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Epigenetic Natural Variation in Arabidopsis thaliana  [PDF]
Matthew W. Vaughn,Milo? Tanurd?i?,Zachary Lippman,Hongmei Jiang,Robert Carrasquillo,Pablo D. Rabinowicz,Neilay Dedhia,W. Richard McCombie,Nicolas Agier,Agnès Bulski,Vincent Colot,R.W Doerge,Robert A. Martienssen
PLOS Biology , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050174
Abstract: Cytosine methylation of repetitive sequences is widespread in plant genomes, occurring in both symmetric (CpG and CpNpG) as well as asymmetric sequence contexts. We used the methylation-dependent restriction enzyme McrBC to profile methylated DNA using tiling microarrays of Arabidopsis Chromosome 4 in two distinct ecotypes, Columbia and Landsberg erecta. We also used comparative genome hybridization to profile copy number polymorphisms. Repeated sequences and transposable elements (TEs), especially long terminal repeat retrotransposons, are densely methylated, but one third of genes also have low but detectable methylation in their transcribed regions. While TEs are almost always methylated, genic methylation is highly polymorphic, with half of all methylated genes being methylated in only one of the two ecotypes. A survey of loci in 96 Arabidopsis accessions revealed a similar degree of methylation polymorphism. Within-gene methylation is heritable, but is lost at a high frequency in segregating F2 families. Promoter methylation is rare, and gene expression is not generally affected by differences in DNA methylation. Small interfering RNA are preferentially associated with methylated TEs, but not with methylated genes, indicating that most genic methylation is not guided by small interfering RNA. This may account for the instability of gene methylation, if occasional failure of maintenance methylation cannot be restored by other means.
Epigenetic Natural Variation in Arabidopsis thaliana  [PDF]
Matthew W Vaughn equal contributor,Milo? Tanurd?i? equal contributor,Zachary Lippman equal contributor,Hongmei Jiang,Robert Carrasquillo,Pablo D Rabinowicz,Neilay Dedhia,W. Richard McCombie,Nicolas Agier,Agnès Bulski,Vincent Colot,R.W Doerge,Robert A Martienssen
PLOS Biology , 2007, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050174
Abstract: Cytosine methylation of repetitive sequences is widespread in plant genomes, occurring in both symmetric (CpG and CpNpG) as well as asymmetric sequence contexts. We used the methylation-dependent restriction enzyme McrBC to profile methylated DNA using tiling microarrays of Arabidopsis Chromosome 4 in two distinct ecotypes, Columbia and Landsberg erecta. We also used comparative genome hybridization to profile copy number polymorphisms. Repeated sequences and transposable elements (TEs), especially long terminal repeat retrotransposons, are densely methylated, but one third of genes also have low but detectable methylation in their transcribed regions. While TEs are almost always methylated, genic methylation is highly polymorphic, with half of all methylated genes being methylated in only one of the two ecotypes. A survey of loci in 96 Arabidopsis accessions revealed a similar degree of methylation polymorphism. Within-gene methylation is heritable, but is lost at a high frequency in segregating F2 families. Promoter methylation is rare, and gene expression is not generally affected by differences in DNA methylation. Small interfering RNA are preferentially associated with methylated TEs, but not with methylated genes, indicating that most genic methylation is not guided by small interfering RNA. This may account for the instability of gene methylation, if occasional failure of maintenance methylation cannot be restored by other means.
Natural Variation in Arabidopsis thaliana as a Tool for Highlighting Differential Drought Responses  [PDF]
Oumaya Bouchabke, Fengqi Chang, Matthieu Simon, Roger Voisin, Georges Pelletier, Mylène Durand-Tardif
PLOS ONE , 2008, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001705
Abstract: To test whether natural variation in Arabidopsis could be used to dissect out the genetic basis of responses to drought stress, we characterised a number of accessions. Most of the accessions belong to a core collection that was shown to maximise the genetic diversity captured for a given number of individual accessions in Arabidopsis thaliana. We measured total leaf area (TLA), Electrolyte Leakage (EL), Relative Water Content (RWC), and Cut Rosette Water Loss (CRWL) in control and mild water deficit conditions. A Principal Component Analysis revealed which traits explain most of the variation and showed that some accessions behave differently compared to the others in drought conditions, these included Ita-0, Cvi-0 and Shahdara. This study relied on genetic variation found naturally within the species, in which populations are assumed to be adapted to their environment. Overall, Arabidopsis thaliana showed interesting phenotypic variations in response to mild water deficit that can be exploited to identify genes and alleles important for this complex trait.
