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Imprinting in Plants and Its Underlying Mechanisms

Hongyu Zhang  Abed Chaudhury  Xianjun Wu  
【摘要】:正Genomic imprinting(or imprinting) refers to an epigenetic phenomenon by which the allelic expression of a gene depends on the parent of origin.It has evolved independently in placental mammals and flowering plants.In plants,imprinting is mainly found in endosperm. Recent genome-wide surveys in Arabidopsis,rice,and maize identified hundreds of imprinted genes in endosperm.Since these genes are of diverse functions,endosperm development is regulated at different regulatory levels.The imprinted expression of only a few genes is conserved between Arabidopsis and monocots,suggesting that imprinting evolved quickly during speciation.In Arabidopsis,DEMETER (DME) mediates hypomethylation in the maternal genome at numerous loci(mainly transposons and repeats) in the central cell and results in many differentially methylated regions between parental genomes in the endosperm,and subsequent imprinted expression of some genes.In addition,histone modification mediated by Polycomb group(PcG) proteins is also involved in regulating imprinting.DME-induced hypomethylated alleles in the central cell are considered to produce small interfering RNAs(siRNAs) which are imported to the egg to reinforce DNA methylation.In parallel,the activity of DME in the vegetative cell of the male gametophyte demethylates many regions which overlap with the demethylated regions in the central cell.siRNAs from the demethylated regions are hypothesized to be also transferred into sperm to reinforce DNA methylation.Imprinting is partly the result of genome-wide epigenetic reprogramming in the central cell and vegetative cell and evolved under different selective pressures.

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