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Epigenetics Regulates Reproductive Development in Plants

Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA
Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Midwest Area, Plant Genetics Research Unit, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, MO 63132, USA
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Plants 2019, 8(12), 564;
Received: 26 October 2019 / Revised: 23 November 2019 / Accepted: 27 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
Seed, resulting from reproductive development, is the main nutrient source for human beings, and reproduction has been intensively studied through genetic, molecular, and epigenetic approaches. However, how different epigenetic pathways crosstalk and integrate to regulate seed development remains unknown. Here, we review the recent progress of epigenetic changes that affect chromatin structure, such as DNA methylation, polycomb group proteins, histone modifications, and small RNA pathways in regulating plant reproduction. In gametogenesis of flowering plants, epigenetics is dynamic between the companion cell and gametes. Cytosine DNA methylation occurs in CG, CHG, CHH contexts (H = A, C, or T) of genes and transposable elements, and undergoes dynamic changes during reproduction. Cytosine methylation in the CHH context increases significantly during embryogenesis, reaches the highest levels in mature embryos, and decreases as the seed germinates. Polycomb group proteins are important transcriptional regulators during seed development. Histone modifications and small RNA pathways add another layer of complexity in regulating seed development. In summary, multiple epigenetic pathways are pivotal in regulating seed development. It remains to be elucidated how these epigenetic pathways interplay to affect dynamic chromatin structure and control reproduction. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA methylation; dynamics; Polycomb group proteins; histone modifications; epigenetics; chromatin; siRNA; RdDM; gametogenesis; seed development DNA methylation; dynamics; Polycomb group proteins; histone modifications; epigenetics; chromatin; siRNA; RdDM; gametogenesis; seed development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Han, Q.; Bartels, A.; Cheng, X.; Meyer, A.; An, Y.-Q.C.; Hsieh, T.-F.; Xiao, W. Epigenetics Regulates Reproductive Development in Plants. Plants 2019, 8, 564.

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