Research Topic

New Insights into Mechanisms of Epigenetic Modifiers in Plant Growth and Development

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In eukaryotic cells DNA is not naked, but by interacting with proteins it forms chromatin, a highly dynamic structure. The basal unit of chromatin is the nucleosome, a 146 bp-long DNA fragment wrapped around an octamer of histone proteins. The conformational state of chromatin, and thus its activity, is ...

In eukaryotic cells DNA is not naked, but by interacting with proteins it forms chromatin, a highly dynamic structure. The basal unit of chromatin is the nucleosome, a 146 bp-long DNA fragment wrapped around an octamer of histone proteins. The conformational state of chromatin, and thus its activity, is determined by epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modification and chromatin remodeling.

Plant genomic DNA can be methylated at cytosines in three sequence contexts: symmetrical CG or CHG, or nonsymmetrical CHH context, where H is any nucleotide except G. Cytosine methylation is maintained by a variety of methyltransferases (MTases). Histone modifications, which include acetylation, phosphorylation, methylation, ubiquitylation, malonylation, crotonylation, and propionylation, depend on a range of enzymes, including histone deacetylases (HDACs), histone acetyltransferases (HATs), histone demethylases (HDMs) and histone methyltransferase (HMTs) etc. Additional chromatin modifications include ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling, nucleosome assembly/disassembly, histone variant incorporation, as well as siRNA.

An growing body of evidences suggests that epigenetic regulations are involved in various developmental processes and aspects of plant growth, including flowering control, fruit and root development, seed maturation and germination. Also, epigenetic mechanisms have the potential to stabilize cell identity and maintain tissue organization. Moreover, epigenetic diversity is now emerging as a new source of phenotypic variation to improve adaptation to changing environment and ensure yield and quality of crops.

The aim of this Research Topic is to explore the recent advances concerning the role of epigenetic regulation in plant development. The focus will be on, but not limited to, the following topics:
• Coordination of epigenetic modifiers and transcription factors
• Post-transcriptional modification of epigenetic modifiers
• Cell or tissue specific epigenetic related protein complexes
• RNA processing and epigenetic modifiers


Keywords: Epigenetic Regulation, Plant Development, Histone Modification, Chromatin Modification, DNA Methylation, Small RNAs


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