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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20587. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020587. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

Changes in global gene expression in response to chemical and genetic perturbation of chromatin structure.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.


DNA methylation is important for controlling gene expression in all eukaryotes. Microarray analysis of mutant and chemically-treated Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings with reduced DNA methylation revealed an altered gene expression profile after treatment with the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2' deoxycytidine (5-AC), which included the upregulation of expression of many transposable elements. DNA damage-response genes were also coordinately upregulated by 5-AC treatment. In the ddm1 mutant, more specific changes in gene expression were observed, in particular for genes predicted to encode transposable elements in centromeric and pericentromeric locations. These results confirm that DDM1 has a very specific role in maintaining transcriptional silence of transposable elements, while chemical inhibitors of DNA methylation can affect gene expression at a global level.

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