Heat can erase epigenetic marks of vernalization in Arabidopsis

Plant Signal Behav. 2015;10(3):e990799. doi: 10.4161/15592324.2014.990799.


Vernalization establishes a memory of winter that must be maintained for weeks or months in order to promote flowering the following spring. The stability of the vernalized state varies among plant species and depends on the duration of cold exposure. In Arabidopsis thaliana, winter leads to epigenetic silencing of the floral repressor gene FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) and the duration of cold is measured through the dynamics of chromatin modifications during and after cold. The growing conditions encountered post-vernalization are thus critical for the maintenance of the vernalized state. We reported that high temperature leads to devernalization and, consistently, to FLC reactivation in Arabidopsis seedlings. Here we show that the repressive epigenetic mark H3K27me3 decreases at the FLC locus when vernalized seedlings are grown at 30°C, unless they were first exposed to a stabilizing period at 20°C. Ambient temperature thus controls the epigenetic memory of winter.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; FLOWERING LOCUS C; Flowering; H3K27me3; H3K4me3; devernalization; epigenetic modifications; vernalization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Plant
  • Hot Temperature*
  • MADS Domain Proteins / genetics*
  • MADS Domain Proteins / metabolism
  • Seasons*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • FLF protein, Arabidopsis
  • MADS Domain Proteins