J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2019, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (2): 120-139.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12767

• Functional Omics and Systems Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A methylated-DNA-binding complex required for plant development mediates transcriptional activation of promoter methylated genes

Qiang-Qiang Zhao1,2, Rong-Nan Lin1, Lin Li1, She Chen1 and Xin-Jian He1*   

  1. 1National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing 102206, China
    2Graduate School of Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100730, China

    *Correspondence:

    Email: Xin-Jian He (hexinjian@nibs.ac.cn)
  • Received:2018-12-21 Accepted:2018-12-27 Online:2018-12-27 Published:2019-02-01

Abstract: Although the mechanism of DNA methylation-mediated gene silencing is extensively studied, relatively little is known about how promoter methylated genes are protected from transcriptional silencing. SUVH1, an Arabidopsis Su(var)3‐9 homolog, was previously shown to be required for the expression of a few promoter methylated genes. By chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with sequencing, we demonstrate that SUVH1 binds to methylated genomic loci targeted by RNA-directed DNA methylation. SUVH1 and its homolog SUVH3 function partially redundantly and interact with three DNAJ domain-containing homologs, SDJ1, SDJ2, and SDJ3, thus forming a complex which we named SUVH-SDJ. The SUVH-SDJ complex components are co-localized in a large number of methylated promoters and are required for the expression of a subset of promoter methylated genes. We demonstrate that the SUVH-SDJ complex components have transcriptional activation activity. SUVH1 and SUVH3 function synergistically with SDJ1, SDJ2, and SDJ3 and are required for plant viability. This study reveals how the SUVH-SDJ complex protects promoter methylated genes from transcriptional silencing and suggests that the transcriptional activation of promoter methylated genes mediated by the SUVH-SDJ complex may play a critical role in plant growth and development.

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