Transcriptional 'memory' of a stress: Transient chromatin and memory (epigenetic) marks at stress-response genes

Zoya Avramova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


Drought, salinity, extreme temperature variations, pathogen and herbivory attacks are recurring environmental stresses experienced by plants throughout their life. To survive repeated stresses, plants provide responses that may be different from their response during the first encounter with the stress. A different response to a similar stress represents the concept of 'stress memory'. A coordinated reaction at the organismal, cellular and gene/genome levels is thought to increase survival chances by improving the plant's tolerance/avoidance abilities. Ultimately, stress memory may provide a mechanism for acclimation and adaptation. At the molecular level, the concept of stress memory indicates that the mechanisms responsible for memory-type transcription during repeated stresses are not based on repetitive activation of the same response pathways activated by the first stress. Some recent advances in the search for transcription 'memory factors' are discussed with an emphasis on super-induced dehydration stress memory response genes in Arabidopsis. Significance Statement Chromatin as a potential epigenetic factor in the memory responses to recurrent environmental stresses is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-159
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • chromatin
  • chromatin structure and transcription
  • epigenetics
  • memory genes
  • transcriptional memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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