Genetic rearrangements and epigenetic regulation
Förster AM, Dinh HQ, Sedman L, Wohlrab B, Mittelsten Scheid O (2011) Genetic rearrangements can modify chromatin features at epialleles. PLoS Genet 7:e100231.
In contrast to alleles, epialleles have identical DNA sequence and differ only in gene expression and chromatin features. Epialleles are heritable and can also contribute to phenotypes. How this variation originates is unclear. In this study, we analyzed two epialleles found in Arabidopsis for the difference between their chromatin features and their potential to change state. We mutagenized plants with the inactive epiallele and recovered mutants with restored gene expression. In several cases, this was connected with different rearrangements downstream of the epiallele that caused a switch of the epigenetic configuration further upstream. Therefore, sequence alterations, for example by transposon activity or recombination events, may trigger similar heritable changes of chromatin and gene expression in their proximity and could create new epialleles.
This research was supported by:
21 October 2011