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Global histone H3 hyperacetylation-associated epigenetic changes induced in ethephon-primed sprouts of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill]

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The concept of plant growth regulators (PGRs) in modulating the plant physiological processes through epigenetic modification(s) is emerging. The present work aims to elucidate the histone (de)acetylation-associated epigenetic changes in ethylene (ET)-primed sprouts of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill]. Our results demonstrated that ethephon (donor source of ET) priming (ETp) in soybean significantly enhanced the: (1) germination rate, (2) global histone H3 (H3ac) and H3 lysine 9 (H3K9ac) acetylation levels, (3) histone acetyltransferases activity (concomitant with reduced histone deacetylases activity), (4) cellular acetyl-CoA pool and (5) global de novo RNA synthesis. As a gene-specific case study, ETp resulted in relative reduced starch content, concomitant with an enhanced mRNA accumulation, transcriptional rate and proximal promoter H3K9ac levels of α-amylase 1 (GmαAMY1). Taken together, the proposed epigenetic role of ET as a ‘histone-code’ modulator in soybean sprouts could provide a novel insight on PGR-induced epigenetic re-programming and signifies a broader scope for future epigenetic studies in other agronomical important crops.

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Histone H3 lysine 9 acetylation


Histone acetyltransferases


Histone deacetylases


High-performance liquid chromatography


Nuclear run-on


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction


Trichostatin A


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We would like to acknowledge Dr. C. C. Lakshmanan [Head, Corporate R&D, ITC Limited, ITC Life Science and Technology Centre (LSTC)] for his consistent support. A very special thanks to Mr. Naveen Duhan (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab) for his valuable assistance in immunoblotting and radioactivity-based experiments.

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Correspondence to Raman Manoharlal.

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Manoharlal, R., Saiprasad, G.V.S. Global histone H3 hyperacetylation-associated epigenetic changes induced in ethephon-primed sprouts of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill]. Acta Physiol Plant 42, 26 (2020).

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  • Germination
  • Soybean
  • Ethylene
  • Epigenetics
  • Histone acetylation
  • H3K9