observed in the Poaceae.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Annals of Botany
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    ABSTRACT: An international conference on Transposable Elements (TEs) was held 21–24 April 2012 in Saint Malo, France. Organized by the French Transposition Community (GDR Elements Génétiques Mobiles et Génomes, CNRS) and the French Society of Genetics (SFG), the conference’s goal was to bring together researchers from around the world who study transposition in diverse organisms using multiple experimental approaches. The meeting drew more than 217 attendees and most contributed through poster presentations (117), invited talks and short talks selected from poster abstracts (48 in total). The talks were organized into four scientific sessions, focused on: impact of TEs on genomes, control of transposition, evolution of TEs and mechanisms of transposition. Here, we present highlights from the talks given during the platform sessions. The conference was sponsored by Alliance pour les sciences de la vie et de la santé (Aviesan), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM), Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), Université de Perpignan, Université de Rennes 1, Région Bretagne and Mobile DNA. Chair of the organization committee Jean-Marc Deragon Organizers Abdelkader Ainouche, Mireille Bétermier, Mick Chandler, Richard Cordaux, Gaël Cristofari, Jean-Marc Deragon, Pascale Lesage, Didier Mazel, Olivier Panaud, Hadi Quesneville, Chantal Vaury, Cristina Vieira and Clémentine Vitte
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Mobile DNA
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    ABSTRACT: Transposable element (TE) content explains a large part of Eukaryotic genome size variation. TE content is determined by transposition, removal and host responses, but the efficiency of these forces is ultimately governed by genetic drift and natural selection. Contribution of TE families to genome size variation has been recently quantified using next generation sequencing (NGS) in two species pairs: Zea mays ssp. mays and Zea luxurians, Arabidopsis lyrata and A. thaliana. In both interspecific comparisons, genome-wide differences in TE content rather than the proliferation of a small subset of TE families was observed. We discuss three nonexclusive hypotheses to explain this pattern: selection for genome shrinkage, differential efficiency of epigenetic control, and a purely stochastic process of genome size evolution. Additional genome-wide assessments are needed to assess the extent to which selection shapes TE genomic content. To facilitate such studies, we discuss the use of NGS in "orphan" species.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Topics in current genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Transposable element (TE) content explains a large part of Eukaryotic genome size variation. TE content is determined by transposition, removal and host responses, but the efficiency of these forces is ultimately governed by genetic drift and natural selection. Contribution of TE families to genome size variation has been recently quantified using next generation sequencing (NGS) in two species pairs: Zea mays ssp. mays and Zea luxurians, Arabidopsis lyrata and A. thaliana. In both interspecific comparisons, genome-wide differences in TE content rather than the proliferation of a small subset of TE families was observed. We discuss three nonexclusive hypotheses to explain this pattern: selection for genome shrinkage, differential efficiency of epigenetic control, and a purely stochastic process of genome size evolution. Additional genome-wide assessments are needed to assess the extent to which selection shapes TE genomic content. To facilitate such studies, we discuss the use of NGS in “orphan” species.
