Conserved Imprinted Genes between Intra-Subspecies and Inter-Subspecies Are Involved in Energy Metabolism and Seed Development in Rice

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 17;21(24):9618. doi: 10.3390/ijms21249618.


Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon in which a subset of genes express dependent on the origin of their parents. In plants, it is unclear whether imprinted genes are conserved between subspecies in rice. Here we identified imprinted genes from embryo and endosperm 5-7 days after pollination from three pairs of reciprocal hybrids, including inter-subspecies, japonica intra-subspecies, and indica intra-subspecies reciprocal hybrids. A total of 914 imprinted genes, including 546 in inter-subspecies hybrids, 211 in japonica intra-subspecies hybrids, and 286 in indica intra-subspecies hybrids. In general, the number of maternally expressed genes (MEGs) is more than paternally expressed genes (PEGs). Moreover, imprinted genes tend to be in mini clusters. The number of shared genes by R9N (reciprocal crosses between 9311 and Nipponbare) and R9Z (reciprocal crosses between 9311 and Zhenshan 97), R9N and RZN (reciprocal crosses between Zhonghua11 and Nipponbare), R9Z and RZN was 72, 46, and 16. These genes frequently involved in energy metabolism and seed development. Five imprinted genes (Os01g0151700, Os07g0103100, Os10g0340600, Os11g0679700, and Os12g0632800) are commonly detected in all three pairs of reciprocal hybrids and were validated by RT-PCR sequencing. Gene editing of two imprinted genes revealed that both genes conferred grain filling. Moreover, 15 and 27 imprinted genes with diverse functions in rice were shared with Arabidopsis and maize, respectively. This study provided valuable resources for identification of imprinting genes in rice or even in cereals.

Keywords: conserved imprinted genes; energy pathway; inter-subspecies; intra-subspecies; seed development.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Endosperm / genetics*
  • Endosperm / growth & development*
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics*
  • Epigenomics / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Multigene Family
  • Oryza / embryology
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • Transcriptome
  • Zea mays / genetics


  • DNA, Plant
  • RNA, Plant