Current models for regulation of parent-specific gene expression in plants have been based on a small number of imprinted genes in Arabidopsis. These present repression as the default state, with expression requiring targeted activation. In general, repression is associated with maintenance methylation of cytosines, while no role has been found in Arabidopsis imprinting for de novo methylation-unlike the case in mammals. A recent paper((1)) both reinforces and challenges the model drawn from Arabidopsis. Methylation patterns of two imprinted loci in maize were tracked from gametes to offspring, enabling an exploration of the timing of imprinting. For one gene, field the results were as expected: parent-specific methylation patterns were inherited from the three types of gamete: egg, central cell and sperm. The behaviour of fie2, however, was a surprise: no alleles were methylated in the gametes, although paternally contributed fie2 is methylated and silent in the endow sperm, indicating that, in some cases, plant imprinting requires do novo DNA methylation. This work significantly broadens our understanding of plant imprinting and points to a greater diversity in imprinting mechanisms than has previously been appreciated.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|