    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular markers have been successfully used in rice breeding however available markers based on Oryza sativa sequences are not efficient to monitor alien introgression from distant genomes of Oryza. We developed O. minuta (2n=48, BBCC)-specific clones comprising of 105 clones (266–715bp) from the initial library composed of 1,920 clones against O. sativa by representational difference analysis (RDA), a subtractive cloning method and validated through Southern blot hybridization. Chromosomal location of O. minuta-specific clones was identified by hybridization with the genomic DNA of eight monosomic alien additional lines (MAALs). The 37 clones were located either on chromosomes 6, 7, or 12. Different hybridization patterns between O. minuta-specific clones and wild species such as O. punctata, O. officinalis, O. rhizomatis, O. australiensis, and O. ridleyi were observed indicating conservation of the O. minuta fragments across Oryza spp. A highly repetitive clone, OmSC45 hybridized with O. minuta and O. australiensis (EE), and was found in 6,500 and 9,000 copies, respectively, suggesting an independent and exponential amplification of the fragment in both species during the evolution of Oryza. Hybridization of 105 O. minuta specific clones with BB- and CC-genome wild Oryza species resulted in the identification of 4 BB-genome-specific and 14 CC-genome-specific clones. OmSC45 was identified as a fragment of RIRE1, an LTR-retrotransposon. Furthermore this clone was introgressed from O. minuta into the advanced breeding lines of O. sativa. Keywords Oryza minuta-specific clones-Representational difference analysis-Highly repetitive sequence-Genomic conservation-MAALs-Introgression
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Euphytica
  • Phillip SanMiguel · Clémentine Vitte
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    ABSTRACT: The maize genome comprises 150,000–250,000 long terminal repeat (LTR)-retrotransposons, mostly in nested clusters, intermingled with other transpos-able elements and, more rarely, genes. All told, the genomic landscape of maize is 50–80% retrotransposons. Myriad families exist but >80% of maize retrotransposons belong to the five largest: Opie-Ji, Cinful-Zeon, Huck, Prem1 and Grande. Closely related to animal retroviruses, retrotransposons utilize an RNA intermediate to initiate their transposition. Despite extensive proliferation they are nevertheless suppressed by a variety of mechanisms, including DNA methylation, conversion to heterochromatin and various types of recombinational deletion. Retrotransposons play a large role in the size, structure, gene function and haplotype variation of the maize genome.
    No preview · Chapter · Dec 2008
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    ABSTRACT: Analysis of the sequences of 74 randomly selected BACs demonstrated that the maize nuclear genome contains approximately 37,000 candidate genes with homologues in other plant species. An additional approximately 5,500 predicted genes are severely truncated and probably pseudogenes. The distribution of genes is uneven, with approximately 30% of BACs containing no genes. BAC gene density varies from 0 to 7.9 per 100 kb, whereas most gene islands contain only one gene. The average number of genes per gene island is 1.7. Only 72% of these genes show collinearity with the rice genome. Particular LTR retrotransposon families (e.g., Gyma) are enriched on gene-free BACs, most of which do not come from pericentromeres or other large heterochromatic regions. Gene-containing BACs are relatively enriched in different families of LTR retrotransposons (e.g., Ji). Two major bursts of LTR retrotransposon activity in the last 2 million years are responsible for the large size of the maize genome, but only the more recent of these is well represented in gene-containing BACs, suggesting that LTR retrotransposons are more efficiently removed in these domains. The results demonstrate that sample sequencing and careful annotation of a few randomly selected BACs can provide a robust description of a complex plant genome.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2007 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    Clémentine Vitte · Olivier Panaud · Hadi Quesneville
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    ABSTRACT: LTR retrotransposons are one of the main causes for plant genome size and structure evolution, along with polyploidy. The characterization of their amplification and subsequent elimination of the genomes is therefore a major goal in plant evolutionary genomics. To address the extent and timing of these forces, we performed a detailed analysis of 41 LTR retrotransposon families in rice. Using a new method to estimate the insertion date of both truncated and complete copies, we estimated these two forces more accurately than previous studies based on other methods. We show that LTR retrotransposons have undergone bursts of amplification within the past 5 My. These bursts vary both in date and copy number among families, revealing that each family has a particular amplification history. The number of solo LTR varies among families and seems to correlate with LTR size, suggesting that solo LTR formation is a family-dependent process. The deletion rate estimate leads to the prediction that the half-life of LTR retrotransposon sequences evolving neutrally is about 19 My in rice, suggesting that other processes than the formation of small deletions are prevalent in rice DNA removal. Our work provides insights into the dynamics of LTR retrotransposons in the rice genome. We show that transposable element families have distinct amplification patterns, and that the turn-over of LTR retrotransposons sequences is rapid in the rice genome.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · BMC Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: Transposable elements are the main components of complex genomes. Their impact on the genomes in terms of structural changes during evolution is thus one of the main focuses of today's structural genomics. Although non-autonomous transposable elements have been known for a long time, their contribution to genome evolution is poorly understood. Our present study describes two new non-autonomous LTR retrotransposons in the rice (Oryza sativa L) genome, Spip and Squiq, the LTR of which are closely related to those of the gypsy-like RIRE3 and RIRE8 LTR retrotransposon families, respectively, but the internal region of which is completely different and harbours none of the characteristic coding domains of LTR retrotransposons. Spip and Squiq thus belong to the class of LArge Retrotransposon Derivatives (LARDs).A phylogenetic study based on the sequence alignment of the LTRs of Spip/RIRE3, and of Squiq/RIRE8 show that both Spip and Squiq elements are of monophyletic origin. In addition, the estimation of the date of insertion of the copies suggests that Spip and Squiq families are of recent origin (that is, they amplified mainly within the last 2 My).Spip and Squiq are the fourth and fifth LARD families to be described in the rice genome, suggesting that this type of sequences is not rare. Moreover, these two families appear to be as numerous as their autonomous counterparts, suggesting that they have played an equivalent role in the recent history of rice.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2007 · Plant Science
