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Sexual lineage specific DNA methylation regulates Arabidopsis meiosis

By James Walker, Hongbo Gao, Jingyi Zhang, Billy Aldridge, Martin Vickers, James D Higgins, Xiaoqi Feng

Posted 11 Oct 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/201798 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41588-017-0008-5)

DNA methylation controls eukaryotic gene expression and is extensively reprogrammed to regulate animal development. However, whether developmental methylation reprogramming during the sporophytic life cycle of flowering plants regulates genes is presently unknown. Here we report a distinctive, gene-targeted RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) activity in the Arabidopsis thaliana male sexual lineage that regulates gene expression in meiocytes. Loss of sexual lineage-specific RdDM causes mis-splicing of the MPS1/PRD2 gene, thereby disrupting meiosis. Our results establish a regulatory paradigm in which de novo methylation creates a cell-lineage-specific epigenetic signature that controls gene expression and contributes to cellular function in flowering plants.

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