Genome-wide maps of histone modifications have been obtained for several plant species. However, most studies focus on model systems and do not enforce FAIR data management principles. Here we study the H3K27me3 epigenome and associated transcriptome of Brassica rapa, an important vegetable cultivated worldwide.
We performed H3K27me3 chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing and transcriptomic analysis by 3'-end RNA sequencing from B. rapa leaves and inflorescences. To analyze these data we developed a Reproducible Epigenomic Analysis pipeline using Galaxy and Jupyter, packaged into Docker images to facilitate transparency and reuse. We found that H3K27me3 covers roughly one-third of all B. rapa protein-coding genes and its presence correlates with low transcript levels. The comparative analysis between leaves and inflorescences suggested that the expression of various floral regulatory genes during development depends on H3K27me3. To demonstrate the importance of H3K27me3 for B. rapa development, we characterized a mutant line deficient in the H3K27 methyltransferase activity. We found that braA.clf mutant plants presented pleiotropic alterations, e.g., curly leaves due to increased expression and reduced H3K27me3 levels at AGAMOUS-like loci.
We characterized the epigenetic mark H3K27me3 at genome-wide levels and provide genetic evidence for its relevance in B. rapa development. Our work reveals the epigenomic landscape of H3K27me3 in B. rapa and provides novel genomics datasets and bioinformatics analytical resources. We anticipate that this work will lead the way to further epigenomic studies in the complex genome of Brassica crops.