Genetic and epigenetic control of the plant metabolome

Proteomics. 2023 Jul;23(13-14):e2200104. doi: 10.1002/pmic.202200104. Epub 2023 Feb 23.


Plant metabolites are mainly produced through chemical reactions catalysed by enzymes encoded in the genome. Mutations in enzyme-encoding or transcription factor-encoding genes can alter the metabolome by changing the enzyme's catalytic activity or abundance, respectively. Insertion of transposable elements into non-coding regions has also been reported to affect transcription and ultimately metabolite content. In addition to genetic mutations, transgenerational epigenetic variations have also been found to affect metabolic content by controlling the transcription of metabolism-related genes. However, the majority of cases reported so far, in which epigenetic mechanisms are associated with metabolism, are non-transgenerational, and are triggered by developmental signals or environmental stress. Although, accumulating research has provided evidence of strong genetic control of the metabolome, epigenetic control has been largely untouched. Here, we provide a review of the genetic and epigenetic control of metabolism with a focus on epigenetics. We discuss both transgenerational and non-transgenerational epigenetic marks regulating metabolism as well as prospects of the field of metabolic control where intricate interactions between genetics and epigenetics are involved.

Keywords: epiallele; epigenetics; genetics; plant metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Genome
  • Metabolome / genetics
  • Plants / genetics