Natural variation in DNA methylation in ribosomal RNA genes of Arabidopsis thaliana
Hye Woo, Eric J Richards
BMC Plant Biology , 2008, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2229-8-92
Abstract: Here, we explored the extent of naturally-occurring variation in NOR DNA methylation among accessions of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. DNA methylation in coding regions of rRNA genes was positively correlated with copy number of 45S rRNA gene and DNA methylation in the intergenic spacer regions. We investigated the inheritance of NOR DNA methylation patterns in natural accessions with hypomethylated NORs in inter-strain crosses and defined three different categories of inheritance in F1 hybrids. In addition, subsequent analysis of F2 segregation for NOR DNA methylation patterns uncovered different patterns of inheritance. We also revealed that NOR DNA methylation in the Arabidopsis accession Bor-4 is influenced by the vim1-1 (variant in methylation 1-1) mutation, but the primary effect is specified by the NORs themselves.Our results indicate that the NORs themselves are the most significant determinants of natural variation in NOR DNA methylation. However, the inheritance of NOR DNA methylation suggests the operation of a diverse set of mechanisms, including inheritance of parental methylation patterns, reconfiguration of parental NOR DNA methylation, and the involvement of trans-acting modifiers.DNA methylation is an important mechanism for establishing stable heritable epigenetic marks that modify the information content of the underlying genetic sequence [1]. In plants and vertebrates, DNA methylation is important for gene regulation, genomic imprinting, heterochromatin assembly, and protection of the genome against migrating transposable elements [2,3]. Both forward and reverse genetic approaches have identified important components of DNA methylation systems in eukaryotes, including cytosine-DNA-methyltransferases (DNMTs) and chromatin modification enzymes [2,4,5]. In addition to conventional genetic approaches, research based on the analysis of natural genetic variation has increased dramatically in recent years [6-9]. In the flowering plant, Arabi
Small RNA-Directed Epigenetic Natural Variation in Arabidopsis thaliana  [PDF]
Jixian Zhai,Jun Liu,Bin Liu,Pingchuan Li,Blake C. Meyers,Xuemei Chen,Xiaofeng Cao
PLOS Genetics , 2008, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000056
Abstract: Progress in epigenetics has revealed mechanisms that can heritably regulate gene function independent of genetic alterations. Nevertheless, little is known about the role of epigenetics in evolution. This is due in part to scant data on epigenetic variation among natural populations. In plants, small interfering RNA (siRNA) is involved in both the initiation and maintenance of gene silencing by directing DNA methylation and/or histone methylation. Here, we report that, in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a cluster of ~24 nt siRNAs found at high levels in the ecotype Landsberg erecta (Ler) could direct DNA methylation and heterochromatinization at a hAT element adjacent to the promoter of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), a major repressor of flowering, whereas the same hAT element in ecotype Columbia (Col) with almost identical DNA sequence, generates a set of low abundance siRNAs that do not direct these activities. We have called this hAT element MPF for Methylated region near Promoter of FLC, although de novo methylation triggered by an inverted repeat transgene at this region in Col does not alter its FLC expression. DNA methylation of the Ler allele MPF is dependent on genes in known silencing pathways, and such methylation is transmissible to Col by genetic crosses, although with varying degrees of penetrance. A genome-wide comparison of Ler and Col small RNAs identified at least 68 loci matched by a significant level of ~24 nt siRNAs present specifically in Ler but not Col, where nearly half of the loci are related to repeat or TE sequences. Methylation analysis revealed that 88% of the examined loci (37 out of 42) were specifically methylated in Ler but not Col, suggesting that small RNA can direct epigenetic differences between two closely related Arabidopsis ecotypes.
Natural Genetic Variation in Selected Populations of Arabidopsis thaliana Is Associated with Ionomic Differences  [PDF]
Elizabeth Buescher,Tilman Achberger,Idris Amusan,Anthony Giannini,Cherie Ochsenfeld,Ana Rus,Brett Lahner,Owen Hoekenga,Elena Yakubova,Jeffrey F. Harper,Mary Lou Guerinot,Min Zhang,David E. Salt,Ivan R. Baxter
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011081
Abstract: Controlling elemental composition is critical for plant growth and development as well as the nutrition of humans who utilize plants for food. Uncovering the genetic architecture underlying mineral ion homeostasis in plants is a critical first step towards understanding the biochemical networks that regulate a plant's elemental composition (ionome). Natural accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana provide a rich source of genetic diversity that leads to phenotypic differences. We analyzed the concentrations of 17 different elements in 12 A. thaliana accessions and three recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations grown in several different environments using high-throughput inductively coupled plasma- mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS). Significant differences were detected between the accessions for most elements and we identified over a hundred QTLs for elemental accumulation in the RIL populations. Altering the environment the plants were grown in had a strong effect on the correlations between different elements and the QTLs controlling elemental accumulation. All ionomic data presented is publicly available at www.ionomicshub.org.
