Mating system is associated with seed phenotypes upon loss of RNA-directed DNA methylation in Brassicaceae

Kelly J. Dew-Budd, Hiu Tung Chow, Timmy Kendall, Brandon C. David, James A. Rozelle, Rebecca A. Mosher, Mark A. Beilstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In plants, de novo DNA methylation is guided by 24-nt short interfering (si)RNAs in a process called RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). Primarily targeted at transposons, RdDM causes transcriptional silencing and can indirectly influence expression of neighboring genes. During reproduction, a small number of siRNA loci are dramatically upregulated in the maternally derived seed coat, suggesting that RdDM might have a special function during reproduction. However, the developmental consequence of RdDM has been difficult to dissect because disruption of RdDM does not result in overt phenotypes in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), where the pathway has been most thoroughly studied. In contrast, Brassica rapa mutants lacking RdDM have a severe seed production defect, which is determined by the maternal sporophytic genotype. To explore the factors that underlie the different phenotypes of these species, we produced RdDM mutations in 3 additional members of the Brassicaceae family: Camelina sativa, Capsella rubella, and Capsella grandiflora. Among these 3 species, only mutations in the obligate outcrosser, C. grandiflora, displayed a seed production defect similar to Brassica rapa mutants, suggesting that mating system is a key determinant for reproductive phenotypes in RdDM mutants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2136-2148
Number of pages13
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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