Publication details

Distinct Responses of Arabidopsis Telomeres and Transposable Elements to Zebularine Exposure

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Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source International Journal of Molecular Sciences
MU Faculty or unit

Central European Institute of Technology

Keywords Arabidopsis thaliana; epigenetics; cytosine methylation; telomeres; transposable elements; zebularine
Description Involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of telomeres and transposable elements (TEs), genomic regions with the protective and potentially detrimental function, respectively, has been frequently studied. Here, we analyzed telomere lengths in Arabidopsis thaliana plants of Columbia, Landsberg erecta and Wassilevskija ecotypes exposed repeatedly to the hypomethylation drug zebularine during germination. Shorter telomeres were detected in plants growing from seedlings germinated in the presence of zebularine with a progression in telomeric phenotype across generations, relatively high inter-individual variability, and diverse responses among ecotypes. Interestingly, the extent of telomere shortening in zebularine Columbia and Wassilevskija plants corresponded to the transcriptional activation of TEs, suggesting a correlated response of these genomic elements to the zebularine treatment. Changes in lengths of telomeres and levels of TE transcripts in leaves were not always correlated with a hypomethylation of cytosines located in these regions, indicating a cytosine methylation-independent level of their regulation. These observations, including differences among ecotypes together with distinct dynamics of the reversal of the disruption of telomere homeostasis and TEs transcriptional activation, reflect a complex involvement of epigenetic processes in the regulation of crucial genomic regions. Our results further demonstrate the ability of plant cells to cope with these changes without a critical loss of the genome stability.
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