Active DNA demethylation regulates tracheary element differentiation in Arabidopsis

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Science Advances  26 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 26, eaaz2963
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz2963


DNA demethylation is important for the erasure of DNA methylation. The role of DNA demethylation in plant development remains poorly understood. Here, we found extensive DNA demethylation in the CHH context around pericentromeric regions and DNA demethylation in the CG, CHG, and CHH contexts at discrete genomic regions during ectopic xylem tracheary element (TE) differentiation. While loss of pericentromeric methylation occurs passively, DNA demethylation at a subset of regions relies on active DNA demethylation initiated by DNA glycosylases ROS1, DML2, and DML3. The ros1 and rdd mutations impair ectopic TE differentiation and xylem development in the young roots of Arabidopsis seedlings. Active DNA demethylation targets and regulates many genes for TE differentiation. The defect of xylem development in rdd is proposed to be caused by dysregulation of multiple genes. Our study identifies a role of active DNA demethylation in vascular development and reveals an epigenetic mechanism for TE differentiation.

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