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Chromatin reprogramming during the somatic-to-reproductive cell fate transition in plants.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author She Wenjing, Grimanelli Daniel, Rutowicz Kinga, Whitehead Marek W J, Puzio Marcin, Kotlinski Maciej, Jerzmanowski Andrzej, Baroux Célia,
Project The chromatin basis of plant genome plasticity: Chromatin dynamics during sexual reproduction and clonal propagation
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Development (Cambridge, England)
Volume (Issue) 140(19)
Page(s) 4008 - 19
Title of proceedings Development (Cambridge, England)
DOI 10.1242/dev.095034


The life cycle of flowering plants is marked by several post-embryonic developmental transitions during which novel cell fates are established. Notably, the reproductive lineages are first formed during flower development. The differentiation of spore mother cells, which are destined for meiosis, marks the somatic-to-reproductive fate transition. Meiosis entails the formation of the haploid multicellular gametophytes, from which the gametes are derived, and during which epigenetic reprogramming takes place. Here we show that in the Arabidopsis female megaspore mother cell (MMC), cell fate transition is accompanied by large-scale chromatin reprogramming that is likely to establish an epigenetic and transcriptional status distinct from that of the surrounding somatic niche. Reprogramming is characterized by chromatin decondensation, reduction in heterochromatin, depletion of linker histones, changes in core histone variants and in histone modification landscapes. From the analysis of mutants in which the gametophyte fate is either expressed ectopically or compromised, we infer that chromatin reprogramming in the MMC is likely to contribute to establishing postmeiotic competence to the development of the pluripotent gametophyte. Thus, as in primordial germ cells of animals, the somatic-to-reproductive cell fate transition in plants entails large-scale epigenetic reprogramming.