Histone H4 acetylation patterns during seed germination and early plant development
Here we studied whether early development of Silene latifolia is accompanied with changes in acetylation of nucleosomal histones H4. Using acid-urea-triton polyacrylamide gel and immunoblotting with specific antisera the histone acetylation in relationship with transcriptional activity, measured by [C-14]-uridine incorporation, was analysed in dry and germinating seeds, seedlings, and adult leaves. We show that quiescent and germinating seeds, until the root tip is released from testa, are characterised by an absence of transcriptional activity and by a low H4 acetylation level: only mono-acetylated isoforms were present. During the postgermination period and early plantlet development, a high increase of transcriptional activity started and a sharp H4 hyperacetylation, up to the penta-acetylated isoform, was detected. We conclude that epigenetic modification by nucleosomal histone deacetylation plays a role in maintenance of global genome silencing in quiescent seeds.