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Journal of experimental botany

Seed response to strigolactone is controlled by abscisic acid-independent DNA methylation in the obligate root parasitic plant, Phelipanche ramosa L. Pomel.


PMID 25821070

Abstract

Seed dormancy release of the obligate root parasitic plant, Phelipanche ramosa, requires a minimum 4-day conditioning period followed by stimulation by host-derived germination stimulants, such as strigolactones. Germination is then mediated by germination stimulant-dependent activation of PrCYP707A1, an abscisic acid catabolic gene. The molecular mechanisms occurring during the conditioning period that silence PrCYP707A1 expression and regulate germination stimulant response are almost unknown. Here, global DNA methylation quantification associated with pharmacological approaches and cytosine methylation analysis of the PrCYP707A1 promoter were used to investigate the modulation and possible role of DNA methylation during the conditioning period and in the PrCYP707A1 response to GR24, a synthetic strigolactone analogue. Active global DNA demethylation occurs during the conditioning period and is required for PrCYP707A1 activation by GR24 and for subsequent seed germination. Treatment with 5-azacytidine, a DNA-hypomethylating molecule, reduces the length of the conditioning period. Conversely, hydroxyurea, a hypermethylating agent, inhibits PrCYP707A1 expression and seed germination. Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation followed by PCR experiments and bisulfite sequencing revealed that DNA demethylation particularly impacts a 78-nucleotide sequence in the PrCYP707A1 promoter. The results here demonstrate that the DNA methylation status during the conditioning period plays a crucial role independently of abscisic acid in the regulation of P. ramosa seed germination by controlling the strigolactone-dependent expression of PrCYP707A1.