Plants exposed to certain abiotic stress conditions tend to produce the amino acid proline, which acts as an active osmolyte, a metal chelator, an antioxidant, and a signaling molecule. There is increasing evidence that proline accumulates in plants due to a wide range of abiotic stress, in particular high soil salinity and drought. Therefore, proline content is often used as a marker-assisted breeding tool aimed at improving drought and salinity tolerance.
Proline accumulation is involved in plant osmotic stress tolerance. Given that DNA methylation is related to almost all metabolic processes through regulation of gene expression, we suspected that this epigenetic modification and proline biosynthesis are probably related. To test this, we investigated whether osmotic stress-induced proline accumulation is associated with DNA methylation modifications in rice.