Electronic Journal of Plant Breeding, 1(4): 1142-1143 (July 2010)

Research Article

An epigenetic change in rice cultivars under water stress conditions K. K Suji and A. John Joel

Abstract Stress can exert its effect on the organism not only via physiological response pathways but also via genomic and indeed epigenetic responses. Environmental signals affect the extent of DNA methylation by their interaction with the plant. In general, imposing different biotic and abiotic stresses to the plants leads to increased gene methylation and thus leading to degeneration of genome activity. Keeping this in view, the two high yielding lowland rice cultivars IR 20 and CO 43 and the two rice cultivars with drought tolerant traits PMK 3 and Paiyur local were raised in pots under water stress and irrigated conditions. Genomic DNA from the four cultivars was subjected to restriction digestion with methylation sensitive isoschizomers MspI and HpaII. In all the cultivars, internal methylation (5’-CmCGG-3’) was found to be dominant in rice leaves suggesting a high frequency of mCpG dinucleotide as compared to mCpC dinucleotide in the 5’-CCGG-3’ sequence in rice DNA. Drought susceptible cultivar (IR 20) under stress shows higher MspI and HpaII digestion than irrigated control, suggesting that demethylation have occurred under stress thereby altering the genome activity. But in case of drought tolerant cultivars PMK3 and Paiyur local, HpaII digestion was found to be lesser under stress conditions than irrigated control, suggesting that methylation have occurred under stress thereby gene expression gets altered. Thus, a change in methylation level was noticed among the rice cultivars under water stress and control conditions. Key words: Rice, epigenetic change, water stress.

Introduction The primary epigenetic mechanism operating in organisms particularly in plants is DNA methylation. It involves post replicative covalent modification of DNA by methylation of cytosine bases. It is attractive to speculate that plants have developed the methylation and demethylation system to simultaneously regulate a vast number of genes at once, rather than to individually regulate each gene (Tsaftaris and Dickinson,2000). Polymorphism for DNA methylation is extensive not only among species but among genotypes of a species, individuals belonging to the same genotype, between different organs and tissues of an individual and even among mitotically derived somatic cells of a certain tissue. Abiotic stress can result not only in well programmed physiological stress responses but also in genome wide changes. Stress induced Department of Plant Molecular Biology Biotechnology, CPMB, TNAU, Coimbatore 641 003

and

genomic responses include transposon activation, transposition and structural genome changes possibly due to DNA methylation (Madlung et al., 2004). In general, imposing different biotic and abiotic stresses to the plants leads to increased gene methylation and thus leading to degeneration of genome activity. In contrast, favorable growth conditions and absence of stress is associated with lower methylation and optimum expression (Tsaftaris and Dickinson, 2000). Materials and methods The two high yielding lowland rice cultivars predominantly grown in Tamilnadu IR20 and CO43 and the two rice cultivars with drought tolerant traits, grown in rainfed tracts of Tamilnadu PMK3 and Paiyur local (PL) were taken for the present study. The four rice cultivars were raised in the pots and they were maintained as control and treatment in two replications. Watering was done periodically to its saturation level. Water stress was imposed by withholding irrigation from 53 DAS for a period of 10 days and genomic DNA was extracted from the leaves using the CTAB method. The total genomic DNA of each of the four rice cultivars was digested

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Electronic Journal of Plant Breeding, 1(4): 1142-1143 (July 2010)

with methylation sensitive isoschizomers MspI and HpaII in a hot air oven at 37°C for 24 hours. The DNA digests were resolved in 0.8 per cent agarose gel. Results and Discussion In the present study, an attempt has been made to know the type of cytosine methylation in rice genome and to have an idea of methylation changes in drought resistant and drought susceptible rice cultivars under water stress conditions. The four rice cultivars were subjected to restriction digestion with methylation sensitive isoschizomers MspI and HpaII. These two restriction enzymes are known to be sensitive towards cytosine methylation in the sequence 5’-CCGG-3’. MspI does not cut the 5’-mCCGG-3’ sequence, whereas it is sensitive to internal cytosine methylation, while Hpa II is sensitive to external cytosine methylation and does not cut the 5’-CmCGG-3’ sequence. It was found that MspI shows comparatively more digestion of DNA than that with HpaII in all the rice cultivars, suggesting the abundance of 5’-CmCGG-3’ (internal methylation) type of sequences rather than 5’m CCGG-3’ (external methylation) type of sequences in the leaves of rice genome. Similar results were reported by Dhar et al., 1990 and Joel et al., 2000 in embryo and leaves of rice respectively.

Hence, DNA methylation, which causes genomic alterations when the genotype is exposed to stress, may be explored further for creation of favorable variation and as a selection index in drought tolerance breeding programme. References Dhar,

M.S., V.V.Pethe, V.S.Gupta and P.K. Ranjekar. 1990. Predominance and tissue specificity of adenine methylation in rice. Theor. Appl. Genet., 80: 402-408.

Joel A.J., L.Xiong, M.Qian, S.Yan, J.Huang and Q.Zhang. 2000. Cytosine methylation and heterosis in rice, The international conference on the status of plant and animal genome research, San Diego, CA, USA. January 9-12, p.93. Madlung,A and L.Comai. 2004. The effect of stress on genome regulation and structure. Annals of Botany, pp. 1-15. Tsaftaris A.S. and A.N. Dickinson. 2000. DNA methylation and plant breeding. Plant Breeding Reviews, 18: 87-176.

On the other hand, the drought susceptible cultivar IR 20 under stress shows higher MspI and HpaII digestion than irrigated control, suggesting that demethylation have occurred under stress thereby altering the genome activity. But in case of drought tolerant cultivars PMK 3 and PL, HpaII digestion was found to be lesser under stress conditions than irrigated control, suggesting that methylation have occurred under stress thereby gene expression gets altered. The results emphasize that drought susceptible cultivar shows hypomethylation and drought tolerant cultivars shows hyper methylation under water stress conditions.

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An epigenetic change in rice cultivars under water ...

level was noticed among the rice cultivars under water stress and control ... methylation and demethylation system to ... Watering was done periodically to its.

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