Plant chromatin: development and gene control

Bioessays. 2002 Mar;24(3):234-43. doi: 10.1002/bies.10055.


It is increasingly clear that chromatin is not just a device for packing DNA within the nucleus but also a dynamic material that changes as cellular environments alter. The precise control of chromatin modification in response to developmental and environmental cues determines the correct spatial and temporal expression of genes. Here, we review exciting discoveries that reveal chromatin participation in many facets of plant development. These include: chromatin modification from embryonic and meristematic development to flowering and seed formation, the involvement of DNA methylation and chromatin in controlling invasive DNA and in maintenance of epigenetic states, and the function of chromatin modifying and remodeling complexes such as SWI/SNF and histone acetylases and deacetylases in gene control. Given the role chromatin structure plays in every facet of plant development, chromatin research will undoubtedly be integral in both basic and applied plant biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin / physiology
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Humans


  • Chromatin
  • DNA, Plant