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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(4), 6674-6689; doi:10.3390/ijms14046674
Article

Transgenerational, Dynamic Methylation of Stomata Genes in Response to Low Relative Humidity

1,†
, 2,‡
, 1
, 1
 and 2,‡,*
1 School of Biological Sciences, Philip Lyle Building, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6BX, UK 2 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Edward Llywd Building, University of Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DA, UK Current Affiliation: Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, Plant Genomics Centre, University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, PMB1 Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia Current Affiliation: Plant Research Centre, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Faculty of Sciences, University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, PMB1 Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 January 2013 / Revised: 9 March 2013 / Accepted: 18 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic and Biotic Stress Tolerance Mechanisms in Plants)
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Abstract

Transgenerational inheritance of abiotic stress-induced epigenetic modifications in plants has potential adaptive significance and might condition the offspring to improve the response to the same stress, but this is at least partly dependent on the potency, penetrance and persistence of the transmitted epigenetic marks. We examined transgenerational inheritance of low Relative Humidity-induced DNA methylation for two gene loci in the stomatal developmental pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana and the abundance of associated short-interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Heritability of low humidity-induced methylation was more predictable and penetrative at one locus (SPEECHLESS, entropy ≤ 0.02; χ2 < 0.001) than the other (FAMA, entropy ≤ 0.17; χ2 ns). Methylation at SPEECHLESS correlated positively with the continued presence of local siRNAs (r2 = 0.87; p = 0.013) which, however, could be disrupted globally in the progeny under repeated stress. Transgenerational methylation and a parental low humidity-induced stomatal phenotype were heritable, but this was reversed in the progeny under repeated treatment in a previously unsuspected manner.
Keywords: environmental epigenetics; transgenerational methylation; water stress; siRNAs; stomata; SPEECHLESS; FAMA environmental epigenetics; transgenerational methylation; water stress; siRNAs; stomata; SPEECHLESS; FAMA
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Tricker, P.J.; López, C.M.R.; Gibbings, G.; Hadley, P.; Wilkinson, M.J. Transgenerational, Dynamic Methylation of Stomata Genes in Response to Low Relative Humidity. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 6674-6689.

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