Germline Reprogramming of Heterochromatin in Plants

Creasey, K. M., Martienssen, R. A. (2011) Germline Reprogramming of Heterochromatin in Plants. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 75. pp. 269-274. ISSN 00917451 (ISSN)

DOI: 10.1101/sqb.2010.75.064


Heterochromatin is composed of transposable elements (TEs) and other repeats and was once considered to be a wasteland of redundant genetic material and potentially harmful TE. Therefore, the reprogramming of heterochromatin and subsequent reactivation of TE in the immature seed and pollen is paradoxical in plants. Recent studies have shown that reactivation of TE occurs specifically in germline companion cells, the vegetative nucleus (VN) in pollen (Slotkin et al. 2009) and the endosperm in seed (Gehring et al. 2009). In the ovule, ARGONAUTE 9 (AGO9) not only has a role in silencing TE in the egg cell but also in preventing the formation of multiple asexual gametophytes (Olmedo-Monfil et al. 2010). We propose that reprogramming of heterochromatin in germline companion cells reveals TE in a controlled manner to expose them within the germline and, by the production of small interfering RNA (siRNA), ensures TE silencing in the next generation. We also propose that the mechanisms evolved to silence TE may actually promote sexual reproduction by inhibiting the formation of asexual gametes.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > analysis and processing > DNA RNA Processing
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > DNA, RNA structure, function, modification > DNA expression
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > protein structure, function, modification > protein types > argonaute proteins
organism description > plant
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL Post Doctoral Fellows
CSHL labs > Martienssen lab
Depositing User: Tom Adams
Date: 2011
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2011 14:46
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 19:28
PMCID: PMC5600473
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