Regulation of biological accuracy, precision, and memory by plant chromatin organization

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2012 Apr;22(2):132-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2012.01.007. Epub 2012 Feb 13.


Accumulating evidence points toward diverse functions for plant chromatin. Remarkable progress has been made over the last few years in elucidating the mechanisms for a number of these functions. Activity of the histone demethylase IBM1 accurately targets DNA methylation to silent repeats and transposable elements, not to genes. A genetic screen uncovered the surprising role of H2A.Z-containing nucleosomes in sensing precise differences in ambient temperature and consequent gene regulation. Precise maintenance of chromosome number is assured by a histone modification that suppresses inappropriate DNA replication and by centromeric histone H3 regulation of chromosome segregation. Histones and noncoding RNAs regulate FLOWERING LOCUS C, the expression of which quantitatively measures the duration of cold exposure, functioning as memory of winter. These findings are a testament to the power of using plants to research chromatin organization, and demonstrate examples of how chromatin functions to achieve biological accuracy, precision, and memory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin*
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Seasons


  • Chromatin