Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 214–224 | Cite as

EARLY FLOWERING IN SHORT DAYS (EFS) regulates the seed size in Arabidopsis

  • Lingling Cheng
  • Sarfraz Shafiq
  • Wei Xu
  • Qianwen Sun
Research Paper


Post-transcriptional modifications, including histone modifications and DNA methylation, alter the chromatin landscape to regulate gene expression, thus control various cellular processes in plants. EARLY FLOWERING IN SHORT DAYS (EFS) is the major contributor for H3K36 methylation in Arabidopsis and is important for plant development. Here, we find that EFS is expressed in different stages of embryo morphogenesis, and the efs mutant produces larger embryo that results in enlarged seeds. Further analysis reveals that an imprinted gene MOP9.5 is hypomethylated at the promoter region and its expression is derepressed in efs mutant. MOP9.5 promoter is marked by various epigenetic modifications, and we find that following the increase of H3K36me3, H3K27me3 and H3K9me2 levels are reduced in efs mutant. This data indicates an antagonistic regulation between H3K36me3 and DNA methylation, and/or H3K27me3 at MOP9.5. Our results further show that both maternal and paternal EFS alleles are responsible for the seed size regulation, which unraveled a novel function of EFS in plant development.


DNA methylation EFS histone modifications seed size gene imprinting 


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We thank all the members of The Sun Lab for useful discussions, and Prof. Barry J. Pogson for sharing the pEFS::GUS seeds, and Dr. Wen-Hui Shen for the complementation line of pEFS:EFS in efs mutant. This work was supported by National Key R&D Program (2016YFA0500800), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571322), Tsinghua-Peking Joint Center for Life Sciences, and 1000 Young Talent Program of China. S. Shafiq and Wei Xu are supported by the postdoctoral fellowships from Tsinghua-Peking Joint Center for Life Sciences.

Supplementary material

11427_2017_9236_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (570 kb)
Figure S1 DNA methylation screening of imprinted genes by Chop-PCR in flowers and buds of Col-0 and efs-3. McrBC is a methylation-sensitive enzyme that specifically digests methylated DNA, and the bands with McrBC treatment represent the non-methylation levels. Figure S2mop9.5 has a normal seed size, while MOP9.5 is methylated and is the target of RNA Pol V.
11427_2017_9236_MOESM2_ESM.docx (35 kb)
Table S1 Primers information


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lingling Cheng
    • 1
  • Sarfraz Shafiq
    • 1
  • Wei Xu
    • 1
  • Qianwen Sun
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Plant Biology, and Tsinghua-Peking Joint Center for Life Sciences, School of Life SciencesTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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