J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2019, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (2): 110-119.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12768

• Functional Omics and Systems Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A group of SUVH methyl-DNA binding proteins regulate expression of the DNA demethylase ROS1 in Arabidopsis

Xinlong Xiao1, Jieqiong Zhang1,2, Tao Li1,2, Xing Fu1, Viswanathan Satheesh1, Qingfeng Niu1, Zhaobo Lang1, Jian-Kang Zhu1,3* and Mingguang Lei1*   

  1. 1Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology, Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China
    2The University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049 Beijing, China
    3Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette 47907, USA

    *Correspondences:
    Email: Jian-Kang Zhu (jkzhu@sibs.ac.cn); Mingguang Lei (mglei@sibs.ac.cn; Dr. Lei is fully responsible for the distribution of all materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2018-12-17 Accepted:2018-12-25 Online:2018-12-27 Published:2019-02-01

Abstract: DNA methylation is typically regarded as a repressive epigenetic marker for gene expression. Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in plants are dynamically regulated by the opposing activities of DNA methylation and demethylation reactions. In Arabidopsis, a DNA methylation monitoring sequence (MEMS) in the promoter of the DNA demethylase gene ROS1 functions as a methylstat that senses these opposing activities and regulates genome DNA methylation levels by adjusting ROS1 expression. How DNA methylation in the MEMS region promotes ROS1 expression is not known. Here, we show that several Su(var)3‐9 homologs (SUVHs) can sense DNA methylation levels at the MEMS region and function redundantly to promote ROS1 expression. The SUVHs bind to the MEMS region, and the extent of binding is correlated with the methylation level of the MEMS. Mutations in the SUVHs lead to decreased ROS1 expression, causing DNA hypermethylation at more than 1,000 genomic regions. Thus, the SUVHs function to mediate the activation of gene transcription by DNA methylation.

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