Cellular programming of plant gene imprinting

Cell. 2008 Mar 7;132(5):735-44. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.02.018.


Gene imprinting, the differential expression of maternal and paternal alleles, independently evolved in mammals and in flowering plants. A unique feature of flowering plants is a double-fertilization event in which the sperm fertilize not only the egg, which forms the embryo, but also the central cell, which develops into the endosperm (an embryo-supporting tissue). The distinctive mechanisms of gene imprinting in the endosperm, which involve DNA demethylation and histone methylation, begin in the central cell and sperm prior to fertilization. Flowering plants might have coevolved double fertilization and imprinting to prevent parthenogenetic development of the endosperm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Histone Code
  • Magnoliopsida / cytology
  • Magnoliopsida / genetics
  • Magnoliopsida / physiology*