Aging Biology Group – Epigenomics Lab


Prof. Woo, Hye Ryun

Associate Professor


Phone: +82-53-785-1870


Aging Biology Group – Epigenomics Lab Homepage




Senescence in plants is defined as the age-dependent programmed degradation and degeneration process of cells, organs or the entire organism, leading to death. Leaf senescence partly involves the process of ‘wear and tear’ during aging, but mostly is a tightly regulated process with a crucial biological purpose. Senescence and death in leaves are active developmental strategies that crucially contribute to the fitness and survival of a plant.

woo2woo3<Whole-plant senescence and leaf senescence in Arabidopsis>

In eukaryotes, the remodeling of the chromatin structure regulates the accessibility of the transcriptional machinery to DNA and so controls gene expression. Chromatin structure is modified by the binding of histones to DNA and histone posttranslational modifications, including acetylation, methylation and phosphorylation, as well as by DNA methylation, which affects the ability of proteins to bind to the chromatin.
Epigenetic gene regulation is essential for many biological processes including plant development, flowering time, and stress responses. Senescence in plants, the last step of development, is crucial for the fitness of plants and is thought to be an evolutionarily acquired genetic process. Despite the scientific and agronomic importance of plant senescence, knowledge of the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms of plant senescence are still fragmentary.

Research Summary

Our objective is to understand the mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation on plant lifespan through molecular genetics, genomics, and systems biology approaches.

To pursue the objective, we carry out the following research projects.

1. Investigate the roles of DNA methylation and histone modification on gene regulation along leaf lifespan
2. Investigate the roles of small and long non-coding RNAs in regulating leaf lifespan
3. Establish experimental systems to examine spatial and temporal dynamics of chromatin-based regulation in plants


Selected Publications

  • Suyeong Jeong, Jun-Young Kim, Hyunmo Choi, Hyunmin Kim, Ilhwan Lee, Moon-Soo Soh, Hong Gil Nam, Young-Tae Chang*, Pyung Ok Lim*, Hye Ryun Woo*. (*Corresponding authors) Rootin, a compound that inhibits root development through modulating PIN-mediated auxin distribution (Accepted) Plant Science.
  • Jeongsik Kim, Jin Hee Kim, Eric J. Richards, Kyung Min Chung*, and Hye Ryun Woo*. (*Corresponding authors) Arabidopsis VIM proteins regulate epigenetic silencing by modulating DNA methylation and histone modification in cooperation with MET1 (2014). Mol Plant 7, 1470-1485.
  • Hyo Jung Kim, Sung Hyun Hong, You Wang Kim, Il Hwan Lee, Ji Hyung Jun, Bong-Kwan Phee, Timilsina Rupak, Hana Jeong, Yeonmi Lee, Byoung Seok Hong, Hong Gil Nam*, Hye Ryun Woo*, and Pyung Ok Lim*. (*Corresponding authors) Gene regulatory cascade of senescence-associated NAC transcription factors activated by ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE2-mediated leaf senescence signalling in Arabidopsis (2014). J Exp Bot 65(14), 4023-4036.
  • Hyunmo Choi, Suyeong Jeong, Dong Su Kim, Hyung Jin Na, Jong Sang Ryu, Seung Sik Lee, Hong Gil Nam, Pyung Ok Lim*, and Hye Ryun Woo*. (*Corresponding authors) The homeodomain-leucine zipper ATHB23, a phytochrome B-interacting protein, is important for phytochrome B-mediated red light signaling (2014). Physiol Plant 150(2), 308-320.
  • Hye Ryun Woo, Hyo Jung Kim, Hong Gil Nam, and Pyung Ok Lim. Plant leaf senescence and death – regulation by multiple layers of control and implications for aging in general (2013). J Cell Sci 126(Pt 21),4823-4833.