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  1. Chen, Xuemei (Ed.)
    Gene expression in endosperm—a seed tissue that mediates transfer of maternal resources to offspring—is under complex epigenetic control. We show here that plant-specific RNA polymerase IV (Pol IV) mediates parental control of endosperm gene expression. Pol IV is required for the production of small interfering RNAs that typically direct DNA methylation. We compared small RNAs (sRNAs), DNA methylation, and mRNAs in Arabidopsis thaliana endosperm from heterozygotes produced by reciprocally crossing wild-type (WT) plants to Pol IV mutants. We find that maternally and paternally acting Pol IV induce distinct effects on endosperm. Loss of maternal or paternal Pol IV impacts sRNAs and DNA methylation at different genomic sites. Strikingly, maternally and paternally acting Pol IV have antagonistic impacts on gene expression at some loci, divergently promoting or repressing endosperm gene expression. Antagonistic parent-of-origin effects have only rarely been described and are consistent with a gene regulatory system evolving under parental conflict.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 7, 2023