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Trends Genet. 2004 Jun;20(6):244-51.

DNA and histone methylation in plants.

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Center for Molecular Biology Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 282, D-69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Trends Genet. 2005 Jan;21(1):36.


Heritable patterns of gene activity and gene silencing arise by the formation and the propagation of specific chromatin states that restrict or permit gene expression. In mammals and in plants, restrictive heterochromatin is associated with the hypermethylation of DNA at CG sites and with the specific modification of histones, such as the methylation of histone H3 at lysine 9 (H3K9(Me)). In addition to CG methylation, plant nuclear DNA packaged in restrictive chromatin is also usually methylated in cytosines outside a CG sequence context. The functional relationship between an unexpectedly complex plant DNA-methylation system and histone modifications that lead to chromatin compaction and gene silencing is under intense scrutiny. The results of recent studies indicate intriguing links between chromatin remodeling, histone methylation, DNA methylation and RNA interference.

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