Histone H4 acetylation and DNA methylation dynamics during pollen development
The first pollen mitosis results in generative and vegetative cells which are characterised by a striking difference in their chromatin structure. In this study, histone H4 acetylation and DNA methylation have been analysed during pollen development in Lilium longiflorum. Indirect immunofluorescence procedures followed by epifluorescence and laser scanning microscopy enabled a relative quantification of H4 acetylation and DNA methylation in microspores, immature binucleate pollen, mature pollen, and pollen tubes. The results show that histone H4 of the vegetative nucleus, in spite of its decondensed chromatin structure, is strongly hypoacetylated at lysine positions 5 and 8 in comparison with both the original microspore nucleus and the generative-cell nucleus. These H4 terminal lysines in the vegetative nucleus are, however, progressively acetylated during the following pollen tube growth,The DNA methylation analysis inversely correlates with the histone acetylation data. The vegetative nucleus in mature pollen grains is heavily methylated, but a dramatic nonreplicative demethylation occurs during the pollen tube development. Changes neither in H4 acetylation nor in DNA methylation have been found during development of the generative nucleus. The results obtained indicate chat: the vegetative nucleus enters the quiescent state (accompanied by DNA hypermethylation and H4 underacetylation) during the maturation of pollen grain which enables pollen grains a long-term survival without external source of nutrients until they reach the stigma.