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Physiol Plant. 2014 Jan;150(1):119-32. doi: 10.1111/ppl.12071. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Functional characterization of Nicotiana benthamiana chromomethylase 3 in developmental programs by virus-induced gene silencing.

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Department of Biology, National Chunghua University of Education, No.1, Jin-De Road, 500, Changhua, Taiwan.


DNA methylation is essential for normal developmental processes and genome stability. DNA methyltransferases are key enzymes catalyzing DNA methylation. Chromomethylase (CMT) genes are specific to the plant kingdom and encode chromodomain-containing methyltransferases. However, the function of CMT genes in plants remains elusive. In this study, we isolated and characterized a CMT gene from Nicotiana benthamiana, designated NbCMT3. Alignment of the NbCMT3 amino acid sequence with other plant CMT3s showed conservation of bromo-adjacent-homology and methyltransferase catalytic domains. We investigated the expression patterns of NbCMT3 and its function in developmental programs. NbCMT3 was expressed predominately in proliferating tissues such as apical shoots and young leaves. NbCMT3 protein showed a nuclear location, which could be related to its putative cellular functions. Knocking down NbCMT3 expression by virus-induced gene silencing revealed its vital role(s) in leaf morphogenesis. The formation of palisade cells was defective in NbCMT3-silenced plants as compared with controls. NbCMT3 has a role in developmental programs.

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