A metastable DWARF1 epigenetic mutant affecting plant stature in rice

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jul 7;106(27):11218-23. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901942106. Epub 2009 Jun 18.


Epigenetic mutations confer heritable changes in gene expression that are not due to changes in the underlying sequence of the DNA. We identified a spontaneous rice mutant, Epi-d1, that shows a metastable dwarf phenotype. The phenotype is mitotically and meiotically inheritable and corresponds to the metastable epigenetic silencing of the DWARF1 (D1) gene. The silenced state is correlated with repressive histone and DNA methylation marks in the D1 promoter region but is not associated with DNA sequence alterations. Compared with other known epigenetic silenced loci in plants such as paramutable maize alleles and silent Arabidopsis genes, the Epi-d1 silencing phenomenon shows a high level of bidirectional metastable mutability. Epigenetic alleles such as Epi-d1 could thus provide for rapid adaptation under selective conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Genotype
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Oryza / anatomy & histology*
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Physical Chromosome Mapping
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics


  • Plant Proteins