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Accession IconSRP019243

Imprinted expression of genes and small RNA is triggered by localized demethylation of the maternal genome in rice endosperm

Organism Icon Oryza sativa
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Technology Badge IconIllumina Genome Analyzer IIx

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We report that rice endosperm shows a specific hypomethylation of DNA in the maternal genome, preferring regions of high DNA accessibility. Maternally expressed imprinted genes are enriched for hypomethylation at putative promoter regions and transcriptional termini, and paternally expressed genes at promoters and gene bodies, mirroring our recent results in A. thaliana. However, unlike in A. thaliana, rice endosperm sRNA populations are dominated by specific strong sRNA-producing loci, and imprinted 24-nt sRNAs are expressed from both parental genomes and correlate with hypomethylation. Overlaps between imprinted sRNA loci and imprinted genes expressed from opposite alleles suggest that sRNAs may regulate genomic imprinting. Whereas sRNAs in seedling tissues primarily originate from small Class II (cut and paste) transposable elements, those in endosperm are much more uniformly derived, including sequences from other TE classes, as well as genic and intergenic regions. Our data indicate that the endosperm exhibits a unique pattern of sRNA expression and suggest that demethylation of maternal endosperm DNA is conserved in flowering plants. Overall design: Examination of DNA methylation and small RNA expression in the seeds of two cultivars from the japonica subspecies of Oryza sativa L.
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