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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 9;105(36):13679-84. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0805901105. Epub 2008 Sep 2.

Rice jmjC domain-containing gene JMJ706 encodes H3K9 demethylase required for floral organ development.

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  • 1National Key Laboratory for Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, 430070 Wuhan, China.


Histone lysine methylation is an important epigenetic modification with both activating and repressive roles in gene expression. Jumonji C (jmjC) domain-containing proteins have been shown to reverse histone methylation in nonplant model systems. Here, we show that plant Jumonji C proteins have both conserved and specific features compared with mammalian homologues. In particular, the rice JMJD2 family jmjC gene JMJ706 is shown to encode a heterochromatin-enriched protein. The JMJ706 protein specifically reverses di- and trimethylations of lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3K9) in vitro. Loss-of-function mutations of the gene lead to increased di- and trimethylations of H3K9 and affect the spikelet development, including altered floral morphology and organ number. Gene expression and histone modification analysis indicates that JMJ706 regulates a subset of flower development regulatory genes. Taken together, our data suggest that rice JMJ706 encodes a heterochromatin-associated H3K9 demethylase involved in the regulation of flower development in rice.

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