Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Discover Ways to Regenerate Plant Tissues

April 24, 2019

Scientists from Tokyo University of Science have discovered a new way to regenerate plant tissues. Plant regeneration occurs through the formation of a mass of pluripotent cells. Pluripotency involves silencing genes to remove original tissue memory and priming for activation by external input. The scientists, led by Professor Sachihiro Matsunaga have shown that plant regenerative capacity requires a certain demethylase that can prime gene expression in response to regenerative cues.

Using Arabidopsis thaliana, Professor Matsunaga and his team studied genome-wide histone modifications. Histones are proteins that package together eukaryotic DNA, preventing it from being transcribed or decoded. Upon modification, however, these proteins' grasp around the DNA molecule loosens, making it easier for the DNA to be transcribed. The scientists found that it is the demethylation (the removal of a methyl group from the amino acid) of the histone H3 by the LDL3 enzyme that lends regenerative competency to the plant. This epigenetic mechanism allows the plant's pluripotent cells to go back to its unipotent state and thus assume the identity of shoot meristems for differentiated tissues including leaves and stems.

For more details, read the news article from Tokyo University of Science.