Four putative SWI2/SNF2 chromatin remodelers have dual roles in regulating DNA methylation in Arabidopsis.
ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is a conserved epigenetic mark that is critical for many biological processes in plants and mammals. In Arabidopsis, the antagonistic activities of RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) and ROS1-dependent active DNA demethylation are key for the dynamic regulation of locus-specific DNA methylation. However, the molecular factors that coordinate RdDM and active demethylation are largely unknown. Here we report that CLSY4 and its three paralogous SWI2/SNF2-type chromatin-remodeling proteins function in both RdDM and DNA demethylation in Arabidopsis. We initially identified CLSY4 in a genetic screen for DNA demethylation factors and subsequently demonstrated that it also is important in RdDM. Comprehensive genetic analyses using single and high order mutants of CLSY family proteins revealed their roles as double agents in the balance between methylation and demethylation reactions. The four CLSY proteins collectively are necessary for the canonical RdDM pathway; at the same time, each CLSY likely mediates DNA demethylation at specific loci where DNA methylation depends on RdDM. These results indicate that the four chromatin-remodeling proteins have dual functions in regulating genomic DNA methylation, and thus provide new insights into the dynamic regulation of DNA methylation in a model multicellular eukaryotic organism.
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:DNA methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana is maintained by at least four different enzymes: DNA methyltransferase1 (MET1), chromomethylase3 (CMT3), domains rearranged methyltransferase2 (DRM2), and chromomethylase2 (CMT2). However, DNA methylation is established exclusively by the enzyme DRM2, which acts in the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway. Some RdDM components belong to gene families and have partially redundant functions, such as the endoribonucleases dicer-like 2, 3, and 4, and involved in de novo2 (IDN2) interactors IDN2-like 1 and 2. Traditional mutagenesis screens usually fail to detect genes if they are redundant, as the loss of one gene can be compensated by a related gene. In an effort to circumvent this issue, we used coexpression data to identify closely related genes that are coregulated with genes in the RdDM pathway. Here we report the discovery of two redundant proteins, SNF2-ring-helicase-like1 and -2 (FRG1 and -2) that are putative chromatin modifiers belonging to the SNF2 family of helicase-like proteins. Analysis of genome-wide bisulfite sequencing shows that simultaneous mutations of FRG1 and -2 cause defects in methylation at specific RdDM targeted loci. We also show that FRG1 physically associates with Su(var)3-9-related SUVR2, a known RdDM component, in vivo. Combined, our results identify FRG1 and FRG2 as previously unidentified components of the RdDM machinery.
Project description:De novo DNA methylation through the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway and active DNA demethylation play important roles in controlling genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in plants. Little is known about how cells manage the balance between DNA methylation and active demethylation activities. Here, we report the identification of a unique RdDM target sequence, where DNA methylation is required for maintaining proper active DNA demethylation of the Arabidopsis genome. In a genetic screen for cellular antisilencing factors, we isolated several REPRESSOR OF SILENCING 1 (ros1) mutant alleles, as well as many RdDM mutants, which showed drastically reduced ROS1 gene expression and, consequently, transcriptional silencing of two reporter genes. A helitron transposon element (TE) in the ROS1 gene promoter negatively controls ROS1 expression, whereas DNA methylation of an RdDM target sequence between ROS1 5' UTR and the promoter TE region antagonizes this helitron TE in regulating ROS1 expression. This RdDM target sequence is also targeted by ROS1, and defective DNA demethylation in loss-of-function ros1 mutant alleles causes DNA hypermethylation of this sequence and concomitantly causes increased ROS1 expression. Our results suggest that this sequence in the ROS1 promoter region serves as a DNA methylation monitoring sequence (MEMS) that senses DNA methylation and active DNA demethylation activities. Therefore, the ROS1 promoter functions like a thermostat (i.e., methylstat) to sense DNA methylation levels and regulates DNA methylation by controlling ROS1 expression.
Project description:Genomes must balance active suppression of transposable elements (TEs) with the need to maintain gene expression. In Arabidopsis, euchromatic TEs are targeted by RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). Conversely, active DNA demethylation prevents accumulation of methylation at genes proximal to these TEs. It is unknown how a cellular balance between methylation and demethylation activities is achieved. Here we show that both RdDM and DNA demethylation are highly active at a TE proximal to the major DNA demethylase gene ROS1. Unexpectedly, and in contrast to most other genomic targets, expression of ROS1 is promoted by DNA methylation and antagonized by DNA demethylation. We demonstrate that inducing methylation in the ROS1 proximal region is sufficient to restore ROS1 expression in an RdDM mutant. Additionally, methylation-sensitive expression of ROS1 is conserved in other species, suggesting it is adaptive. We propose that the ROS1 locus functions as an epigenetic rheostat, tuning the level of demethylase activity in response to methylation alterations, thus ensuring epigenomic stability.
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:The Arabidopsis ROS1/DEMETER family of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) DNA glycosylases are the first genetically characterized DNA demethylases in eukaryotes. However, the features of ROS1-targeted genomic loci are not well understood. In this study, we characterized ROS1 target loci in Arabidopsis Col-0 and C24 ecotypes. We found that ROS1 preferentially targets transposable elements (TEs) and intergenic regions. Compared with most TEs, ROS1-targeted TEs are closer to protein coding genes, suggesting that ROS1 may prevent DNA methylation spreading from TEs to nearby genes. ROS1-targeted TEs are specifically enriched for H3K18Ac and H3K27me3, and depleted of H3K27me and H3K9me2. Importantly, we identified thousands of previously unknown RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) targets following depletion of ROS1, suggesting that ROS1 strongly antagonizes RdDM at these loci. In addition, we show that ROS1 also antagonizes RdDM-independent DNA methylation at some loci. Our results provide important insights into the genome-wide targets of ROS1 and the crosstalk between DNA methylation and ROS1-mediated active DNA demethylation.
Project description:Cytosine methylation can be induced by double-stranded RNAs through the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway. A DNA glycosylase REPRESSOR OF SILENCING 1 (ROS1) participates in DNA demethylation in Arabidopsis and may possibly counteract RdDM. Here, we isolated an ortholog of ROS1 (NbROS1) from Nicotiana benthamiana and examined the antagonistic activity of NbROS1 against virus-induced RdDM by simultaneously inducing RdDM and NbROS1 knockdown using a vector based on Cucumber mosaic virus. Plants were inoculated with a virus that contained a portion of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter, which induced RdDM of the promoter integrated in the plant genome and transcriptional silencing of the green fluorescent protein gene driven by the promoter. Plants were also inoculated with a virus that contained a portion of NbROS1, which induced downregulation of NbROS1. Simultaneous induction of RdDM and NbROS1 knockdown resulted in an increase in the level of cytosine methylation of the target promoter. These results provide evidence for the presence of antagonistic activity of NbROS1 against virus-induced RdDM and suggest that the simultaneous induction of promoter-targeting RdDM and NbROS1 knockdown by a virus vector is useful as a tool to enhance targeted DNA methylation.
Project description:Plant specific SGS3-like proteins are composed of various combinations of an RNA-binding XS domain, a zinc-finger zf-XS domain, a coil-coil domain and a domain of unknown function called XH. In addition to being involved in de novo 2 (IDN2) and SGS3, the Arabidopsis genome encodes 12 uncharacterized SGS3-like proteins. Here, we show that a group of SGS3-like proteins act redundantly in RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway in Arabidopsis. Transcriptome co-expression analyses reveal significantly correlated expression of two SGS3-like proteins, factor of DNA methylation 1 (FDM1) and FDM2 with known genes required for RdDM. The fdm1 and fdm2 double mutations but not the fdm1 or fdm2 single mutations significantly impair DNA methylation at RdDM loci, release transcriptional gene silencing and dramatically reduce the abundance of siRNAs originated from high copy number repeats or transposons. Like IDN2 and SGS3, FDM1 binds dsRNAs with 5' overhangs. Double mutant analyses also reveal that IDN2 and three uncharacterized SGS3-like proteins FDM3, FDM4 and FDM5 have overlapping function with FDM1 in RdDM. Five FDM proteins and IDN2 define a group of SGS3-like proteins that possess all four-signature motifs in Arabidopsis. Thus, our results demonstrate that this group of SGS3-like proteins is an important component of RdDM. This study further enhances our understanding of the SGS3 gene family and the RdDM pathway.
Project description:RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) is required for transcriptional silencing of transposons and other DNA repeats in Arabidopsis thaliana. Although previous research has demonstrated that the SET domain-containing SU(VAR)3-9 homologs SUVH2 and SUVH9 are involved in the RdDM pathway, the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Our results indicated that SUVH2 and/or SUVH9 not only interact with the chromatin-remodeling complex termed DDR (DMS3, DRD1, and RDM1) but also with the newly characterized complex composed of two conserved Microrchidia (MORC) family proteins, MORC1 and MORC6. The effect of suvh2suvh9 on Pol IV-dependent siRNA accumulation and DNA methylation is comparable to that of the Pol V mutant nrpe1 and the DDR complex mutant dms3, suggesting that SUVH2 and SUVH9 are functionally associated with RdDM. Our CHIP assay demonstrated that SUVH2 and SUVH9 are required for the occupancy of Pol V at RdDM loci and facilitate the production of Pol V-dependent noncoding RNAs. Moreover, SUVH2 and SUVH9 are also involved in the occupancy of DMS3 at RdDM loci. The putative catalytic active site in the SET domain of SUVH2 is dispensable for the function of SUVH2 in RdDM and H3K9 dimethylation. We propose that SUVH2 and SUVH9 bind to methylated DNA and facilitate the recruitment of Pol V to RdDM loci by associating with the DDR complex and the MORC complex.
Project description:At least three pathways control maintenance of DNA cytosine methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway is solely responsible for establishment of this silencing mark. We previously described INVOLVED IN DE NOVO 2 (IDN2) as being an RNA-binding RdDM component that is required for DNA methylation establishment. In this study, we describe the discovery of two partially redundant proteins that are paralogous to IDN2 and that form a stable complex with IDN2 in vivo. Null mutations in both genes, termed IDN2-LIKE 1 and IDN2-LIKE 2 (IDNL1 and IDNL2), result in a phenotype that mirrors, but does not further enhance, the idn2 mutant phenotype. Genetic analysis suggests that this complex acts in a step in the downstream portion of the RdDM pathway. We also have performed structural analysis showing that the IDN2 XS domain adopts an RNA recognition motif (RRM) fold. Finally, genome-wide DNA methylation and expression analysis confirms the placement of the IDN proteins in an RdDM pathway that affects DNA methylation and transcriptional control at many sites in the genome. Results from this study identify and describe two unique components of the RdDM machinery, adding to our understanding of DNA methylation control in the Arabidopsis genome.