Cystathionine γ-synthase expression in seeds alters metabolic and DNA methylation profiles in Arabidopsis

Aiswarya Girija (Lead Author), Yael Sachem, Shachar Dvir, Sayantan Panda, Michal Lieberman-Lazarovich, Rachel Amir (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seeds expressing the feedback-insensitive form of cystathionine γ-synthase (AtD-CGS), the key gene of methionine (Met) synthesis, under the control of a seed-specific phaseolin promoter (SSE plants) show a significant increase in Met content. This elevation is accompanied by increased levels of other amino acids (AAs), sugars, total protein, and starch, which are important from a nutritional aspect. Here, we investigated the mechanism behind this phenomenon. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of SSE leaves, siliques, and seeds collected at 3 different developmental stages showed high levels of Met, AAs, and sugars compared to the control plants. A feeding experiment with isotope-labeled AAs showed an increased flux of AAs from nonseed tissues toward the developing seeds of SSE. Transcriptome analysis of leaves and seeds displayed changes in the status of methylation-related genes in SSE plants that were further validated by methylation-sensitive enzymes and colorimetric assay. These results suggest that SSE leaves have higher DNA methylation rates than control plants. This occurrence apparently led to accelerated senescence, together with enhanced monomer synthesis, which further resulted in increased transport of monomers from the leaves toward the seeds. The developing seeds of SSE plants, however, show reduced Met levels and methylation rates. The results provide insights into the role of Met in DNA methylation and gene expression and how Met affects the metabolic profile of the plant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-610
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Methionine
  • Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana)
  • seeds
  • metabolite profiling
  • Transcriptome
  • Methylation
  • Arabidopsis/metabolism
  • Methionine/metabolism
  • DNA Methylation/genetics
  • Amino Acids/metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified/metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Seeds/metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins/metabolism


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