Plant genomes are modified by an array of epigenetic marks that help regulate plant growth and reproduction. Although plants share many epigenetic features with animals and fungi, some epigenetic marks are unique to plants. In different organisms, the same epigenetic mark can play different roles and/or similar functions can be carried out by different epigenetic marks. Furthermore, while the enzymatic systems responsible for generating or eliminating epigenetic marks are often conserved, there are also cases where they are quite divergent between plants and other organisms. DNA methylation and methylation of histone tails on the lysine 4, 9, and 27 positions are among the best characterized epigenetic marks in both plants and animals. Recent studies have greatly enhanced our knowledge about the pattern of these marks in various genomes and provided insights into how they are established and maintained and how they function. This review focuses on the conservation and divergence of the pathways that mediate these four types of epigenetic marks.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.