1. Chromosomes and Gene Expression
  2. Plant Biology
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Local chromatin environment of a Polycomb target gene instructs its own epigenetic inheritance

  1. Scott Berry
  2. Matthew Hartley
  3. Tjelvar S G Olsson
  4. Caroline Dean
  5. Martin Howard  Is a corresponding author
  1. John Innes Centre, United Kingdom
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e07205 doi: 10.7554/eLife.07205

Abstract

Inheritance of gene expression states is fundamental for cells to 'remember' past events, such as environmental or developmental cues. The conserved Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) maintains epigenetic repression of many genes in animals and plants and modifies chromatin at its targets. Histones modified by PRC2 can be inherited through cell division. However, it remains unclear whether this inheritance can direct long-term memory of individual gene expression states (cis memory) or instead if local chromatin states are dictated by the concentrations of diffusible factors (trans memory). By monitoring the expression of two copies of the Arabidopsis Polycomb target gene FLC in the same plants, we show that one copy can be repressed while the other is active. Furthermore, this 'mixed' expression state is inherited through many cell divisions as plants develop. These data demonstrate that epigenetic memory of FLC expression is stored not in trans but in cis.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Scott Berry

    John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Matthew Hartley

    John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Tjelvar S G Olsson

    John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Caroline Dean

    John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Martin Howard

    John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    martin.howard@jic.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Daniel Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: February 25, 2015
  2. Accepted: May 7, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 8, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 2, 2015 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2015, Berry et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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