Adverse conditions can trigger DNA damage as well as DNA repair responses in plants. A variety of stress factors are known to stimulate homologous recombination, the most accurate repair pathway, by increasing the concentration of necessary enzymatic components and the frequency of events. This effect has been reported to last into subsequent generations not exposed to the stress. To establish a basis for a genetic analysis of this transgenerational stress memory, a broad range of treatments was tested for quantitative effects on homologous recombination in the progeny. Several Arabidopsis lines, transgenic for well-established recombination traps, were exposed to 10 different physical and chemical stress treatments, and scored for the number of somatic homologous recombination (SHR) events in the treated generation as well as in the two subsequent generations that were not treated. These numbers were related to the expression level of genes involved in homologous recombination and repair. SHR was enhanced after the majority of treatments, confirming previous data and adding new effective stress types, especially interference with chromatin. Compounds that directly modify DNA stimulated SHR to values exceeding previously described induction rates, concomitant with an induction of genes involved in SHR. In spite of the significant stimulation in the stressed generations, the two subsequent non-treated generations only showed a low and stochastic increase in SHR that did not correlate with the degree of stimulation in the parental plants. Transcripts coding for SHR enzymes generally returned to pre-treatment levels in the progeny. Thus, transgenerational effects on SHR frequency are not a general response to abiotic stress in Arabidopsis and may require special conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)