Transduction of RNA-directed DNA methylation signals to repressive histone marks in Arabidopsis thaliana.
ABSTRACT: 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:<h4>Unlabelled</h4><h4>Background</h4>Cytosine methylation is an important chromatin modification that maintains genome integrity and regulates gene expression through transcriptional gene silencing. Major players in de novo methylation guided by siRNAs (known as RNA-directed DNA methylation, or RdDM), maintenance methylation, and active demethylation have been identified in Arabidopsis. However, active demethylation only occurs at a subset of RdDM loci, raising the question of how the homeostasis of DNA methylation is achieved at most RdDM loci. To identify factors that regulate the levels of cytosine methylation, we aimed to establish a transgenic reporter system that allows for forward genetic screens in Arabidopsis.<h4>Results</h4>We introduced a dual 35 S promoter (d35S) driven luciferase reporter, LUCH, into Arabidopsis and isolated a line with a moderate level of luciferase activity. LUCH produced transgene-specific 24 nucleotide siRNAs and its d35S contained methylated cytosine in CG, CHG and CHH contexts. Treatment of the transgenic line with an inhibitor of cytosine methylation de-repressed luciferase activity. Mutations in several components of the RdDM pathway but not the maintenance methylation genes resulted in reduced d35S methylation, especially CHH methylation, and de-repression of luciferase activity. A mutation in MOM1, which is known to cooperate with RdDM to silence transposons, reduced d35S DNA methylation and de-repressed LUCH expression. A mutation in ROS1, a cytosine demethylation enzyme, increased d35S methylation and reduced LUCH expression.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We developed a luciferase-based reporter, LUCH, which reports both DNA methylation directed by small RNAs and active demethylation by ROS1 in Arabidopsis. The moderate basal level of LUCH expression allows for bi-directional genetic screens that dissect the mechanisms of DNA methylation as well as demethylation.
Project description:RNA molecules such as small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and antisense RNAs (asRNAs) trigger chromatin silencing of target loci. In the model plant Arabidopsis, RNA-triggered chromatin silencing involves repressive histone modifications such as histone deacetylation, histone H3 lysine-9 methylation, and H3 lysine-27 monomethylation. Here, we report that two Arabidopsis homologs of the human histone-binding proteins Retinoblastoma-Associated Protein 46/48 (RbAp46/48), known as MSI4 (or FVE) and MSI5, function in partial redundancy in chromatin silencing of various loci targeted by siRNAs or asRNAs. We show that MSI5 acts in partial redundancy with FVE to silence FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which is a crucial floral repressor subject to asRNA-mediated silencing, FLC homologs, and other loci including transposable and repetitive elements which are targets of siRNA-directed DNA Methylation (RdDM). Both FVE and MSI5 associate with HISTONE DEACETYLASE 6 (HDA6) to form complexes and directly interact with the target loci, leading to histone deacetylation and transcriptional silencing. In addition, these two genes function in de novo CHH (H?=?A, T, or C) methylation and maintenance of symmetric cytosine methylation (mainly CHG methylation) at endogenous RdDM target loci, and they are also required for establishment of cytosine methylation in the previously unmethylated sequences directed by the RdDM pathway. This reveals an important functional divergence of the plant RbAp46/48 relatives from animal counterparts.
Project description:The gene pool encoding PRR and NLR immune receptors determines the ability of a plant to resist microbial infections. Basal expression of these genes is prevented by diverse mechanisms since their hyperactivity can be harmful. To approach the study of epigenetic control of <i>PRR</i>/<i>NLR</i> genes we here analyzed their expression in mutants carrying abnormal repressive 5-methyl cytosine (5-mC) and histone 3 lysine 9 dimethylation (H3K9me2) marks, due to lack of MET1, CMT3, MOM1, SUVH4/5/6, or DDM1. At optimal growth conditions, none of the mutants showed basal expression of the defense gene marker <i>PR1</i>, but all of them had greater resistance to <i>Pseudomonas syringae</i> pv. <i>tomato</i> than wild type plants, suggesting they are primed to stimulate immune cascades. Consistently, analysis of available transcriptomes indicated that all mutants showed activation of particular <i>PRR/NLR</i> genes under some growth conditions. Under low defense activation, 37 <i>PRR</i>/<i>NLR</i> genes were expressed in these plants, but 29 of them were exclusively activated in specific mutants, indicating that MET1, CMT3, MOM1, SUVH4/5/6, and DDM1 mediate basal repression of different subsets of genes. Some epigenetic marks present at promoters, but not gene bodies, could explain the activation of these genes in the mutants. As expected, <i>suvh4/5/6</i> and <i>ddm1</i> activated genes carrying 5-mC and H3K9me2 marks in wild type plants. Surprisingly, all mutants expressed genes harboring promoter H2A.Z/H3K27me3 marks likely affected by the chromatin remodeler PIE1 and the histone demethylase REF6, respectively. Therefore, MET1, CMT3, MOM1, SUVH4/5/6, and DDM1, together with REF6, seemingly contribute to the establishment of chromatin states that prevent constitutive <i>PRR/NLR</i> gene activation, but facilitate their priming by modulating epigenetic marks at their promoters.
