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Plant Cell. 2006 Jan;18(1):119-32. Epub 2005 Dec 2.

Ordered histone modifications are associated with transcriptional poising and activation of the phaseolin promoter.

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Institute of Developmental and Molecular Biology and Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, 77843-3155, USA.


The phaseolin (phas) promoter drives copious production of transcripts encoding the protein phaseolin during seed embryogenesis but is silent in vegetative tissues, in which a nucleosome is positioned over its three-phased TATA boxes. Transition from the inactive state in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana leaves was accomplished by ectopic expression of the transcription factor Phaseolus vulgaris ABI3-like factor (ALF) and application of abscisic acid (ABA). Placement of hemagglutinin-tagged ALF expression under the control of an estradiol-inducible promoter permitted chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis of chronological changes in histone modifications, notably increased acetylation of H3-K9 and H4-K12, as phas chromatin was remodeled (potentiated). A different array of changes, including acetylation of H3-K14 and methylation of H3-K4, was found to be associated with ABA-mediated activation. Thus, temporal separation of phas potentiation from activation revealed that histone H3 and H4 Lys residues are not globally hyperacetylated during phas expression. Whereas decreases in histone H3 and H4 levels were detected during ALF-mediated remodeling, slight increases occurred after ABA-mediated activation, suggesting the restoration of histone-phas interactions or the replacement of histones in the phas chromatin. The observed histone modifications provide insight into factors involved in the euchromatinization and activation of a plant gene and expand the evidence for histone code conservation among eukaryotes.

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