Variation in Seed Dormancy Quantitative Trait Loci in Arabidopsis thaliana Originating from One Site  [PDF]
Rebecca A. Silady,Sigi Effgen,Maarten Koornneef,Matthieu Reymond
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020886
Abstract: A Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) analysis was performed using two novel Recombinant Inbred Line (RIL) populations, derived from the progeny between two Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes collected at the same site in Kyoto (Japan) crossed with the reference laboratory strain Landsberg erecta (Ler). We used these two RIL populations to determine the genetic basis of seed dormancy and flowering time, which are assumed to be the main traits controlling life history variation in Arabidopsis. The analysis revealed quantitative variation for seed dormancy that is associated with allelic variation at the seed dormancy QTL DOG1 (for Delay Of Germination 1) in one population and at DOG6 in both. These DOG QTL have been previously identified using mapping populations derived from accessions collected at different sites around the world. Genetic variation within a population may enhance its ability to respond accurately to variation within and between seasons. In contrast, variation for flowering time, which also segregated within each mapping population, is mainly governed by the same QTL.
Demographic and Genetic Patterns of Variation among Populations of Arabidopsis thaliana from Contrasting Native Environments  [PDF]
Alicia Montesinos, Stephen J. Tonsor, Carlos Alonso-Blanco, F. Xavier Picó
PLOS ONE , 2009, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007213
Abstract: Background Understanding the relationship between environment and genetics requires the integration of knowledge on the demographic behavior of natural populations. However, the demographic performance and genetic composition of Arabidopsis thaliana populations in the species' native environments remain largely uncharacterized. This information, in combination with the advances on the study of gene function, will improve our understanding on the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptive evolution in A. thaliana. Methodology/Principal Findings We report the extent of environmental, demographic, and genetic variation among 10 A. thaliana populations from Mediterranean (coastal) and Pyrenean (montane) native environments in northeast Spain. Geographic, climatic, landscape, and soil data were compared. Demographic traits, including the dynamics of the soil seed bank and the attributes of aboveground individuals followed over a complete season, were also analyzed. Genetic data based on genome-wide SNP markers were used to describe genetic diversity, differentiation, and structure. Coastal and montane populations significantly differed in terms of environmental, demographic, and genetic characteristics. Montane populations, at higher altitude and farther from the sea, are exposed to colder winters and prolonged spring moisture compared to coastal populations. Montane populations showed stronger secondary seed dormancy, higher seedling/juvenile mortality in winter, and initiated flowering later than coastal populations. Montane and coastal regions were genetically differentiated, montane populations bearing lower genetic diversity than coastal ones. No significant isolation-by-distance pattern and no shared multilocus genotypes among populations were detected. Conclusions/Significance Between-region variation in climatic patterns can account for differences in demographic traits, such as secondary seed dormancy, plant mortality, and recruitment, between coastal and montane A. thaliana populations. In addition, differences in plant mortality can partly account for differences in the genetic composition of coastal and montane populations. This study shows how the interplay between variation in environmental, demographic, and genetic parameters may operate in natural A. thaliana populations.
Natural Variation Identifies Multiple Loci Controlling Petal Shape and Size in Arabidopsis thaliana  [PDF]
Mary C. Abraham, Chanatip Metheetrairut, Vivian F. Irish
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056743
Abstract: Natural variation in organ morphologies can have adaptive significance and contribute to speciation. However, the underlying allelic differences responsible for variation in organ size and shape remain poorly understood. We have utilized natural phenotypic variation in three Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes to examine the genetic basis for quantitative variation in petal length, width, area, and shape. We identified 23 loci responsible for such variation, many of which appear to correspond to genes not previously implicated in controlling organ morphology. These analyses also demonstrated that allelic differences at distinct loci can independently affect petal length, width, area or shape, suggesting that these traits behave as independent modules. We also showed that ERECTA (ER), encoding a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor-like serine-threonine kinase, is a major effect locus determining petal shape. Allelic variation at the ER locus was associated with differences in petal cell proliferation and concomitant effects on petal shape. ER has been previously shown to be required for regulating cell division and expansion in other contexts; the ER receptor-like kinase functioning to also control organ-specific proliferation patterns suggests that allelic variation in common signaling components may nonetheless have been a key factor in morphological diversification.
Natural Variation in Arabidopsis thaliana Revealed a Genetic Network Controlling Germination Under Salt Stress  [PDF]
Navot Galpaz,Matthieu Reymond
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015198
Abstract: Plant responses to environmental stresses are polygenic and complex traits. In this study quantitative genetics using natural variation in Arabidopsis thaliana was used to investigate the genetic architecture of plant responses to salt stress. Eighty seven A. thaliana accessions were screened and showed a large variation for root development and seed germination under 125 and 200 mM NaCl, respectively. Twenty two quantitative trait loci for these traits have been detected by phenotyping two recombinants inbred line populations, Sha x Col and Sha x Ler. Four QTLs controlling germination under salt were detected in the Sha x Col population. Interestingly, only one allelic combination at these four QTLs inhibits germination under salt stress, implying strong epistatic interactions between them. In this interacting context, we confirmed the effect of one QTL by phenotyping selected heterozygous inbred families. We also showed that this QTL is involved in the control of germination under other stress conditions such as KCl, mannitol, cold, glucose and ABA. Our data highlights the presence of a genetic network which consists of four interacting QTLs and controls germination under limiting environmental conditions.
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