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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Combinations of maternal-specific repressive epigenetic marks in the endosperm control seed dormancy

Sato, Hikaru; Santos-Gonzalez, Juan; Koehler, Claudia

Abstract

Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2)-mediated trimethylation of histone H3 on lysine 27 (H3K27me3) and methylation of histone 3 on lysine 9 (H3K9me) are two repressive epigenetic modifications that are typically localized in distinct regions of the genome. For reasons unknown, however, they co-occur in some organisms and special tissue types. In this study, we show that maternal alleles marked by H3K27me3 in the Arabidopsis endosperm were targeted by the H3K27me3 demethylase REF6 and became activated during germination. In contrast, maternal alleles marked by H3K27me3, H3K9me2, and CHG methylation (CHGm) are likely to be protected from REF6 targeting and remained silenced. Our study unveils that combinations of different repressive epigenetic modifications time a key adaptive trait by modulating access of REF6.

Published in

eLife
2021, Volume: 10, article number: e64593Publisher: ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD