RNA-directed DNA methylation regulates parental genomic imprinting at several loci in Arabidopsis.
ABSTRACT: In mammals and plants, parental genomic imprinting restricts the expression of specific loci to one parental allele. Imprinting in mammals relies on sex-dependent de novo deposition of DNA methylation during gametogenesis but a comparable mechanism was not shown in plants. Rather, paternal silencing by the maintenance DNA methyltransferase 1 (MET1) and maternal activation by the DNA demethylase DEMETER (DME) cause maternal expression. However, genome-wide studies suggested other DNA methylation-dependent imprinting mechanisms. Here, we show that de novo RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) regulates imprinting at specific loci expressed in endosperm. RdDM in somatic tissues is required to silence expression of the paternal allele. By contrast, the repression of RdDM in female gametes participates with or without DME requirement in the activation of the maternal allele. The contrasted activity of DNA methylation between male and female gametes appears sufficient to prime imprinted maternal expression. After fertilization, MET1 maintains differential expression between the parental alleles. RdDM depends on small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). The involvement of RdDM in imprinting supports the idea that sources of siRNAs such as transposons and de novo DNA methylation were recruited in a convergent manner in plants and mammals in the evolutionary process leading to selection of imprinted loci.
Project description:Parental genomic imprinting causes preferential expression of one of the two parental alleles. In mammals, differential sex-dependent deposition of silencing DNA methylation marks during gametogenesis initiates a new cycle of imprinting. Parental genomic imprinting has been detected in plants and relies on DNA methylation by the methyltransferase MET1. However, in contrast to mammals, plant imprints are created by differential removal of silencing marks during gametogenesis. In Arabidopsis, DNA demethylation is mediated by the DNA glycosylase DEMETER (DME) causing activation of imprinted genes at the end of female gametogenesis. On the basis of genetic interactions, we show that in addition to DME, the plant homologs of the human Retinoblastoma (Rb) and its binding partner RbAp48 are required for the activation of the imprinted genes FIS2 and FWA. This Rb-dependent activation is mediated by direct transcriptional repression of MET1 during female gametogenesis. We have thus identified a new mechanism required for imprinting establishment, outlining a new role for the Retinoblastoma pathway, which may be conserved in mammals.
Project description:Imprinting, i.e. parent-of-origin expression of alleles, plays an important role in regulating development in mammals and plants. DNA methylation catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases plays a pivotal role in regulating imprinting by silencing parental alleles. DEMETER (DME), a DNA glycosylase functioning in the base-excision DNA repair pathway, can excise 5-methylcytosine from DNA and regulate genomic imprinting in Arabidopsis. DME demethylates the maternal MEDEA (MEA) promoter in endosperm, resulting in expression of the maternal MEA allele. However, it is not known whether DME interacts with other proteins in regulating gene imprinting. Here we report the identification of histone H1.2 as a DME-interacting protein in a yeast two-hybrid screen, and confirmation of their interaction by the in vitro pull-down assay. Genetic analysis of the loss-of-function histone h1 mutant showed that the maternal histone H1 allele is required for DME regulation of MEA, FWA and FIS2 imprinting in Arabidopsis endosperm but the paternal allele is dispensable. Furthermore, we show that mutations in histone H1 result in an increase of DNA methylation in the maternal MEA and FWA promoter in endosperm. Our results suggest that histone H1 is involved in DME-mediated DNA methylation and gene regulation at imprinted loci.
Project description:MEDEA (MEA) is an Arabidopsis Polycomb group gene that is imprinted in the endosperm. The maternal allele is expressed and the paternal allele is silent. MEA is controlled by DEMETER (DME), a DNA glycosylase required to activate MEA expression, and METHYLTRANSFERASE I (MET1), which maintains CG methylation at the MEA locus. Here we show that DME is responsible for endosperm maternal-allele-specific hypomethylation at the MEA gene. DME can excise 5-methylcytosine in vitro and when expressed in E. coli. Abasic sites opposite 5-methylcytosine inhibit DME activity and might prevent DME from generating double-stranded DNA breaks. Unexpectedly, paternal-allele silencing is not controlled by DNA methylation. Rather, Polycomb group proteins that are expressed from the maternal genome, including MEA, control paternal MEA silencing. Thus, DME establishes MEA imprinting by removing 5-methylcytosine to activate the maternal allele. MEA imprinting is subsequently maintained in the endosperm by maternal MEA silencing the paternal allele.
Project description:Genomic imprinting, an epigenetic process in mammals and flowering plants, refers to the differential expression of alleles of the same genes in a parent-of-origin-specific manner. In Arabidopsis, imprinting occurs primarily in the endosperm, which nourishes the developing embryo. Recent high-throughput sequencing analyses revealed that more than 200 loci are imprinted in Arabidopsis; however, only a few of these imprinted genes and their imprinting mechanisms have been examined in detail. Whereas most imprinted loci characterized to date are maternally expressed imprinted genes (MEGs), PHERES1 (PHE1) and ADMETOS (ADM) are paternally expressed imprinted genes (PEGs). Here, we report that UPWARD CURLY LEAF1 (UCL1), a gene encoding an E3 ligase that degrades the CURLY LEAF (CLF) polycomb protein, is a PEG. After fertilization, paternally inherited UCL1 is expressed in the endosperm, but not in the embryo. The expression pattern of a ?-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene driven by the UCL1 promoter suggests that the imprinting control region (ICR) of UCL1 is adjacent to a transposable element in the UCL1 5'-upstream region. Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) silences the maternal UCL1 allele in the central cell prior to fertilization and in the endosperm after fertilization. The UCL1 imprinting pattern was not affected in paternal PRC2 mutants. We found unexpectedly that the maternal UCL1 allele is reactivated in the endosperm of Arabidopsis lines with mutations in cytosine DNA METHYLTRANSFERASE 1 (MET1) or the DNA glycosylase DEMETER (DME), which antagonistically regulate CpG methylation of DNA. By contrast, maternal UCL1 silencing was not altered in mutants with defects in non-CpG methylation. Thus, silencing of the maternal UCL1 allele is regulated by both MET1 and DME as well as by PRC2, suggesting that divergent mechanisms for the regulation of PEGs evolved in Arabidopsis.
Project description:The parental conflict hypothesis predicts that the mother inhibits embryo growth counteracting growth enhancement by the father. In plants the DNA methyltransferase MET1 is a central regulator of parentally imprinted genes that affect seed growth. However the relation between the role of MET1 in imprinting and its control of seed size has remained unclear. Here we combine cytological, genetic and statistical analyses to study the effect of MET1 on seed growth. We show that the loss of MET1 during male gametogenesis causes a reduction of seed size, presumably linked to silencing of the paternal allele of growth enhancers in the endosperm, which nurtures the embryo. However, we find no evidence for a similar role of MET1 during female gametogenesis. Rather, the reduction of MET1 dosage in the maternal somatic tissues causes seed size increase. MET1 inhibits seed growth by restricting cell division and elongation in the maternal integuments that surround the seed. Our data demonstrate new controls of seed growth linked to the mode of reproduction typical of flowering plants. We conclude that the regulation of embryo growth by MET1 results from a combination of predominant maternal controls, and that DNA methylation maintained by MET1 does not orchestrate a parental conflict.
Project description:Parental genomes in the endosperm are marked by differential DNA methylation and are therefore epigenetically distinct. This epigenetic asymmetry is established in the gametes and maintained after fertilization by unknown mechanisms. In this manuscript, we have addressed the key question whether parentally inherited differential DNA methylation affects de novo targeting of chromatin modifiers in the early endosperm. Our data reveal that polycomb-mediated H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) is preferentially localized to regions that are targeted by the DNA glycosylase DEMETER (DME), mechanistically linking DNA hypomethylation to imprinted gene expression. Our data furthermore suggest an absence of de novo DNA methylation in the early endosperm, providing an explanation how DME-mediated hypomethylation of the maternal genome is maintained after fertilization. Lastly, we show that paternal-specific H3K27me3-marked regions are located at pericentromeric regions, suggesting that H3K27me3 and DNA methylation are not necessarily exclusive marks at pericentromeric regions in the endosperm.
Project description:Identifying loci with parental differences in DNA methylation is key to unraveling parent-of-origin phenotypes. By conducting a MeDIP-Seq screen in maternal-methylation free postimplantation mouse embryos (Dnmt3L-/+), we demonstrate that maternal-specific methylation exists very scarcely at midgestation. We reveal two forms of oocyte-specific methylation inheritance: limited to preimplantation, or with longer duration, i.e. maternally imprinted loci. Transient and imprinted maternal germline DMRs (gDMRs) are indistinguishable in gametes and preimplantation embryos, however, de novo methylation of paternal alleles at implantation delineates their fates and acts as a major leveling factor of parent-inherited differences. We characterize two new imprinted gDMRs, at the Cdh15 and AK008011 loci, with tissue-specific imprinting loss, again by paternal methylation gain. Protection against demethylation after fertilization has been emphasized as instrumental in maintaining parent-of-origin methylation inherited from the gametes. Here we provide evidence that protection against de novo methylation acts as an equal major pivot, at implantation and throughout life.
