Genomic imprinting in plants.

Genetics and Biotechnology Lab, Department of Biochemestry, Lee Maltings, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society (Impact Factor: 5.11). 3(1):14-20.
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) is the major small RNA-mediated epigenetic pathway in plants. RdDM requires a specialized transcriptional machinery that comprises two plant-specific RNA polymerases - Pol IV and Pol V - and a growing number of accessory proteins, the functions of which in the RdDM mechanism are only partially understood. Recent work has revealed variations in the canonical RdDM pathway and identified factors that recruit Pol IV and Pol V to specific target sequences. RdDM, which transcriptionally represses a subset of transposons and genes, is implicated in pathogen defence, stress responses and reproduction, as well as in interallelic and intercellular communication.
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    ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of genomic imprinting, whereby a subset of mammalian genes display parent-of-origin-specific monoallelic expression, is one of the most active areas of epigenetics research. Over the past two decades, more than 100 imprinted mammalian genes have been identified, while considerable advances have been made in elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing imprinting. These studies have helped to unravel the epigenome – a separate layer of regulatory information contained in eukaryotic chromosomes that influences gene expression and phenotypes without involving changes to the underlying DNA sequence. Although most studies of genomic imprinting in mammals have focussed on mouse models or human biomedical disorders, there is burgeoning interest in the phenotypic effects of imprinted genes in domestic livestock species. In particular, research has focused on imprinted genes influencing foetal growth and development, which are associated with economically important production traits in cattle, sheep and pigs. These findings, when coupled with the data emerging from the various different livestock genome projects, have major implications for the future of animal breeding, health and management. Here, we review current scientific knowledge regarding genomic imprinting in livestock species and evaluate how this information can be used in modern livestock improvement programmes.
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    ABSTRACT: Genomic imprinting, an epigenetic process in mammals and flowering plants, refers to the differential expression of alleles of the same genes in a parent-of-origin-specific manner. In Arabidopsis, imprinting occurs primarily in the endosperm, which nourishes the developing embryo. Recent high-throughput sequencing analyses revealed that more than 200 loci are imprinted in Arabidopsis; however, only a few of these imprinted genes and their imprinting mechanisms have been examined in detail. Whereas most imprinted loci characterized to date are maternally expressed imprinted genes (MEGs), PHERES1 (PHE1) and ADMETOS (ADM) are paternally expressed imprinted genes (PEGs). Here, we report that UPWARD CURLY LEAF1 (UCL1), a gene encoding an E3 ligase that degrades the CURLY LEAF (CLF) polycomb protein, is a PEG. After fertilization, paternally inherited UCL1 is expressed in the endosperm, but not in the embryo. The expression pattern of a β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene driven by the UCL1 promoter suggests that the imprinting control region (ICR) of UCL1 is adjacent to a transposable element in the UCL1 5'-upstream region. Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) silences the maternal UCL1 allele in the central cell prior to fertilization and in the endosperm after fertilization. The UCL1 imprinting pattern was not affected in paternal PRC2 mutants. We found unexpectedly that the maternal UCL1 allele is reactivated in the endosperm of Arabidopsis lines with mutations in cytosine DNA METHYLTRANSFERASE 1 (MET1) or the DNA glycosylase DEMETER (DME), which antagonistically regulate CpG methylation of DNA. By contrast, maternal UCL1 silencing was not altered in mutants with defects in non-CpG methylation. Thus, silencing of the maternal UCL1 allele is regulated by both MET1 and DME as well as by PRC2, suggesting that divergent mechanisms for the regulation of PEGs evolved in Arabidopsis.
    PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0117431. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117431 · 3.53 Impact Factor