Polycomb proteins control floral determinacy by H3K27me3-mediated repression of pluripotency genes in arabidopsis thaliana

Ralf Müller-Xing, Rhomi Ardiansyah, Qian Xing, Léa Faivre, Jingjing Tian, Guohua Wang, Yucai Zheng, Xue Wang, Tingting Jing, Erica De Leau, Song Chen, Su Chen, Daniel Schubert, Justin Goodrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polycomb group (PcG) protein-mediated histone methylation (H3K27me3) controls the correct spatiotemporal expression of numerous developmental regulators in Arabidopsis. Epigenetic silencing of the stem cell factor WUS in floral meristems (FMs) depends on H3K27me3 deposition by PcG proteins. However, the role of H3K27me3 in silencing of other meristematic regulator and pluripotency genes during FM determinacy has not yet been studied. To this end, we report the genome-wide dynamics of H3K27me3 levels during FM arrest and the consequences of strongly depleted PcG activity on early flower morphogenesis including enlarged and indeterminate FMs. Strong depletion of H3K27me3 levels results in misexpression of the FM identity gene AGL24, which partially leads to floral reversion causing ap1-like flowers and indeterminate FMs expressing ectopically WUS and STM. Loss of STM can rescue supernumerary floral organs and FM indeterminacy in H3K27me3-deficient flowers indicating that the hyperactivity of the FMs is at least partially a result of ectopic STM expression. Nonetheless, WUS remained essential for the FM activity. Our results demonstrate that PcG proteins promote FM determinacy at multi-levels of the floral gene regulatory network, silencing initially floral regulators like AGL24 that promotes FM indeterminacy, and subsequently, meristematic pluripotency genes such as WUS and STM during FM arrest.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbererac013
Pages (from-to)2385-2402
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2022


  • Epigenetic gene regulation
  • MADS box genes
  • PcG proteins
  • floral organ specification
  • floral stem cell determinacy
  • flower development


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