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BackgroundMelon (Cucumis melo) is an important vegetable crop from the Cucurbitaceae family and a reference model specie for sex determination, fruit ripening and vascular fluxes studies. Nevertheless, the nature and role of its epigenome in gene expression regulation and more specifically in sex determination remains largely unknown.ResultsWe have investigated genome wide H3K27me3 and H3K9ac histone modifications and gene expression dynamics, in five melon organs. H3K9ac and H3K27me3 were mainly distributed along gene-rich regions and constrained to gene bodies. H3K9ac was preferentially located at the TSS, whereas H3K27me3 distributed uniformly from TSS to TES. As observed in other species, H3K9ac and H3K27me3 correlated with high and low gene expression levels, respectively. Comparative analyses of unisexual flowers pointed out sex-specific epigenetic states of TFs involved in ethylene response and flower development. Chip-qPCR analysis of laser dissected carpel and stamina primordia, revealed sex-specific histone modification of MADS-box genes. Using sex transition mutants, we demonstrated that the female promoting gene, CmACS11, represses the expression of the male promoting gene CmWIP1 via deposition of H3K27me3.ConclusionsOur findings reveal the organ-specific landscapes of H3K9ac and H3K27me3 in melon. Our results also provide evidence that the sex determination genes recruit histone modifiers to orchestrate unisexual flower development in monoecious species.

Original publication




Journal article


Epigenetics & chromatin

Publication Date





Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay (IPS2), CNRS, INRA, University Paris-Sud, University of Evry, University Paris-Diderot, Sorbonne Paris-Cite, University of Paris-Saclay, Batiment 630, 91405 Orsay, France.


Cucurbitaceae, Flowers, Histones, Plant Proteins, Epigenesis, Genetic, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Reproduction, Genome, Plant, Sex Determination Processes