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Sibum Sung

Associate Professor
Molecular Biosciences


Phone: 512-232-0867

Office Location
NMS 5.110

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
2506 SPEEDWAY, Stop A5000
AUSTIN, TX 78712-1191

Seoul National University, Biology, BS (summa cum laude), 1996

Seoul National University, Biology, MS, 1998

University of Wisconsin in Madison, Biochemistry, PhD, 2004 

University of Wisconsin in Madison, Biochemistry, Postdoc, 2004 ~ 2007

Assistant Professor, UT-Austin, 2007 - 2013

Assosicate Professor, UT-Austin, 2013 ~ 


Research Summary:

Our research interests focus on the genetic, molecular and biochemical understandings of plant development through plant-environment interactions. We are particularly interested in the epigenetic regulation of the floral transition by environmental cues, such as temperature and photoperiod. The prolonged cold of winter, known as vernalization, is one such cue that certain plants use to acquire competence to flower the following spring. In Arabidopsis, vernalization results in the mitotically stable repression of the potent floral repressor, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). The molecular nature of this environmentally-induced epigenetic change has been a fascinating question in plant biology. We have shown that the series of Histone modifications are involved in the epigenetic repression of FLC by vernalization. Furthermore, the diversity of Histone modifications that are related with vernalization-mediated epigenetic changes suggests that FLC chromatin could be used for the model system to study Histone biology in plants. We would like to use this environmentally-induced epigenetic switch as a model system to study chromatin remodeling in eukaryotes.


Kim D. H., Xi Y., and Sung S, 2017, Modular function of long noncoding RNA, COLDAIR, in the vernalization response. PLoS Genet, 13(7):e1006939.

Kim ED, Y Xiong, Y. Pyo, DH Kim, BH Kang, S. Sung, 2017, Spatio-temporal analysis of coding and long noncoding transcripts during maize endosperm development, Scientific Rep., 19;7(1):3838.

Kim D. H. and Sung S, 2017, Vernalization-triggered intragenic chromatin-loop formation by long noncoding RNAs. Developmental Cell, (16) 30916-9.

Kim DH, Sung S., 2017, Accelerated vernalization response by an altered PHD-finger protein in Arabidopsis. Plant Signal Behav. 12(5):e1308619.

Kim D. H. and Sung S, 2017, The binding specificity of PHD-finger domain of VIN3 moderates vernalization response. Plant Physiology, 173(2):1258-1268.

Zhang F,  L. Wang, J.Y. Lim,  T Kim,  Y. Pyo, S. Sung, C. Shin, H. Qiao, 2016, Phosphorylation of CBP20 Links MicroRNA to Root Growth in the Ethylene Response. PLoS Genet 12(11):e1006437.

Sharma, N., R. Xin, D.-H. Kim, S. Sung, T Lange, and E. Huq, 2016, NO FLOWERING IN SHORT DAY (NFL) is a bHLH transcription factor that promotes flowering specifically under short-day in Arabidopsis, Development, 143(4):682-90.

Kim D. H.  and Sung S, 2014, Polycomb-Mediated Gene Silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana. Mol Cells., 31;37(12):841-850.

Xiong, Y., Mei W., Kim E. D. , Mukherjee K., Hassanein H., Barbazuk W., Sung S., Kolaczkowski B., B. H. Kang, 2014, Adaptive expansion of the maize, BMC Plant Biol., 14(1):204.

Pyo, Y., S. Park, Y. Xi and S. Sung, 2014, Regulation of Flowering by Vernalisation in Arabidopsis. Advances in Botanical Research 72:29-61.

Kim D. H. and Sung S, 2014, Vernalization. Temperature and Plant Development (edited by K. A. Frankin & OP. A. Wigge), 79-95.

Jones, A. L. and S. Sung, 2014, Mechanisms underlying epigenetic regulation in Arabidopsis thaliana, Integr Comp Biol., 54(1) 61-7.

Kim, D. H. and S. Sung, 2014, Genetic and Epigenetics Mechanisms Underlying Vernalization, The Arabidopsis Book, 12: e0171.

Heo, J. B. , Y. S. Lee and S. Sung, 2013, Epigenetic regulation by long noncoding RNAs in plants. Chromosome Res., 21:685-93.

Kim, D. H. and S. Sung, 2013, Coordination of the vernalization response through a VIN3 and FLC gene family regulatory network in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell, 25(2):454-69.

Hyun, Y., H. Yun, K. Park, H. Ohr, O. Lee, D. H. Kim, S. Sung and Y. Choi, 2013, Stable inheritance of epigenetic histone modifications requires INCURVATA2, the catalytic subunit of Arabidopsis DNA polymerase [alpha], Development, 140(1):156-66.

Zografos B. R. and S. Sung, 2012, Vernalization-mediated chromatin changes, J. Exp. Bot., 63:4343-8.

Heo J. B., S. Sung and S. Assmann, 2012, A Ca2+-dependent GTPase, EXTRA-LARGE G-PROTEIN2 (XLG2), promotes activation of the DNA binding-protein RELATED TO VERNALIZATION1 (RTV1), leading to activation of floral integrator genes and early flowering in Arabidopsis. J. Biol. Chem., 287:8242-8253.

