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:UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSION: 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: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: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: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:In plants, RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) and related transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) involve members of the suppressor of variegation 3-9-homologous (SUVH) group of putative histone methyltransferases. Utilizing a reverse genetic approach in Arabidopsis thaliana, we demonstrate that two closely related SUVH members, SUVH2 and SUVH9, act partially non-redundant in RdDM. DNA methylation, transcript accumulation and association with histone modifications were analyzed at the endogenous RdDM target AtSN1 (a SINE-like retroelement) in suvh2 and suvh9 single as well as suvh2 suvh9 double mutants. SUVH2 was found to be required for full DNA methylation at AtSN1 in early seed development and was also higher expressed in seeds than at later developmental stages. SUVH9 had its impact on RdDM later during vegetative development of the plant and was also higher expressed during that stage than at earlier developmental stages. The strongest reduction of RdDM at AtSN1 was found in suvh2 suvh9 double mutant plants. Histone 3-lysine 9-dimethylation (H3K9me2) associated with AtSN1 was reduced only in the simultaneous absence of functional SUVH2 and SUVH9. Thus, SUVH2 and SUVH9 functions in RdDM and TGS are overlapping in spite of some developmental specialization. Pol V specific transcripts were reduced in suvh2 suvh9 plants. This might indicate a role of these SUVH proteins in Pol V complex recruitment.
Project description:The SU(VAR)3-9-like histone methyltransferases usually catalyze repressive histone H3K9 methylation and are involved in transcriptional gene silencing in eukaryotic organisms. We identified a putative SU(VAR)3-9-like histone methyltransferase SUVR2 by a forward genetic screen and demonstrated that it is involved in transcriptional gene silencing at genomic loci targeted by RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). We found that SUVR2 has no histone methyltransferase activity and the conserved catalytic sites of SUVR2 are dispensable for the function of SUVR2 in transcriptional silencing. SUVR2 forms a complex with its close homolog SUVR1 and associate with three previously uncharacterized SNF2-related chromatin-remodeling proteins CHR19, CHR27, and CHR28. SUVR2 was previously thought to be a component in the RdDM pathway. We demonstrated that SUVR2 contributes to transcriptional gene silencing not only at a subset of RdDM target loci but also at many RdDM-independent target loci. Our study suggests that the involvement of SUVR2 in transcriptional gene silencing is related to nucleosome positioning mediated by its associated chromatin-remodeling proteins.
Project description:DNA methylation and histone modification exert epigenetic control over gene expression. CHG methylation by CHROMOMETHYLASE3 (CMT3) depends on histone H3K9 dimethylation (H3K9me2), but the mechanism underlying this relationship is poorly understood. Here, we report multiple lines of evidence that CMT3 interacts with H3K9me2-containing nucleosomes. CMT3 genome locations nearly perfectly correlated with H3K9me2, and CMT3 stably associated with H3K9me2-containing nucleosomes. Crystal structures of maize CMT3 homolog ZMET2, in complex with H3K9me2 peptides, showed that ZMET2 binds H3K9me2 via both bromo adjacent homology (BAH) and chromo domains. The structures reveal an aromatic cage within both BAH and chromo domains as interaction interfaces that capture H3K9me2. Mutations that abolish either interaction disrupt CMT3 binding to nucleosomes and show a complete loss of CMT3 activity in vivo. Our study establishes dual recognition of H3K9me2 marks by BAH and chromo domains and reveals a distinct mechanism of interplay between DNA methylation and histone modification.
Project description:Epigenetic modifications operate in concert to maintain cell identity, yet how these interconnected networks suppress alternative cell fates remains unknown. Here, we uncover a link between the removal of repressive histone H3K9 methylation and DNA methylation during the reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency. The H3K9me2 demethylase, Kdm3b, transcriptionally controls DNA hydroxymethylase Tet1 expression. Unexpectedly, in the absence of Kdm3b, loci that must be DNA demethylated are trapped in an intermediate hydroxymethylated (5hmC) state and do not resolve to unmethylated cytosine. Ectopic 5hmC trapping precludes the chromatin association of master pluripotency factor, POU5F1, and pluripotent gene activation. Increased Tet1 expression is important for the later intermediates of the reprogramming process. Taken together, coordinated removal of distinct chromatin modifications appears to be an important mechanism for altering cell identity.