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Active DNA Demethylation in Plants

Sciprofile linkJara Teresa Parrilla-Doblas, Jara Teresa Parrilla-Doblas, Sciprofile linkTeresa Roldán-Arjona, Teresa Roldán-Arjona, Sciprofile linkRafael R. Ariza, Rafael R. Ariza, Sciprofile linkDolores Córdoba-Cañero Dolores Córdoba-Cañero
Published: 21 September 2019
 by  MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences , Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194683

Abstract: Methylation of cytosine (5-meC) is a critical epigenetic modification in many eukaryotes, and genomic DNA methylation landscapes are dynamically regulated by opposed methylation and demethylation processes. Plants are unique in possessing a mechanism for active DNA demethylation involving DNA glycosylases that excise 5-meC and initiate its replacement with unmodified C through a base excision repair (BER) pathway. Plant BER-mediated DNA demethylation is a complex process involving numerous proteins, as well as additional regulatory factors that avoid accumulation of potentially harmful intermediates and coordinate demethylation and methylation to maintain balanced yet flexible DNA methylation patterns. Active DNA demethylation counteracts excessive methylation at transposable elements (TEs), mainly in euchromatic regions, and one of its major functions is to avoid methylation spreading to nearby genes. It is also involved in transcriptional activation of TEs and TE-derived sequences in companion cells of male and female gametophytes, which reinforces transposon silencing in gametes and also contributes to gene imprinting in the endosperm. Plant 5-meC DNA glycosylases are additionally involved in many other physiological processes, including seed development and germination, fruit ripening, and plant responses to a variety of biotic and abiotic environmental stimuli.
Keywords: epigenetics / DNA methylation / abiotic stress / DNA repair / biotic stress / transposons / 5-Methylcytosine / BASE EXCISION / DNA glycosylases / Gene Imprinting

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