Plant science : an international journal of experimental plant biology

Assessment of molecular and epigenetic changes in the albinism of Agave angustifolia Haw.

PMID 28818371


Albinism in plants is a rare phenomenon that occurs in nature and is characterized by the total or partial loss of photosynthetic pigments. Although progress has been made in understanding the nature of this phenomenon, the precise causes and biological basis are still unexplored. Here, we study the genetic and epigenetic differences between green (G), variegated (V) and albino (A) A. angustifolia Haw. plantlets obtained by in vitro propagation in order to present new insights into albinism from a plant system that offers a unique set of biological phenotypic characteristics. Low transcript levels of genes involved in carotenoids and photosynthesis such as PSY, PDS, LCYƐ, rubS, PEPCase and LHCP suggest a disruption in these processes in albino plants. Due to a high level of genetic similarity being found between the three phenotypes, we analyzed global DNA methylation and different histone marks (H3K4me2, H3K36me2, H3K9ac, H3K9me2 and H3K27me3). Although no significant differences in global 5-methyl deoxicytidine were found, almost a 2-4.5-fold increase in H3K9ac was observed in albino plants in comparison with variegated or green plants, suggesting a change in chromatin compaction related to A. angustifolia albinism.