Pre-exposure to a stress may alter the plant's cellular, biochemical, and/or transcriptional responses during future encounters as a 'memory' from the previous stress. Genes increasing transcription in response to a first dehydration stress, but producing much higher transcript levels in a subsequent stress, represent the super-induced 'transcription memory' genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. The chromatin environment (histone H3 tri-methylations of Lys 4 and Lys 27, H3K4me3, and H3K27me3) studied at five dehydration stress memory genes revealed existence of distinct memory-response subclasses that responded differently to CLF deficiency and displayed different transcriptional activities during the watered recovery periods. Among the most important findings is the novel aspect of the H3K27me3 function observed at specific dehydration stress memory genes. In contrast to its well-known role as a chromatin repressive mechanism at developmentally regulated genes, H3K27me3 did not prevent transcription from the dehydration stress-responding genes. The high H3K27me3 levels present during transcriptionally inactive states did not interfere with the transition to active transcription and with H3K4me3 accumulation. H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 marks function independently and are not mutually exclusive at the dehydration stress-responding memory genes.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana.; CLF; H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 at memory genes; dehydration stress-response genes; transcription memory genes.