Chemically-induced DNA de-methylation alters the effectiveness of microspore embryogenesis in triticale

Nowicka, A., Juzoń, K., Krzewska, M., Dziurka, M., Dubas, E., Kopeć, P., Zieliński, K., Żur, I.
Plant Science


Microspores exposed to some stress factors may display cell totipotency and could be reprogrammed towards embryogenic development. Plant breeding and genetic engineering widely use haploids/doubled haploids (DHs) derived from in vitro-cultured microspores, but the mechanism of this process remains poorly understood. Recently published data suggest that microspore embryogenesis (ME) is accompanied by changes in DNA methylation and chromatin reorganization. Here, we used two triticale DH lines (DH19 and DH28), significantly different with respect to embryogenic potential. To change DNA methylation levels, we applied two cytosineanalogs: 5-azacytidine (AC) and 2′-deoxy-5-azacytidine (DAC) treatments. We found that chemically-induced DNA demethylation caused chromatin relaxation and dysregulation of marker genes (TaTPD1-like, GSTF2, GSTA2, CHI3, Tad1, TaNF-YA7, SERK2, TaME1) related to ME. Both drugs showed significant cytotoxicity in a dose-dependent manner. We noticed that lines varied in terms of overall DNA methylation levels and responded in a different way to hypomethylation caused by the drugs. DH19 (low embryogenic) after inhibitors treatment, showed higher microspore viability, but its recalcitrancy was not overcome. For highly embryogenic DH28, we noted significantly higher effectiveness of embryo-like structure production and plant regeneration. In summary, our study provides new insight into the role of DNA methylation in ME initiation. They suggest potential benefits resulting from the utilization of epigenetic inhibitors to improve the process of DHs production.