Epigenetics governs senescence

Plant Reprod. 2024 Mar;37(1):33-36. doi: 10.1007/s00497-023-00479-2. Epub 2023 Aug 18.


Petal is one of the most esthetic and essential parts of a flower that fascinates the pollinators to enhance pollination. Petal senescence is a highly controlled and organized natural phenomenon assisted by phytohormones and gene regulation. It is an inelastically programmed event preceding to which petals give rise to color and scent that captivate pollinators, representing a flower's maturity for sexual reproduction. Till today, many genes involved in the petal senescence through genetic as well as epigenetic changes in response to hormones have been identified. In most of the species, petal senescence is controlled by ethylene, whereas others are independent of this hormone. It has also been proved that the increase in the carbohydrate contents like mannitol, inositol and trehalose delayed the senescence in tulips and Gladiolus. An increased sugar content prevents the biosynthesis of EIN3-like mRNA and further upregulates several senescence correlated genes. A wide range of different transcription factors as well as regulators are disparately expressed in ethylene insensitive and ethylene sensitive petal senescence. DcHB30, a downregulating factor, which upon linking physically to DcWRKY75 leads to the upregulation of ethylene promoting petal senescence. Here we describe the role of ethylene in petal senescence through epigenetic changes. Studies show that ethylene causes petal senescence through epigenetic changes. Feng et al. (Plant Physiol 192:546-564, 2023) observed that ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG OF TRITHORAX1 (DcATX1) promotes trimethylation of histone 3 (H3) at 4th lysine (H3K4me3) in Carnation. H3K4me3 further stimulates the expression of genes of ethylene biosynthesis and senescence, leading to senescence in Carnation.

Keywords: DcATX1; EIN; Ethylene; H3K4me3; Petal; Senescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Ethylenes*
  • Flowers / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism


  • ethylene
  • Ethylenes
  • Plant Growth Regulators