Kim D. H. and S. Sung, 2012, Environmentally coordinated epigenetic silencing of FLC by protein and long noncoding RNA components, Curr. Op. in Plant Biol., 15(1):51-6.

Kim E. D. and S. Sung, 2012, Long noncoding RNA: Unveiling hidden layer of gene regulatory networks in plants, Trends in Plant Sci. , 17(1):16-21.

Heo J. B. and S. Sung, 2011, Encoding memory of winter by noncoding RNAs., Epigenetics, 5:544-7.

Heo J. B. and S. Sung, 2011, Vernalization-mediated epigenetic silencing by a long intronic noncoding RNA, Science, 331: 76-9.

Kim D. H. and S. Sung, 2010, Role of VIN3-LIKE 2 in facultative photoperiodic flowering response in Arabidopsis, Plant Sig. Behav., 26(5):1672-3.

Kim D. H. and S. Sung, 2010, The Plant Homeo Domain finger protein, VIN3-LIKE 2, is necessary for photoperiod-mediated epigenetic regulation of the floral repressor, MAF5, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 107(39): 17029-17034

Kim D. H., B.R. Zografos, and S. Sung, 2010, Mechanisms underlying vernalization-mediated VIN3 induction Plant Signal Behav., 26(5):1457-9.

Kim D. H., B.R. Zografos, and S. Sung, 2010, Vernalization-mediated VIN3 induction overcomes the LIKE-HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1/Polycomb Repression Complex 2 -mediated epigenetic repression. Plant Physiol., 154:949-957

Horvath D. P., S. Sung, D.-H. Kim, W. Chao, and J. V. Anderson, 2010, Characterization, expression and function of DORMANCY ASSOCIATED MADS-BOX genes from leafy spurge. Plant Mol. Bio., 73:169-79

Kim, D.-H., M. Doyle, S. Sung, and R. M. Amasino, 2009, VERNALIZATION: WINTER AND THE TIMING OF FLOWERING IN PLANTS. Annual Rev. Cell Dev. Biol., 25:277-299.

Schmitz R.*, S. Sung*, and R. M. Amasino, 2008, AtPRMT5-Mediated Symmetric Di-methylation of Arginine 3 of Histone 4 is Required for Maintenance of Vernalization-Induced Epigenetic Silencing of FLC in Winter-Annual Strains of Arabidopsis thaliana, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 105:411-6. (* denotes equal contribution)


Sung S., R. Schmitz and R. M. Amasino, 2007,  The Role of VIN3-LIKE Genes in Environmentally Induced Epigenetic Regulation of Flowering, Plant Signal Behav. 2(2):127-8.

Sung S., R. Schmitz and R. M. Amasino, 2006, A PHD finger protein involved in both the vernalization and photoperiod pathways in Arabidopsis., Genes Dev., 20:3244-8.

Sung S., and R. M. Amasino, 2006, Molecular genetic studies of the memory of winter, J. Exp. Bot., 57:3369-77.  

Sung S., Y. He, T. W. Eshoo, Y. Tamada, L. Johnson, K. Nakahigashi, K. Goto, S. E. Jacobsen and R. M. Amasino, 2006, Epigenetic maintenance of the vernalized state in Arabidopsis thaliana requires LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1, Nature Genet. 38:706-10

Sung, S. and R. M. Amasino, 2005, To remember winter: Towards a molecular understanding of vernalization, Annual Rev. Plant. Biol., 56:491-508.

Sung, S. and R. M. Amasino, 2004, Vernalization in Arabidopsis thaliana is mediated by the PHD finger protein VIN3, Nature 427:159-164.

Sung, S. and R. M. Amasino, 2004, Vernalization and epigenetics: how plants remember winter, Curr. Op. in Plant Biol. 7:4-10.

Hall, A., R.M. Bastow, S. J. Davis, S Hanano, H. G. McWatters, V. Hibberd, M. R. Doyle, S. Sung, K. J. Halliday, R. M. Amasino and A. J. Millar, 2003, The TIME FOR COFFEE gene maintains the amplitude and timing of Arabidopsis circadian clocks, Plant Cell 15:2719-2729.

Schranz, M. E., P Quijada, S.-B. Sung, L. Lukens, R Amasino and T.C. Osborn, 2002, Characterization and effects of the replicated flowering time gene FLC in Brassica rapa, Genetics 162:1457-1468.

Doyle, M., S.-B. Sung and R Amasino, 2001, Plant Reproduction (edited by S. D. O'Neill and J. A. Roberts)-The genetic control of flowering time, Annual Plant Reviews 6:33-60

Lee, H., S. B. Sung, H. B. Kim and C. S. An, 2001, Sequence analysis and expression patterns of two nifA genes from EuIK1, Aust. J. Plant Physiol., 28:939-949.

Yoo, W.Y., S.B. Sung and C. S. An, 1999, Nucleotude sequences of the 2-oxoacid ferredoxin oxidoreductase and ferredoxin genes from Frankia strain EuIK1, a symbiont of Elaegnus umbellate root nodules, Can. J. Bot. 77:1279-1286.