J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2020, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (5): 563-580.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12901

Special Issue: Abiotic stress

• Invited Expert Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Epigenetic regulation in plant abiotic stress responses

Ya-Nan Chang1,2, Chen Zhu1, Jing Jiang3, Huiming Zhang1,3, Jian-Kang Zhu1,4 and Cheng-Guo Duan1,3*   

  1. 1Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology and Center of Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201602, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Adaptation and Improvement, School of Life Sciences, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
    4Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

    Email: Cheng-Guo Duan (cgduan@sibs.ac.cn)
  • Received:2019-12-19 Accepted:2020-02-20 Online:2020-02-23 Published:2020-05-01


In eukaryotic cells, gene expression is greatly influenced by the dynamic chromatin environment. Epigenetic mechanisms, including covalent modifications to DNA and histone tails and the accessibility of chromatin, create various chromatin states for stress‐responsive gene expression that is important for adaptation to harsh environmental conditions. Recent studies have revealed that many epigenetic factors participate in abiotic stress responses, and various chromatin modifications are changed when plants are exposed to stressful environments. In this review, we summarize recent progress on the cross‐talk between abiotic stress response pathways and epigenetic regulatory pathways in plants. Our review focuses on epigenetic regulation of plant responses to extreme temperatures, drought, salinity, the stress hormone abscisic acid, nutrient limitations and ultraviolet stress, and on epigenetic mechanisms of stress memory.

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