Project description:Differential distribution of DNA methylation on the parental alleles of imprinted genes distinguishes the alleles from each other and dictates their parent of origin-specific expression patterns. While differential DNA methylation at primary imprinting control regions is inherited via the gametes, additional allele-specific DNA methylation is acquired at secondary sites during embryonic development and plays a role in the maintenance of genomic imprinting. The precise mechanisms by which this somatic DNA methylation is established at secondary sites are not well defined and may vary as methylation acquisition at these sites occurs at different times for genes in different imprinting clusters.In this study, we show that there is also variability in the timing of somatic DNA methylation acquisition at multiple sites within a single imprinting cluster. Paternal allele-specific DNA methylation is initially acquired at similar stages of post-implantation development at the linked Dlk1 and Gtl2 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). In contrast, unlike the Gtl2-DMR, the maternal Dlk1-DMR acquires DNA methylation in adult tissues.These data suggest that the acquisition of DNA methylation across the Dlk1/Gtl2 imprinting cluster is variable. We further found that the Dlk1 differentially methylated region displays low DNA methylation fidelity, as evidenced by the presence of hemimethylation at approximately one-third of the methylated CpG dyads. We hypothesize that the maintenance of DNA methylation may be less efficient at secondary differentially methylated sites than at primary imprinting control regions.
Project description:Ndn is located on chromosome 7C, an imprinted region of the mouse genome. Imprinting of Ndn and adjacent paternally expressed genes is regulated by a regional imprinting control element known as the imprinting center (IC). An IC also controls imprint resetting of target genes in the region of conserved synteny on human chromosome 15q11-q13, which is deleted or rearranged in the neurodevelopmental disorder Prader-Willi syndrome. Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation, which occur in gametes and can be stably propagated, are presumed to establish and maintain the imprint in target genes of the IC. While most DNA becomes substantially demethylated by the blastocyst stage, some imprinted genes have regions that escape global demethylation and may maintain the imprint. We have now analyzed the methylation of 39 CpG dinucleotide sequences in the 5' end of Ndn by sodium bisulfite sequencing in gametes and in preimplantation and adult tissues. While sperm DNA is completely unmethylated across this region, oocyte DNA is partially methylated. A distinctive but unstable maternal methylation pattern persists until the morula stage and is lost in the blastocyst stage, where low levels of methylation are present on most DNA strands of either parental origin. The methylation pattern is then substantially remodeled, and fewer than half of maternally derived DNA strands in adult brain resemble the oocyte pattern. We postulate that for Ndn, DNA methylation may initially preserve a gametic imprint during preimplantation development, but other epigenetic events may maintain the imprint later in embryonic development.
Project description:On fertilization in Arabidopsis thaliana, one maternal gamete, the central cell, forms a placenta-like tissue, the endosperm. The DNA glycosylase DEMETER (DME) excises 5-methylcytosine via the base excision repair pathway in the central cell before fertilization, creating patterns of asymmetric DNA methylation and maternal gene expression across DNA replications in the endosperm lineage (EDL). Active DNA demethylation in the central cell is essential for transcriptional activity in the EDL of a set of genes, including FLOWERING WAGENINGEN (FWA). A DME-binding motif for iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster cofactors is indispensable for its catalytic activity. We used an FWA-GFP reporter to find mutants defective in maternal activation of FWA-GFP in the EDL, and isolated an allele of the yeast Dre2/human antiapoptotic factor CIAPIN1 homolog, encoding an enzyme previously implicated in the cytosolic Fe-S biogenesis pathway (CIA), which we named atdre2-2. We found that AtDRE2 acts in the central cell to regulate genes maternally activated in the EDL by DME. Furthermore, the FWA-GFP expression defect in atdre2-2 was partially suppressed genetically by a mutation in the maintenance DNA methyltransferase MET1; the DNA methylation levels at four DME targets increased in atdre2-2 seeds relative to WT. Although atdre2-2 shares zygotic seed defects with CIA mutants, it also uniquely manifests dme phenotypic hallmarks. These results demonstrate a previously unidentified epigenetic function of AtDRE2 that may be separate from the CIA pathway.