J Integr Plant Biol.

• Research Articles •    

A domesticated Harbinger transposase forms a complex with HDA6 and promotes histone H3 deacetylation at genes but not TEs in Arabidopsis

Xishi Zhou1†, Junna He2,3†, Christos N. Velanis4†, Yiwang Zhu1, Yuhan He1, Kai Tang3,5, Mingku Zhu3,6, Lisa Graser4,7, Erica deLeau4, Xingang Wang3, Lingrui Zhang3, W. Andy Tao8, Justin Goodrich4*, Jian‐Kang Zhu5* and Cui‐Jun Zhang1,5*   

  1. 1Shenzhen Branch, Guangdong Laboratory for Lingnan Modern Agriculture, Genome Analysis Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenzhen 518124, China
    2College of Horticulture, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
    3Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
    4Institute of Molecular Plant Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, Max Born Crescent, Edinburgh EH9 3BF, United Kingdom
    5Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology and CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201602, China
    6Institute of Integrative Plant Biology, School of Life Sciences, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, China
    7University of Applied Sciences Mannheim, Paul‐Wittsack‐Str. 10, Mannheim 68163, Germany
    8Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

    These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondences: Justin Goodrich (Justin.Goodrich@ed.ac.uk); Jian‐Kang Zhu (jkzhu@psc.ac.cn); Cui‐Jun Zhang (zhangcuijun@caas. cn, Dr. Zhang is responsible for the distribution of the materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2021-04-13 Accepted:2021-05-01 Online:2021-05-06

Abstract: In eukaryotes, histone acetylation is a major modification on histone N-terminal tails that is tightly connected to transcriptional activation. HDA6 is a histone deacetylase involved in the transcriptional regulation of genes and transposable elements (TEs) in Arabidopsis thaliana. HDA6 has been shown to participate in several complexes in plants, including a conserved SIN3 complex. Here, we uncover a novel protein complex containing HDA6, several Harbinger transposon-derived proteins (HHP1, SANT1, SANT2, SANT3, and SANT4), and MBD domain-containing proteins (MBD1, MBD2, and MBD4). We show that mutations of all four SANT genes in the sant-null mutant cause increased expression of the flowering repressors FLC, MAF4, and MAF5, resulting in a late flowering phenotype. Transcriptome deep sequencing reveals that while the SANT proteins and HDA6 regulate the expression of largely overlapping sets of genes, TE silencing is unaffected in sant-null mutants. Our global histone H3 acetylation profiling shows that SANT proteins and HDA6 modulate gene expression through deacetylation. Collectively, our findings suggest that Harbinger transposon-derived SANT domain-containing proteins are required for histone deacetylation and flowering time control in plants.

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