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Polycomb repressive complex 2 attenuates ABA‐induced senescence in Arabidopsis

Liu, Chunmei, Cheng, Jingfei, Zhuang, Yili, Ye, Luhuan, Li, Zijuan, Wang, Yuejun, Qi, Meifang, Xu, Lin, Zhang, Yijing
Theplant journal 2019 v.97 no.2 pp. 368-377
Arabidopsis thaliana, abscisic acid, crop yield, enzymes, epigenetics, genes, leaves, mutants, plant stress, stress tolerance, transcriptomics
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA)‐induced leaf senescence facilitates nutrient reuse and potentially contributes to enhancing plant stress tolerance. However, excessive senescence causes serious reductions in crop yield, and the mechanism by which senescence is finely tuned at different levels is still insufficiently understood. Here, we found that the double mutant of core enzymes of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is hypersensitive to ABA in Arabidopsis thaliana. To elucidate the interplay between ABA and PRC2 at the genome level, we extensively profiled the transcriptomic and epigenomic changes triggered by ABA. We observed that H3K27me3 preferentially targets ABA‐induced senescence‐associated genes (SAGs). In the double, but not single, mutant of PRC2 enzymes, these SAGs were derepressed and could be more highly induced by ABA compared with the wild‐type, suggesting a redundant role for the PRC2 enzymes in negatively regulating ABA‐induced senescence. Contrary to the rapid transcriptomic changes triggered by ABA, the reduction of H3K27me3 at these SAGs falls far behind the induction of their expression, indicating that PRC2‐mediated H3K27me3 contributed to long‐term damping of ABA‐induced senescence to prevent an oversensitive response. The findings of this study may serve as a paradigm for a global understanding of the interplay between the rapid effects of a phytohormone such as ABA and the long‐term effects of the epigenetic machinery in regulating plant senescence processes and environmental responses.