Epigenetic regulation of transcription in intermediate heterochromatin.
ABSTRACT: Constitutive heterochromatin is a compact, transcriptionally inert structure formed in gene-poor and repeat- and transposon-rich regions. In Arabidopsis, constitutive heterochromatin is characterized by hypermethylated DNA and histone H3 dimethylated at lysine (K) 9 (H3K9me2) together with depletion of histone H3 dimethylated at lysine 4 (H3K4me2). Here, we describe loci with intermediate properties of heterochromatin in which transcription downregulation is inherited in a manner similar to constitutive heterochromatin, although the loci are associated with opposing histone marks--H3K4me2 and H3K9me2. In the ddm1 (decrease in DNA methylation 1) mutants, their transcriptional activation is accompanied by the expected shift in the H3 modifications--depletion of H3K9me2 and enrichment in H3K4me2. In mom1 (Morpheus' molecule 1) mutants, however, a marked increase in transcription is not accompanied by detectable changes in the levels of H3K4me2 and H3K9me2. Therefore, transcriptional regulation in the intermediate heterochromatin involves two distinct epigenetic mechanisms. Interestingly, silent transgenic inserts seem to acquire properties characteristic of the intermediate heterochromatin.
Project description:RNA-directed modification of histones is essential for the maintenance of heterochromatin in higher eukaryotes. In plants, cytosine methylation is an additional factor regulating inactive chromatin, but the mechanisms regulating the coexistence of cytosine methylation and repressive histone modification remain obscure. In this study, we analysed the mechanism of gene silencing mediated by MORPHEUS' MOLECULE1 (MOM1) of Arabidopsis thaliana. Transcript profiling revealed that the majority of up-regulated loci in mom1 carry sequences related to transposons and homologous to the 24-nt siRNAs accumulated in wild-type plants that are the hallmarks of RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). Analysis of a single-copy gene, SUPPRESSOR OF drm1 drm2 cmt3 (SDC), revealed that mom1 activates SDC with concomitant reduction of di-methylated histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me2) at the tandem repeats in the promoter region without changes in siRNA accumulation and cytosine methylation. The reduction of H3K9me2 is not observed in regions flanking the tandem repeats. The results suggest that MOM1 transduces RdDM signals to repressive histone modification in the core region of RdDM.
Project description:Centromeric constitutive heterochromatin is marked by DNA methylation and dimethylated histone H3 Lys 9 (H3K9me2) in Arabidopsis. RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) is a process that uses 24-nucleotide (nt) small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to induce de novo methylation to its homologous DNA sequences. Despite the presence of centromeric 24-nt siRNAs, mutations in genes required for RdDM do not appreciably influence the methylation of centromeric repeats. The mechanism by which constitutive heterochromatin is protected from RdDM remains puzzling. Here, we report that the vegetative cell nuclei (VN) of the male gametophyte (pollen) invariably undergo extensive decondensation of centromeric heterochromatin and lose centromere identity. VN show greatly reduced H3K9me2, phenocopying nuclei carrying a mutation in the chromatin remodeller DECREASE IN DNA METHYLATION 1 (DDM1). However, unlike the situation in ddm1 nuclei, the decondensed heterochromatin retains dense CG methylation and transcriptional silencing, and, unexpectedly, is subjected to RdDM-dependent hypermethylation in non-CG contexts. These findings reveal two assembly orders of silent heterochromatin and implicate the condensed form in blocking the RdDM machinery.
Project description:Heterochromatin is an inert region in the genome and composed of mainly remnants of transposons and repetitive elements. In Arabidopsis, the major heterchromatin regions are present at around centromeres (pericentromeric regions) and at a region on the short arm of chromosome 4 (heterochromatin knob). Histones and DNAs in heterochromatin have characteristic features with abundant H3H9me2 and cytosine methylation, respectively. Here, by using a genome tiling array, we showed that a subset of heterochromatin loci are silenced by the action of Morpheus' molecule 1 (MOM1) that is an epigeneic regulator for transcriptional gene silencing independent of global DNA and histone modification. Most of the up-regulated loci in the mom1 mutant carried sequences related to transposable elements but none of them was annotated as functional transposons. No specific subclass of transposons was targeted by MOM1 and loci that were unrelated to transposons but flanked by short tandem repeats were also shown to be under the control of MOM1. The results suggest the presence of an unknown level of regulatory network maintaining the silent state of heterochromain in the genome. Keywords: Epigenetic regulation of endogenous loci by Morpheus' Molecule 1 (MOM1) Three-week-old Arabidopsis plants (Col-0 and mom1-2) grown on soil were subjected to RNA extraction and the total RNA samples were used for the microarray hybridization. Three replicative hybridization experiments for each strand array were carried out using the independent biological RNA samples.
Project description:The heterochromatic regions around centromeres of animal and plant chromosomes are composed of tandem repetitive sequences, interspersed with transposons and transposon derivatives. These sequences are largely transcriptionally silent and highly methylated, and are associated with specifically modified histones. Although embedded in heterochromatin, Arabidopsis 5S ribosomal RNA genes are among the most highly transcribed genes. However, some 5S genes are silenced, and we show here that this silencing can be suppressed by a reduction in CG methylation. Importantly, we show that mutation of MORPHEUS' MOLECULE 1 (MOM1) releases 5S repeat silencing independently of chromatin properties, as illustrated by the absence of detectable alteration of DNA and histone H3 methylation patterns. MOM1 also prevents transcription of 180-bp satellite repeats and 106B dispersed repeats but not of transposons. Our results provide evidence that transcription of densely methylated and highly repetitive heterochromatic sequences is controlled by two distinct epigenetic silencing pathways, one dependent on and the other independent of DNA methylation.
Project description:Epigenetic gene silencing is of central importance to maintain genome integrity and is mediated by an elaborate interplay between DNA methylation, histone posttranslational modifications, and chromatin remodeling complexes. DNA methylation and repressive histone marks usually correlate with transcriptionally silent heterochromatin, however there are exceptions to this relationship. In Arabidopsis, mutation of Morpheus Molecule 1 (MOM1) causes transcriptional derepression of heterochromatin independently of changes in DNA methylation. More recently, two Arabidopsis homologues of mouse microrchidia (MORC) genes have also been implicated in gene silencing and heterochromatin condensation without altering genome-wide DNA methylation patterns. In this study, we show that Arabidopsis microrchidia (AtMORC6) physically interacts with AtMORC1 and with its close homologue, AtMORC2, in two mutually exclusive protein complexes. RNA-sequencing analyses of high-order mutants indicate that AtMORC1 and AtMORC2 act redundantly to repress a common set of loci. We also examined genetic interactions between AtMORC6 and MOM1 pathways. Although AtMORC6 and MOM1 control the silencing of a very similar set of genomic loci, we observed synergistic transcriptional regulation in the mom1/atmorc6 double mutant, suggesting that these epigenetic regulators act mainly by different silencing mechanisms.
Project description:Centromeres consist of specialized centrochromatin containing CENP-A nucleosomes intermingled with H3 nucleosomes carrying transcription-associated modifications. We have designed a novel synthetic biology 'in situ epistasis' analysis in which H3 dimethylated on lysine 4 (H3K4me2) demethylase LSD2 plus synthetic modules with competing activities are simultaneously targeted to a synthetic alphoid<sup>tetO</sup> HAC centromere. This allows us to uncouple transcription from histone modifications at the centromere. Here, we report that H3K4me2 loss decreases centromeric transcription, CENP-A assembly and stability and causes spreading of H3K9me3 across the HAC, ultimately inactivating the centromere. Surprisingly, CENP-28/Eaf6-induced transcription of the alphoid<sup>tetO</sup> array associated with H4K12 acetylation does not rescue the phenotype, whereas p65-induced transcription associated with H3K9 acetylation does rescue. Thus mitotic transcription plus histone modifications including H3K9ac constitute the 'epigenetic landscape' allowing CENP-A assembly and centrochromatin maintenance. H3K4me2 is required for the transcription and H3K9ac may form a barrier to prevent heterochromatin spreading and kinetochore inactivation at human centromeres.
Project description:The SUV39 class of methyltransferase enzymes deposits histone H3 lysine 9 di- and trimethylation (H3K9me2/3), the hallmark of constitutive heterochromatin. How these enzymes are regulated to mark specific genomic regions as heterochromatic is poorly understood. Clr4 is the sole H3K9me2/3 methyltransferase in the fission yeast <i>Schizosaccharomyces pombe,</i> and recent evidence suggests that ubiquitination of lysine 14 on histone H3 (H3K14ub) plays a key role in H3K9 methylation. However, the molecular mechanism of this regulation and its role in heterochromatin formation remain to be determined. Our structure-function approach shows that the H3K14ub substrate binds specifically and tightly to the catalytic domain of Clr4, and thereby stimulates the enzyme by over 250-fold. Mutations that disrupt this mechanism lead to a loss of H3K9me2/3 and abolish heterochromatin silencing similar to <i>clr4</i> deletion. Comparison with mammalian SET domain proteins suggests that the Clr4 SET domain harbors a conserved sensor for H3K14ub, which mediates licensing of heterochromatin formation.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common heritable cause of intellectual disability and the most common known cause of autism. Most cases of FXS result from the expansion of a CGG·CCG repeat in the 5' UTR of the FMR1 gene that leads to gene silencing. It has previously been shown that silenced alleles are associated with histone H3 dimethylated at lysine 9 (H3K9Me2) and H3 trimethylated at lysine 27 (H3K27Me3), modified histones typical of developmentally repressed genes. We show here that these alleles are also associated with elevated levels of histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 9 (H3K9Me3) and histone H4 trimethylated at lysine 20 (H4K20Me3). All four of these modified histones are present on exon 1 of silenced alleles at levels comparable to that seen on pericentric heterochromatin. The two groups of histone modifications show a different distribution on fragile X alleles: H3K9Me2 and H3K27Me3 have a broad distribution, whereas H3K9Me3 and H4K20Me3 have a more focal distribution with the highest level of these marks being present in the vicinity of the repeat. This suggests that the trigger for gene silencing may be local to the repeat itself and perhaps involves a mechanism similar to that involved in the formation of pericentric heterochromatin.
Project description:Epigenetic gene silencing is of central importance to maintain genome integrity and is mediated by an elaborate interplay between DNA methylation, histone posttranslational modifications and chromatin remodeling complexes. DNA methylation and repressive histone marks usually correlate with transcriptionally silent heterochromatin, however there are exceptions to this interdependence. In Arabidopsis, mutation of MORPHEUS MOLECULE 1 (MOM1) causes transcriptional derepression of heterochromatin independently of changes in DNA methylation. More recently, two Arabidopsis homologs of mouse Microrchidia (MORC) have also been implicated in gene silencing and heterochromatin condensation without altering genome-wide DNA methylation patterns. In this study, we show that AtMORC6 physically interacts with AtMORC1 and with its close homologue AtMORC2 in two mutually exclusive protein complexes. RNA-seq analysis of high-order mutants indicates that AtMORC1 and AtMORC2 act redundantly to repress a common set of loci. We also examined the genetic interactions between AtMORC6 and MOM1 pathways. Although AtMORC6 and MOM1 control the silencing of a very similar set of genomic loci, we observed synergistic transcriptional regulation in the mom1/atmorc6 double mutant, suggesting that these epigenetic regulators act mainly by independent silencing mechanisms. RNA-seq libraries were prepared for two suites of mutants to allow direct comparisons between mutants within each set. The two sets consisted of the following samples: Set_1) A wildtype (Col) control, the morc1 mutant, the morc2 mutant, the morc1 morc2 double mutant, the morc6 mutant, and the morc1 morc2 morc6 triple mutant ; Set_2) A wildtpe (Col) control, the morc6 mutant, the mom1 mutant, and the mom1 morc6 double mutant. For each sample, two biological replicates were performed (denoted "bio_replicate_1" or "bio_replicate_2"). Whole genome bisulifte libraries were sequenced from material grown in parallel.
Project description:Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) is an important crop of temperate climate zones, which provides nearly 30 % of the world's annual sugar needs. From the total genome size of 758 Mb, only 567 Mb were incorporated in the recently published genome sequence, due to the fact that regions with high repetitive DNA contents (e.g. satellite DNAs) are only partially included. Therefore, to fill these gaps and to gain information about the repeat composition of centromeres and heterochromatic regions, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq) using antibodies against the centromere-specific histone H3 variant of sugar beet (CenH3) and the heterochromatic mark of dimethylated lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3K9me2).ChIP-Seq analysis revealed that active centromeres containing CenH3 consist of the satellite pBV and the Ty3-gypsy retrotransposon Beetle7, while heterochromatin marked by H3K9me2 exhibits heterogeneity in repeat composition. H3K9me2 was mainly associated with the satellite family pEV, the Ty1-copia retrotransposon family Cotzilla and the DNA transposon superfamily of the En/Spm type. In members of the section Beta within the genus Beta, immunostaining using the CenH3 antibody was successful, indicating that orthologous CenH3 proteins are present in closely related species within this section.The identification of repetitive genome portions by ChIP-Seq experiments complemented the sugar beet reference sequence by providing insights into the repeat composition of poorly characterized CenH3-chromatin and H3K9me2-heterochromatin. Therefore, our work provides the basis for future research and application concerning the sugar beet centromere and repeat-rich heterochromatic regions characterized by the presence of H3K9me2.