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Drought-induced site-specific DNA methylation and its association with drought tolerance in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Authors
Journal
Journal of Experimental Botany
0022-0957
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Volume
62
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erq391
Keywords
  • Research Papers
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

An indica pyramiding line, DK151, and its recurrent parent, IR64, were evaluated under drought stress and non-stress conditions for three consecutive seasons. DK151 showed significantly improved tolerance to drought. The DNA methylation changes in DK151 and IR64 under drought stress and subsequent recovery were assessed using methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism analysis. Our results indicate that drought-induced genome-wide DNA methylation changes accounted for ∼12.1% of the total site-specific methylation differences in the rice genome. This drought-induced DNA methylation pattern showed three interesting properties. The most important one was its genotypic specificity reflected by large differences in the detected DNA methylation/demethylation sites between DK151 and IR64, which result from introgressed genomic fragments in DK151. Second, most drought-induced methylation/demethylation sites were of two major types distinguished by their reversibility, including 70% of the sites at which drought-induced epigenetic changes were reversed to their original status after recovery, and 29% of sites at which the drought-induced DNA demethylation/methylation changes remain even after recovery. Third, the drought-induced DNA methylation alteration showed a significant level of developmental and tissue specificity. Together, these properties are expected to have contributed greatly to rice response and adaptation to drought stress. Thus, induced epigenetic changes in rice genome can be considered as a very important regulatory mechanism for rice plants to adapt to drought and possibly other environmental stresses.

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