Histone methylation in higher plants

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2010;61:395-420. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.043008.091939.


Histone methylation plays a fundamental role in regulating diverse developmental processes and is also involved in silencing repetitive sequences in order to maintain genome stability. The methylation marks are written on lysine or arginine by distinct enzymes, namely, histone lysine methyltransferases (HKMTs) or protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs). Once established, the methylation marks are specifically recognized by the proteins that act as readers and are interpreted into specific biological outcomes. Histone methylation status is dynamic; methylation marks can be removed by eraser enzymes, the histone demethylases (HDMs). The proteins responsible for writing, reading, and erasing the methylation marks are known mostly in animals. During the past several years, a growing body of literature has demonstrated the impact of histone methylation on genome management, transcriptional regulation, and development in plants. The aim of this review is to summarize the biochemical, genetic, and molecular action of histone methylation in two plants, the dicot Arabidopsis and the monocot rice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Histone Code*
  • Histone Demethylases
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases


  • Histones
  • Histone Demethylases
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases