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Plant J. 2007 Jun;50(5):848-57. Epub 2007 Apr 23.

Light-regulated large-scale reorganization of chromatin during the floral transition in Arabidopsis.

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Nuclear Organization Group, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, BioCentrum Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 318, 1098 SM, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The floral transition marks the switch from vegetative to reproductive growth, and is controlled by different pathways responsive to endogenous and exogenous cues. The developmental switch is accompanied by local changes in chromatin such as histone modifications. In this study we demonstrate large-scale reorganization of chromatin in rosette leaves during the floral transition. An extensive reduction in chromocenters prior to bolting is followed by a recovery of the heterochromatin domains after elongation of the floral stem. The transient reduction in chromocenters is a result of relocation away from chromocenters of methylated DNA sequences, 5S rDNA and interspersed pericentromeric repeats, but not of 45S rDNA or the 180-bp centromere tandem repeats. Moreover, fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis revealed decondensation of chromatin in gene-rich regions. A mutant analysis indicated that the blue-light photoreceptor CRYPTOCHROME 2 is involved in triggering chromatin decondensation, suggesting a light-signaling pathway towards large-scale chromatin modulation.

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