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    Clémentine Vitte · Jeffrey L Bennetzen
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    ABSTRACT: Analysis of LTR retrotransposon structures in five diploid angiosperm genomes uncovered very different relative levels of different types of genomic diversity. All species exhibited recent LTR retrotransposon mobility and also high rates of DNA removal by unequal homologous recombination and illegitimate recombination. The larger plant genomes contained many LTR retrotransposon families with >10,000 copies per haploid genome, whereas the smaller genomes contained few or no LTR retrotransposon families with >1,000 copies, suggesting that this differential potential for retroelement amplification is a primary factor in angiosperm genome size variation. The average ratios of transition to transversion mutations (Ts/Tv) in diverging LTRs were >1.5 for each species studied, suggesting that these elements are mostly 5-methylated at cytosines in an epigenetically silenced state. However, the diploid wheat Triticum monococcum and barley have unusually low Ts/Tv values (respectively, 1.9 and 1.6) compared with maize (3.9), medicago (3.6), and lotus (2.5), suggesting that this silencing is less complete in the two Triticeae. Such characteristics as the ratios of point mutations to indels (insertions and deletions) and the relative efficiencies of DNA removal by unequal homologous recombination compared with illegitimate recombination were highly variable between species. These latter variations did not correlate with genome size or phylogenetic relatedness, indicating that they frequently change during the evolutionary descent of plant lineages. In sum, the results indicate that the different sizes, contents, and structures of angiosperm genomes are outcomes of the same suite of mechanistic processes, but acting with different relative efficiencies in different plant lineages.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2006 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • C Vitte · O Panaud
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    ABSTRACT: Long Terminal Repeat (LTR) retrotransposons are ubiquitous components of plant genomes. Because of their copy-and-paste mode of transposition, these elements tend to increase their copy number while they are active. In addition, it is now well established that the differences in genome size observed in the plant kingdom are accompanied by variations in LTR retrotransposon content, suggesting that LTR retrotransposons might be important players in the evolution of plant genome size, along with polyploidy. The recent availability of large genomic sequences for many crop species has made it possible to examine in detail how LTR retrotransposons actually drive genomic changes in plants. In the present paper, we provide a review of the recent publications that have contributed to the knowledge of plant LTR retrotransposons, as structural components of the genomes, as well as from an evolutionary genomic perspective. These studies have shown that plant genomes undergo genome size increases through bursts of retrotransposition, while there is a counteracting process that tends to eliminate the transposed copies from the genomes. This process involves recombination mechanisms that occur either between the LTRs of the elements, leading to the formation of solo-LTRs, or between direct repeats anywhere in the sequence of the element, leading to internal deletions. All these studies have led to the emergence of a new model for plant genome evolution that takes into account both genome size increases (through retrotransposition) and decreases (through solo-LTR and deletion formation). In the conclusion, we discuss this new model and present the future prospects in the study of plant genome evolution in relation to the activity of transposable elements.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2005 · Cytogenetic and Genome Research
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    C Vitte · T Ishii · F Lamy · D Brar · O Panaud
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    ABSTRACT: The origin of rice domestication has been the subject of debate for several decades. We have compared the transpositional history of 110 LTR retrotransposons in the genomes of two rice varieties, Nipponbare (Japonica type) and 93-11 (Indica type) whose complete sequences have recently been released. Using a genomic paleontology approach, we estimate that these two genomes diverged from one another at least 200,000 years ago, i.e., at a time which is clearly older than the date of domestication of the crop (10,000 years ago, during the late Neolithic). In addition, we complement and confirm this first in silico analysis with a survey of insertion polymorphisms in a wide range of traditional rice varieties of both Indica and Japonica types. These experimental data provide additional evidence for the proposal that Indica and Japonica rice arose from two independent domestication events in Asia.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2005 · Molecular Genetics and Genomics
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    C Vitte · O Panaud
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the dynamics of hopi, Retrosat1, and RIRE3, three gypsy-like long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons, in Oryza sativa L. genome. For each family, we assessed the phenetic relationships of the copies and estimated the date of insertion of the complete copies through the evaluation of their LTR divergence. We show that within each family, distinct phenetic groups have inserted at significantly different times, within the past 5 Myr and that two major amplification events may have occurred during this period. We show that solo-LTR formation through homologous unequal recombination has occurred in rice within the past 5 Myr for the three elements. We thus propose an increase/decrease model for rice genome evolution, in which both amplification and recombination processes drive variations in genome size.
