Epigenetic regulation of stress responses in plants

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2009 Apr;12(2):133-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Jan 27.


Gene expression driven by developmental and stress cues often depends on nucleosome histone post-translational modifications and sometimes on DNA methylation. A number of studies have shown that these DNA and histone modifications play a key role in gene expression and plant development under stress. Most of these stress-induced modifications are reset to the basal level once the stress is relieved, while some of the modifications may be stable, that is, may be carried forward as 'stress memory' and may be inherited across mitotic or even meiotic cell divisions. Epigenetic stress memory may help plants more effectively cope with subsequent stresses. Comparative studies on stress-responsive epigenomes and transcriptomes will enhance our understanding of stress adaptation of plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Germination
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Reproduction
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics*