Methylation and Phenotypic and Transcriptional Changes in Synthetic Arabidopsis Allotetraploids

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Plant Physiology




The joining of different genomes in allotetraploids played a major role in plant evolution, but the molecular implications of this event are poorly understood. In synthetic allotetraploids of Arabidopsis and Cardaminopsis arenosa, we previously demonstrated the occurrence of frequent gene silencing. To explore the involvement of epigenetic phenomena, we investigated the occurrence and effects of DNA methylation changes. Changes in DNA methylation patterns were more frequent in synthetic allotetraploids than in the parents. Treatment with 5-aza-2?-deoxycytidine, an inhibitor of DNA methyltransferase, resulted in the development of altered morphologies in the synthetic allotetraploids, but not in the parents. We profiled mRNAs in control and 5-aza-2?-deoxycytidine-treated parents and allotetraploids by amplified fragment length polymorphism-cDNA. We show that DNA demethylation induced and repressed two different transcriptomes. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that synthetic allotetraploids have compromised mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation.