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Type: Journal article
Title: Pre-conditioning the epigenetic response to high vapor pressure deficit increases the drought tolerance of Arabidopsis thaliana
Author: Tricker, P.
López, C.R.
Hadley, P.
Wagstaff, C.
Wilkinson, M.
Citation: Plant Signaling and Behavior, 2013; 8(10):e25974-1-e25974-3
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 1559-2316
Abstract: Epigenetic modification of the genome via cytosine methylation is a dynamic process that responds to changes in the growing environment. This modification can also be heritable. The combination of both properties means that there is the potential for the life experiences of the parental generation to modify the methylation profiles of their offspring and so potentially to "pre-condition" them to better accommodate abiotic conditions encountered by their parents. We recently identified high vapor pressure deficit (vpd)-induced DNA methylation at 2 gene loci in the stomatal development pathway and an associated reduction in leaf stomatal frequency. (1) Here, we test whether this epigenetic modification pre-conditioned parents and their offspring to the more severe water stress of periodic drought. We found that 3 generations of high vpd-grown plants were better able to withstand periodic drought stress over 2 generations. This resistance was not directly associated with de novo methylation of the target stomata genes, but was associated with the cmt3 mutant's inability to maintain asymmetric sequence context methylation. If our finding applies widely, it could have significant implications for evolutionary biology and breeding for stressful environments.
Keywords: Arabidopsis
Plant Leaves
DNA Methylation
Epigenesis, Genetic
Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
Vapor Pressure
DOI: 10.4161/psb.25974
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics publications

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