The chromomethylase (CMT) protein family is unique to plants and controls non-CpG methylation. Here, we investigated the developmental expression of CMT3-2 in Nicotiana benthamiana (NbCMT3-2) and its significance by analyzing plants with silenced NbCMT3-2 and leaf tissues transiently expressing the N-terminal polypeptide. Alignment of the NbCMT3-2 amino acid sequence with that of other plant CMT3s showed a specific N-terminal extension required for nuclear localization. Transient expression of the N-terminal polypeptide in N. benthamiana resulted in chlorotic lesions. NbCMT3-2 was expressed mainly in proliferating tissues such as the shoot apex and developing leaves. We generated transgenic N. benthamiana harboring a fusion reporter construct linking the NbCMT3-2 promoter region and the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter (pNbCMT3-2::GUS) to analyze the tissue-specific expression of NbCMT3-2. NbCMT3-2 was expressed in the shoot and root apical meristem and leaf primordia in young seedlings and highly expressed in developing leaves and ovary as well as lateral buds in mature plants. Virus-induced gene silencing used to knock down the expression of NbCMT3 or NbCMT3-2 or both led to partial loss of genomic DNA methylation. Plants with suppressed NbCMT3 expression grew and developed normally, whereas leaves with NbCMT3-2 knockdown showed mild curling as compared with controls. Silencing NbCMT3/3-2 severely interfered with leaf development and directly or indirectly affected the expression of genes involved in jasmonate homeostasis. The differential roles of NbCMT3 and NbCMT3-2 were investigated and compared. We reveal the expression patterns of NbCMT3-2 in proliferating tissues. NbCMT3-2 may play an essential role in leaf development by modulating jasmonate pathways.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology