Epiallelic changes in known stress-responsive genes under extreme drought conditions in Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.
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Under severe drought conditions, Brassica juncea shows differential methylation and demethylation events, such that certain epialleles are silenced and some are activated. The plant employed avoidance strategy by delaying apoptosis through the activation of several genes.
Harsh environmental conditions pose serious threat to normal growth and development of crops, sometimes leading to their death. However, plants have developed an essential mechanism of modulation of gene activities by epigenetic modifications. Brassica juncea is an important oilseed crop contributing effectively to the economy of India. In the present investigation, we studied the changes in the methylation level of various stress-responsive genes of B. juncea variety RH30 by methylation-dependent immune-precipitation-chip in response to severe drought. On the basis of changes in the number of differential methylation regions in response to drought, the promoter regions were designated as hypermethylated and hypomethylated. Gene body methylation increased in all the genes, whereas promoter methylation was dependent on the function of the gene. Overall, the genes responsible for delaying apoptosis were hypomethylated and many genes responsible for normal routine activities were hypermethylated at promoter regions, thereby suggesting that these may be suspending the activities under harsh conditions.
KeywordsDrought Brassica DNA methylation Epigenome Epiallele MeDIP
The authors are grateful to the DBT, Government of India, and UGC (SAP) for financial support. Thanks are also due to Coordinator, Bioinformatics Centre at School of Biotechnology, University of Jammu, Jammu, for providing facilities. RS is thankful to CSIR, New Delhi, for a fellowship. Thanks are also due to Prof. S. K. Gupta, SKUAST-Jammu for providing the seed material.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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