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DNA methylation and epigenetic inheritance during plant gametogenesis

Authors
  • Takeda, Shin1
  • Paszkowski, Jerzy1
  • 1 University of Geneva, Science III, Laboratory of Plant Genetics, 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, Geneva 4, 1211, Switzerland , Geneva 4
Type
Published Article
Journal
Chromosoma
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Oct 26, 2005
Volume
115
Issue
1
Pages
27–35
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00412-005-0031-7
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

In plants, newly acquired epigenetic states of transcriptional gene activity are readily transmitted to the progeny. This is in contrast to mammals, where only rare cases of transgenerational inheritance of new epigenetic traits have been reported (FASEB J 12:949–957, 1998; Nat Genet 23:314–318, 1999; Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100:2538–2543, 2003). Epigenetic inheritance in plants seems to rely on cytosine methylation maintained through meiosis and postmeiotic mitoses, giving rise to gametophytes. In particular, maintenance of CpG methylation (mCpG) appears to play a central role, guiding the distribution of other epigenetic signals such as histone H3 methylation and non-CpG DNA methylation. The evolutionarily conserved DNA methyltransferase MET1 is responsible for copying mCpG patterns through DNA replication in the gametophytic phase. The importance of gametophytic MET1 activity is illustrated by the phenotypes of met1 mutants that are severely compromised in the accuracy of epigenetic inheritance during gametogenesis. This includes elimination of imprinting at paternally silent loci such as FWA or MEDEA (MEA). The importance of DNA methylation in gametophytic imprinting has been reinforced by the discovery of DEMETER (DME), encoding putative DNA glycosylase involved in the removal of mC. DME opposes transcriptional silencing associated with imprinting activities of the MEA/FIE polycomb group complex.

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