    Preview · Article · May 2003 · Molecular Biology and Evolution
  • Panaud O. · Vitte C. · Hivert J. · Muzlak S. · Talag J. · Brar D. · Sarr A.
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    ABSTRACT: Representational Difference Analysis was applied to characterize genomic differentiations between rice ( Oryza sativa) and foxtail millet ( Setaria italica) and subsequently to identify rice transposable elements. Rice was used as the tester and millet as the driver. A total of eleven, non-redundant, positive clones were isolated from the library. Their analysis revealed that they all represent dispersed repetitive DNA sequences. In addition, homology searches using the BLAST procedure showed that they correspond to seven distinct rice transposable elements. Three had been previously identified as gypsy-like retroelements ( Retrosat1, RIRE3 and RIRE8). The remaining four are novel: we named them hipa (a CACTA-like transposon), houba (a copia-like retroelement), hopi and dagul (two gypsy-like retroelements). The RDA clones were used as probes in Southern hybridization experiments with genomic DNAs of several species from the family Poaceae. The results suggest that the genomic differentiations associated with the activity of these transposable elements are of relatively recent origin. In addition, comparison of the hybridization patterns obtained for several Oryza species suggests that several independent amplifications of these transposable elements might have occurred within the genus.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2002 · Molecular Genetics and Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: The relatively recent origin of sex chromosomes in the plant genus Silene provides an opportunity to study the early stages of sex chromosome evolution and, potentially, to test between the different population genetic processes likely to operate in nonrecombining chromosomes such as Y chromosomes. We previously reported much lower nucleotide polymorphism in a Y-linked gene (SlY1) of the plant Silene latifolia than in the homologous X-linked gene (SlX1). Here, we report a more extensive study of nucleotide diversity in these sex-linked genes, including a larger S. latifolia sample and a sample from the closely related species Silene dioica, and we also study the diversity of an autosomal gene, CCLS37.1. We demonstrate that nucleotide diversity in the Y-linked genes of both S. latifolia and S. dioica is very low compared with that of the X-linked gene. However, the autosomal gene also has low DNA polymorphism, which may be due to a selective sweep. We use a single individual of the related hermaphrodite species Silene conica, as an outgroup to show that the low SlY1 diversity is not due to a lower mutation rate than that for the X-linked gene. We also investigate several other possibilities for the low SlY1 diversity, including differential gene flow between the two species for Y-linked, X-linked, and autosomal genes. The frequency spectrum of nucleotide polymorphism on the Y chromosome deviates significantly from that expected under a selective-sweep model. However, we detect population subdivision in both S. latifolia and S. dioica, so it is not simple to test for selective sweeps. We also discuss the possibility that Y-linked diversity is reduced due to highly variable male reproductive success, and we conclude that this explanation is unlikely.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2001 · Molecular Biology and Evolution

Publication Stats

826 Citations
72.33 Total Impact Points


  • 2012-2014
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
    • Université de Rennes 1
      Roazhon, Brittany, France
  • 2007
    • University of Georgia
      • Department of Genetics
      Athens, GA, United States
  • 2005-2007
    • Université Paris-Sud 11
      • Laboratoire d'Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution
      Orsay, Île-de-France, France