Epigenetic RNA based gene silencing mechanisms play a major role in genome stability and control of gene expression. Transcriptional gene silencing via RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) guides the epigenetic regulation of the genome in response to disease states, growth, developmental and stress signals. RdDM machinery is composed of proteins that produce and modify 24-nt- long siRNAs, recruit the RdDM complex to genomic targets, methylate DNA and remodel chromatin. The final DNA methylation pattern is determined by either DNA methyltransferase alone or by the combined action of DNA methyltransferases and demethylases. The dynamic interaction between RdDM and demethylases may render the plant epigenome plastic to growth, developmental, and environmental cues. The epigenome plasticity may allow the plant genome to assume many epigenomes and to have the right epigenome at the right time in response to intracellular or extracellular stimuli. This review discusses recent advances in RdDM research and considers future perspectives.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science