Transgenerational inheritance of epigenetic response to abiotic stress in Arabidopsis thaliana

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Migicovsky, Zoë
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Biological Sciences, c2012
Abiotic stresses are one of the major limiting factors of plant growth and thus crop productivity. Exposure to these stresses, including temperature and UV, cause physiological and epigenetic changes in plants. Such changes may be inherited in the progeny of stressed plants, and may change their ability to respond to stress. To understand the ability of plants to inherit an epigenetic stress memory as well as the physiological manifestations of such a memory, we propagated both stressed and control plants and compared the progeny under both normal and stressed conditions. In addition to wild-type plants we used Dicer-like mutants dcl2, dcl3 and dcl4, as Dicers have been linked to RNA-directed DNA methylation, a form of epigenetic memory. These studies revealed that leaf number decreases in the progeny of stressed plants, and bolting occurs earlier in the progeny of temperature stressed plants but later in the progeny of UV-C stressed plants. Transposons were also re-activated in the progeny of stressed plants. While heat shock transcription factor 2A increased expression in the progeny of heat stressed plants, many genes involved in DNA repair and histone modifications decreased. DCL2 and DCL3 appeared to be more important in transgenerational stress memory than DCL4. However, all dcl plants were generally not significantly different than wild-type plants, indicating that a single DCL deficiency may be compensated for by another DCL.
xiv, 246 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm
Plants -- Effect of stress on -- Genetic aspects , Growth (Plants) -- Experiments , Epigenetics , Arabidopsis thaliana -- Effect of stress on -- Genetic aspects , Methylation , Dissertations, Academic