Project description:In plants, silencing is usually accompanied by DNA methylation and heterochromatic histone marks. We studied these epigenetic modifications in different epialleles of 35S promoter (P35S)-driven tobacco transgenes. In locus 1, the T-DNA was organized as an inverted repeat, and the residing neomycin phosphotransferase II reporter gene (P35S-nptII) was silenced at the posttranscriptional (PTGS) level. Transcriptionally silenced (TGS) epialleles were generated by trans-acting RNA signals in hybrids or in a callus culture. PTGS to TGS conversion in callus culture was accompanied by loss of the euchromatic H3K4me3 mark in the transcribed region of locus 1, but this change was not transmitted to the regenerated plants from these calli. In contrast, cytosine methylation that spread from the transcribed region into the promoter was maintained in regenerants. Also, the TGS epialleles generated by trans-acting siRNAs did not change their active histone modifications. Thus, both TGS and PTGS epialleles exhibit euchromatic (H3K4me3 and H3K9ac) histone modifications despite heavy DNA methylation in the promoter and transcribed region, respectively. However, in the TGS locus (271), abundant heterochromatic H3K9me2 marks and DNA methylation were present on P35S. Heterochromatic histone modifications are not automatically installed on transcriptionally silenced loci in tobacco, suggesting that repressive histone marks and cytosine methylation may be uncoupled. However, transient loss of euchromatic modifications may guide de novo DNA methylation leading to formation of stable repressed epialleles with recovered eukaryotic marks. Compilation of available data on epigenetic modification of inactivated P35S in different systems is provided.
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:RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) and histone H3 lysine 9 dimethylation (H3K9me2) are related transcriptional silencing mechanisms that target transposable elements (TEs) and repeats to maintain genome stability in plants. RdDM is mediated by small and long noncoding RNAs produced by the plant-specific RNA polymerases Pol IV and Pol V, respectively. Through a chemical genetics screen with a luciferase-based DNA methylation reporter, LUCL, we found that camptothecin, a compound with anti-cancer properties that targets DNA topoisomerase 1? (TOP1?) was able to de-repress LUCL by reducing its DNA methylation and H3K9me2 levels. Further studies with Arabidopsis top1? mutants showed that TOP1? silences endogenous RdDM loci by facilitating the production of Pol V-dependent long non-coding RNAs, AGONAUTE4 recruitment and H3K9me2 deposition at TEs and repeats. This study assigned a new role in epigenetic silencing to an enzyme that affects DNA topology.
Project description:MOM1 is an Arabidopsis factor previously shown to mediate transcriptional silencing independent of major DNA methylation changes. Here we found that MOM1 localizes with sites of RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). Tethering MOM1 with artificial zinc finger to unmethylated FWA promoter led to establishment of DNA methylation and FWA silencing. This process was blocked by mutations in components of the Pol V arm of the RdDM machinery, as well as by mutation of MORC6. We found that at some endogenous RdDM sites, MOM1 is required to maintain DNA methylation and a closed chromatin state. In addition, efficient silencing of newly introduced FWA transgenes was impaired by mutation of MOM1 or mutation of genes encoding the MOM1 interacting PIAL1/2 proteins. In addition to RdDM sites, we identified a group of MOM1 peaks at active chromatin near genes that colocalized with MORC6. These findings demonstrate a multifaceted role of MOM1 in genome regulation.
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: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: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.