Real-time visualization of plant epigenetic dynamics

April 18, 2017

A fragment of the mouse antibody recognizes an antigen in a living plant cell

A joint research group led by researchers from Tokyo University of Science, RIKEN CSRS and the Tokyo Institute of Technology has developed a method for live-cell imaging of plant epigenetic changes by expression of a fragment of the mouse antibody.

Researchers created the transgenic tobacco cultured cells, which expresses the mintbody (modification-specific intracellular antibody, a fluorescent protein fused to an antibody fragment). The mintbody recognized an acetylated lysine residue, which is a type of histone modification. Live-cell imaging, inhibitor experiments and biochemical experiments revealed that the mintbody correctly recognizes histone acetylation on lysine residues. This is the first report of a mouse-derived mintbody working in a plant cell. Plants do not have intracellular antibodies. Because the antibody fragment was produced in the plant cells and recognized the plant histone modification, our results could lead to develop a new functional tool for plant research.

These results make it possible to analyze epigenetic changes in plants over a time course and should contribute to progress in understanding epigenetic-controlled plant environmental responses and elucidating environmental memory mechanisms. The ability to express an animal antibody fragment in a plant cell and conduct biochemical and cell biology research should also greatly contribute to plant science and agricultural research.


Original article
Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep45894
K. Kurita, T. Sakamoto, N. Yagi, Y. Sakamoto, A. Ito, N. Nishino, K. Sako, M. Yoshida, H. Kimura, M. Seki, S. Matsunaga,
"Live imaging of H3K9 acetylation in plant cells".

Motoaki Seki; Team Leader, Plant Genomic Network Research Team
Minoru Yoshida; Group Director, Chemical Genomics Research Group