A plant dialect of the histone language

Trends Plant Sci. 2004 Feb;9(2):84-90. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2003.12.007.


The genome contains all the information needed to build an organism. However, during differentiation and development, additional epigenetic information determines the functional state of cells and tissues. This epigenetic information can be introduced by cytosine methylation and by marking nucleosomal histones. The code written on histones consists of post-translational modifications, including acetylation and methylation. In contrast to the universal nature of the DNA code, the histone language and its decoding machinery differ among animals, plants and fungi. Plant cells have retained totipotency to generate the entire plant and maintained the ability to dedifferentiate, which suggests that the establishment and maintenance of epigenetic information differs from animals. Here, I aim to summarize the histone code and plant-specific aspects of setting and translating the code.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • DNA Methylation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes