Induction of RNA-directed DNA methylation upon decondensation of constitutive heterochromatin.
ABSTRACT: 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:Eukaryotic DNA methylation is found in silent transposable elements and active genes. Nucleosome remodelers of the DDM1/Lsh family are thought to be specifically required to maintain transposon methylation, but the reason for this is unknown. Here, we find that a chromatin gradient that extends from the most heterochromatic transposons to euchromatic genes determines the requirement of DDM1 for methylation maintenance in all sequence contexts. We also show that small RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) is inhibited by heterochromatin and absolutely requires the nucleosome remodeler DRD1. DDM1 and RdDM independently mediate nearly all transposon methylation, which is catalyzed by the methyltransferases MET1 (CG), CMT3 (CHG), DRM2 (CHH) and CMT2 (CHH), and collaborate to repress transposition and regulate the methylation and expression of genes. Our results indicate that the Arabidopsis genome is defined by a heterochromatic continuum that governs the access of DNA methyltransferases and potentially all DNA binding proteins. Examination of DNA methylation, transcription and nucleosomes in Arabidopsis wild-type and/or ddm1, RdDM and DNA methylase mutants.
Project description:Nucleosome remodelers of the DDM1/Lsh family are required for DNA methylation of transposable elements, but the reason for this is unknown. How DDM1 interacts with other methylation pathways, such as small-RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM), which is thought to mediate plant asymmetric methylation through DRM enzymes, is also unclear. Here, we show that most asymmetric methylation is facilitated by DDM1 and mediated by the methyltransferase CMT2 separately from RdDM. We find that heterochromatic sequences preferentially require DDM1 for DNA methylation and that this preference depends on linker histone H1. RdDM is instead inhibited by heterochromatin and absolutely requires the nucleosome remodeler DRD1. Together, DDM1 and RdDM mediate nearly all transposon methylation and collaborate to repress transposition and regulate the methylation and expression of genes. Our results indicate that DDM1 provides DNA methyltransferases access to H1-containing heterochromatin to allow stable silencing of transposable elements in cooperation with the RdDM pathway.
Project description:RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) functions in de novo methylation in CG, CHG, and CHH contexts. Here, we performed map-based cloning of <i>OsNRPE1</i>, which encodes the largest subunit of RNA polymerase V (Pol V), a key regulator of gene silencing and reproductive development in rice. We found that rice Pol V is required for CHH methylation on RdDM loci by transcribing long noncoding RNAs. Pol V influences the accumulation of 24-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (24-nt siRNAs) in a locus-specific manner. Biosynthesis of 24-nt siRNAs on loci with high CHH methylation levels and low CG and CHG methylation levels tends to depend on Pol V. In contrast, low methylation levels in the CHH context and high methylation levels in CG and CHG contexts predisposes 24-nt siRNA accumulation to be independent of Pol V. H3K9me1 and H3K9me2 tend to be enriched on Pol V-independent 24-nt siRNA loci, whereas various active histone modifications are enriched on Pol V-dependent 24-nt siRNA loci. DNA methylation is required for 24-nt siRNAs biosynthesis on Pol V-dependent loci but not on Pol V-independent loci. Our results reveal the function of rice Pol V for long noncoding RNA production, DNA methylation, 24-nt siRNA accumulation, and reproductive development.
Project description:Gametes constitute a critical stage of the plant life cycle during which the genome undergoes reprogramming in preparation for embryogenesis. Here, we examined genome-wide distributions of small RNAs in the sperm and egg cells of rice. We found that 24-nt siRNAs, which are a hallmark of RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) in plants, were depleted from heterochromatin boundaries in both gametes relative to vegetative tissues, reminiscent of siRNA patterns in DDM1-type nucleosome remodeler mutants. In sperm cells, 24-nt siRNAs were spread across heterochromatic regions, while in egg cells, 24-nt siRNAs were concentrated at a smaller number of heterochromatic loci throughout the genome, especially at loci which also produced siRNAs in other tissues. In both gametes, patterns of CHH methylation, typically a strong indicator of RdDM, were similar to vegetative tissues, although lower in magnitude. These findings indicate that the small RNA transcriptome undergoes large-scale redistribution in both male and female gametes, which is not correlated with recruitment of DNA methyltransferases in gametes and suggestive of unexplored regulatory activities of gamete small RNAs.
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:The diversity of small RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) mechanisms have been underestimated due to the nearly complete transcriptional silencing of transposable elements (TEs) in the wild-type reference strains of Arabidopsis thaliana. In plants mutant for the SWI/SNF histone remodeler DDM1, TEs are globally activated due to loss of genome wide heterochromatin condensation. Transcriptionally activated TEs go through additional non-canonical forms of RdDM that are dependent on RNA Polymerase II expression. However, the global targets of the non-canonical RdDM pathway have not been explored. In an attempt to identify and contrast the targets of canonical and expression-dependent non-canonical RdDM, we performed MethylC-seq of genome-wide DNA methylation patterns from several RdDM mutants in either the TE-silent or the TE-active (ddm1) contexts. Arabidopsis wildtype and twenty RdDM pathway mutants
Project description:Heterochromatin silencing is pivotal for genome stability in eukaryotes. In Arabidopsis, a plant-specific mechanism called RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) is involved in heterochromatin silencing. Histone deacetylase HDA6 has been identified as a component of such machineries; however, its endogenous targets and the silencing mechanisms have not been analyzed globally. In this study, we investigated the silencing mechanism mediated by HDA6. Genome-wide transcript profiling revealed that the loci silenced by HDA6 carried sequences corresponding to the RDR2-dependent 24-nt siRNAs, however their transcript levels were mostly unaffected in the rdr2 mutant. Strikingly, we observed significant overlap of genes silenced by HDA6 to those by the CG DNA methyltransferase MET1. Furthermore, regardless of dependence on RdDM pathway, HDA6 deficiency resulted in loss of heterochromatic epigenetic marks and aberrant enrichment for euchromatic marks at HDA6 direct targets, along with ectopic expression of these loci. Acetylation levels increased significantly in the hda6 mutant at all of the lysine residues in the H3 and H4 N-tails, except H4K16. Interestingly, we observed two different CG methylation statuses in the hda6 mutant. CG methylation was sustained in the hda6 mutant at some HDA6 target loci that were surrounded by flanking DNA-methylated regions. In contrast, complete loss of CG methylation occurred in the hda6 mutant at the HDA6 target loci that were isolated from flanking DNA methylation. Regardless of CG methylation status, CHG and CHH methylation were lost and transcriptional derepression occurred in the hda6 mutant. Furthermore, we show that HDA6 binds only to its target loci, not the flanking methylated DNA, indicating the profound target specificity of HDA6. We propose that HDA6 regulates locus-directed heterochromatin silencing in cooperation with MET1, possibly recruiting MET1 to specific loci, thus forming the foundation of silent chromatin structure for subsequent non-CG methylation.
Project description:The diversity of small RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) mechanisms have been underestimated due to the nearly complete transcriptional silencing of transposable elements (TEs) in the wt Col ecotype of Arabidopsis thaliana. In plants mutant for the SWI/SNF2 histone remodeler DDM1, TEs are globally activated due to loss of genome wide heterochromatin condensation. Activated TEs go through additional non-canonical forms of RdDM. However, the global targets of the non-canonical RdDM pathway are unidentified. In an attempt to identify and contrast the targets of canonical and non-canonical RdDM, we sequenced small RNAs from several RdDM mutants in either the TE-silent or the TE-active (ddm1) contexts. Examination of unopened flower bud small RNAs from wild type and various single or double mutant combinations, many of which have biological replicates. Small RNA sequences from wt Col, controls and other mutants shown in the study are available at GSE41755 and GSE57191.
Project description:Background: The majority of plant transposable elements (TEs) are found in a silenced state that is epigenetically propagated by the maintenance of symmetrical DNA methylation. TE methylation is established and reinforced by a mechanism of RNA-dependent DNA methylation, which is dependent on transcription of the PolIV RNA polymerase. Recently, a pathway has been described that initiates de novo DNA methylation dependent on components of the RNAi post-transcriptional silencing pathway, independent of PolIV. To define the function of this new pathway, we have focused on the RDR6 protein, which plays a central role in the pathway we refer to as RDR6-dependent RNA-directed DNA Methylation (RDR6-RdDM). Methods: We have sequenced total small RNAs from wild-type and three mutant genotypes: ddm1, ddm1/rdr6, and rdr6. Conclusions: We demonstrate that RDR6-RdDM utilizes 21 and 22 nucleotide siRNAs to de novo methylate actively transcribing TEs. In addition, we find that the RDR6-RdDM pathway functions in the efficient initiation and re-establishment of TE transcriptional silencing, while it is not necessary to maintain trans-generational epigenetic silencing. Examination of flower bud small RNAs from wild-type and 3 mutant genotypes
Project description: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.