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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Transgenerational phenotype aggravation in CAF-1 mutants reveals parent-of-origin specific epigenetic inheritance

Mozgova, Iva; Wildhaber, Thomas; Trejo-Arellano, Minerva S.; Fajkus, Jiri; Roszak, Pawel; Koehler, Claudia; Hennig, Lars


Chromatin is assembled by histone chaperones such as chromatin assembly factor CAF-1. We had noticed that vigor of Arabidopsis thaliana CAF-1 mutants decreased over several generations. Because changes in mutant phenotype severity over generations are unusual, we asked how repeated selfing of Arabidopsis CAF-1 mutants affects phenotype severity.CAF-1 mutant plants of various generations were grown, and developmental phenotypes, transcriptomes and DNA cytosine-methylation profiles were compared quantitatively.Shoot- and root-related growth phenotypes were progressively more affected in successive generations of CAF-1 mutants. Early and late generations of the fasciata (fas)2-4 CAF-1 mutant displayed only limited changes in gene expression, of which increasing upregulation of plant defense-related genes reflects the transgenerational phenotype aggravation. Likewise, global DNA methylation in the sequence context CHG but not CG or CHH (where H = A, T or C) changed over generations in fas2-4. Crossing early and late generation fas2-4 plants established that the maternal contribution to the phenotype severity exceeds the paternal contribution.Together, epigenetic rather than genetic mechanisms underlie the progressive developmental phenotype aggravation in the Arabidopsis CAF-1 mutants and preferred maternal transmission reveals a more efficient reprogramming of epigenetic information in the male than the female germline.


Arabidopsis thaliana; CAF-1; Chromatin; Development; DNA methylation; epigenetics; histone

Published in

New Phytologist
2018, Volume: 220, number: 3, pages: 908-921
Publisher: WILEY