Cold stress induces enhanced chromatin accessibility and bivalent histone modifications H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 of active genes in potato
Cold stress can greatly affect plant growth and development. Plants have developed special systems to respond to and tolerate cold stress. While plant scientists have discovered numerous genes involved in responses to cold stress, few studies have been dedicated to investigation of genome-wide chromatin dynamics induced by cold or other abiotic stresses. Results: Genomic regions containing active cis-regulatory DNA elements can be identified as DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHSs). We develop
... HSs). We develop high-resolution DHS maps in potato (Solanum tuberosum) using chromatin isolated from tubers stored under room (22°C) and cold (4°C) conditions. We find that cold stress induces a large number of DHSs enriched in genic regions which are frequently associated with differential gene expression in response to temperature variation. Surprisingly, active genes show enhanced chromatin accessibility upon cold stress. A large number of active genes in cold-stored tubers are associated with the bivalent H3K4me3-H3K27me3 mark in gene body regions. Interestingly, upregulated genes associated with the bivalent mark are involved in stress response, whereas downregulated genes with the bivalent mark are involved in developmental processes. In addition, we observe that the bivalent markassociated genes are more accessible than others upon cold stress. Conclusions: Collectively, our results suggest that cold stress induces enhanced chromatin accessibility and bivalent histone modifications of active genes. We hypothesize that in cold-stored tubers, the bivalent H3K4me3-H3K27me3 mark represents a distinct chromatin environment with greater accessibility, which may facilitate the access of regulatory proteins required for gene upregulation or downregulation in response to cold stress.