Involvement of DNA methylation in the control of cell growth during heat stress in tobacco BY-2 cells
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The alteration of growth patterns, through the adjustment of cell division and expansion, is a characteristic response of plants to environmental stress. In order to study this response in more depth, the effect of heat stress on growth was investigated in tobacco BY-2 cells. The results indicate that heat stress inhibited cell division, by slowing cell cycle progression. Cells were stopped in the pre-mitotic phases, as shown by the increased expression of CycD3-1 and by the decrease in the NtCycA13, NtCyc29 and CDKB1-1 transcripts. The decrease in cell length and the reduced expression of Nt-EXPA5 indicated that cell expansion was also inhibited. Since DNA methylation plays a key role in controlling gene expression, the possibility that the altered expression of genes involved in the control of cell growth, observed during heat stress, could be due to changes in the methylation state of their promoters was investigated. The results show that the altered expression of CycD3-1 and Nt-EXPA5 was consistent with changes in the methylation state of the upstream region of these genes. These results suggest that DNA methylation, controlling the expression of genes involved in plant development, contributes to growth alteration occurring in response to environmental changes.
KeywordsCell cycle Cell division Cell expansion DNA methylation Heat stress Tobacco BY-2 cells
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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