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Ann Bot. 2015 Sep;116(3):369-76. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcv104. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Global 5-methylcytosine alterations in DNA during ageing of Quercus robur seeds.

Author information

1
Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Parkowa 5, 62-035 Kórnik, Poland and michalak_marcin81@wp.pl beata-plitta@wp.pl.
2
Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Z. Noskowskiego 12/14, 61-704 Poznań, Poland.
3
Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Parkowa 5, 62-035 Kórnik, Poland and.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Epigenetic regulation plays an important role in the management of plant growth, development and response to stress factors, and several reports have indicated that DNA methylation plays a critical role in seed development and viability. This study examines changes in 5-methylcytosine (m(5)C) levels in the DNA of seeds during ageing, a process that has important implications for plant conservation and agriculture.

METHODS:

Changes in the global level of m(5)C were measured in mature seeds of oak, Quercus robur. The extent of DNA methylation was measured using a protocol based on two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography. Viability of seeds was determined by germination and seedling emergence tests.

KEY RESULTS:

An ageing-related decrease in total m(5)C during storage of recalcitrant seeds was highly and significantly correlated with a decrease in seed viability, as reflected by a reduction in germination (r = 0·8880) and seedling emergence (r = 0·8269).

CONCLUSIONS:

The decrease in viability during ageing of Q. robur seeds is highly correlated with a global decline in the amount of m(5)C in genomic DNA, and it is possible that this may represent a typical response to ageing and senescence in recalcitrant seeds. Potential mechanisms that drive changes in genomic DNA methylation during ageing are discussed, together with their implications for seed viability.

KEYWORDS:

5-methylcytosine; DNA methylation; Quercus robur; dormancy; epigenetics; pendunculate oak; recalcitrant seed.; seed ageing

PMID:
26133690
PMCID:
PMC4549962
DOI:
10.1093/aob/mcv104
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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