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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Epigenetic mechanisms underlying genomic imprinting in plants

Köhler C, Wolff P, Spillane C


Genomicimprinting, the differential expression of an autosomal gene that is dependent on its parent of origin, has independently evolvedinfloweringplantsand mammals.Inboth of these organism classes,imprintingoccursinembryo-nourishing tissues-the placenta and the endosperm, respectively. It has been proposed that some imprinted genes control nutrient flow from the mother to the offspring. Genome-wide analyses of imprinted genesinplantshave revealed that many imprinted genes are locatedinthe vicinity of transposon or repeat sequences, implying that transposon insertions are associated with the evolution of imprinted loci. Imprinted expression of a number of genes is conserved between monocots and dicots, suggesting that long-term selection can maintain imprinted expression at some loci.Interms ofepigeneticmechanisms, imprinted expression is largely controlled by an antagonistic action of DNA methylation and Polycomb group-mediated histone methylationinthe vicinity of imprinted genes, whereby the position of suchepigeneticmodifications can determine whether a gene will be expressed mainly from either the maternally or paternally inherited alleles.

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Annual Review of Plant Biology
2012, Volume: 63, pages: 331-352

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