Phase separation of chromatin and small RNA pathways in plants.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Gene expression can be modulated by epigenetic mechanisms, including chromatin modifications and small regulatory RNAs. These pathways are unevenly distributed within a cell and usually take place in specific intracellular regions. Unfortunately, the fundamental driving force and biological relevance of such spatial differentiation is largely unknown. Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) is a natural propensity of demixing liquid phases and has been recently suggested to mediate the formation of biomolecular condensates that are relevant to diverse cellular processes. LLPS provides a mechanistic explanation for the self-assembly of subcellular structures by which the efficiency and specificity of certain cellular reactions are achieved. In plants, LLPS has been observed for several key factors in the chromatin and small RNA pathways. For example, the formation of facultative and obligate heterochromatin involves the LLPS of multiple relevant factors. In addition, phase separation is observed in a set of proteins acting in microRNA biogenesis and the small interfering RNA pathway. In this Focused Review, we highlight and discuss the recent findings regarding phase separation in the epigenetic mechanisms of plants.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lei, Z; Wang, L; Kim, EY; Cho, J

Published Date

  • December 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 108 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1256 - 1265

PubMed ID

  • 34585805

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-313X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0960-7412

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/tpj.15517


  • eng