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1.  BRAHMA ATPase of the SWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeling Complex Acts as a Positive Regulator of Gibberellin-Mediated Responses in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58588.
SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes perform a pivotal function in the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mutants in major SWI/SNF subunits display embryo-lethal or dwarf phenotypes, indicating their critical role in molecular pathways controlling development and growth. As gibberellins (GA) are major positive regulators of plant growth, we wanted to establish whether there is a link between SWI/SNF and GA signaling in Arabidopsis. This study revealed that in brm-1 plants, depleted in SWI/SNF BRAHMA (BRM) ATPase, a number of GA-related phenotypic traits are GA-sensitive and that the loss of BRM results in markedly decreased level of endogenous bioactive GA. Transcriptional profiling of brm-1 and the GA biosynthesis mutant ga1-3, as well as the ga1-3/brm-1 double mutant demonstrated that BRM affects the expression of a large set of GA-responsive genes including genes responsible for GA biosynthesis and signaling. Furthermore, we found that BRM acts as an activator and directly associates with promoters of GA3ox1, a GA biosynthetic gene, and SCL3, implicated in positive regulation of the GA pathway. Many GA-responsive gene expression alterations in the brm-1 mutant are likely due to depleted levels of active GAs. However, the analysis of genetic interactions between BRM and the DELLA GA pathway repressors, revealed that BRM also acts on GA-responsive genes independently of its effect on GA level. Given the central position occupied by SWI/SNF complexes within regulatory networks controlling fundamental biological processes, the identification of diverse functional intersections of BRM with GA-dependent processes in this study suggests a role for SWI/SNF in facilitating crosstalk between GA-mediated regulation and other cellular pathways.
PMCID: PMC3594165  PMID: 23536800
2.  Hypoxia 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(8):773-776.
VERNALIZATION INSENSITIVE 3 (VIN3) encodes a PHD domain chromatin remodelling protein that is induced in response to cold and is required for the establishment of the vernalization response in Arabidopsis thaliana.1 Vernalization is the acquisition of the competence to flower after exposure to prolonged low temperatures, which in Arabidopsis is associated with the epigenetic repression of the floral repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC).2,3 During vernalization VIN3 binds to the chromatin of the FLC locus,1 and interacts with conserved components of Polycomb-group Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2).4,5 This complex catalyses the tri-methylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3),4,6,7 a repressive chromatin mark that increases at the FLC locus as a result of vernalization.4,7–10 In our recent paper11 we found that VIN3 is also induced by hypoxic conditions, and as is the case with low temperatures, induction occurs in a quantitative manner. Our experiments indicated that VIN3 is required for the survival of Arabidopsis seedlings exposed to low oxygen conditions. We suggested that the function of VIN3 during low oxygen conditions is likely to involve the mediation of chromatin modifications at certain loci that help the survival of Arabidopsis in response to prolonged hypoxia. Here we discuss the implications of our observations and hypotheses in terms of epigenetic mechanisms controlling gene regulation in response to hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC2801397  PMID: 19820304
arabidopsis; VIN3; FLC; hypoxia; vernalization; chromatin remodelling; survival
3.  Repression of FLOWERING LOCUS C and FLOWERING LOCUS T by the Arabidopsis Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Components 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3404.
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are evolutionarily conserved in animals and plants, and play critical roles in the regulation of developmental gene expression. Here we show that the Arabidopsis Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) subunits CURLY LEAF (CLF), EMBRYONIC FLOWER 2 (EMF2) and FERTILIZATION INDEPENDENT ENDOSPERM (FIE) repress the expression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), a central repressor of the floral transition in Arabidopsis and FLC relatives. In addition, CLF directly interacts with and mediates the deposition of repressive histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) into FLC and FLC relatives, which suppresses active histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) in these loci. Furthermore, we show that during vegetative development CLF and FIE strongly repress the expression of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), a key flowering-time integrator, and that CLF also directly interacts with and mediates the deposition of H3K27me3 into FT chromatin. Our results suggest that PRC2-like complexes containing CLF, EMF2 and FIE, directly interact with and deposit into FT, FLC and FLC relatives repressive trimethyl H3K27 leading to the suppression of active H3K4me3 in these loci, and thus repress the expression of these flowering genes. Given the central roles of FLC and FT in flowering-time regulation in Arabidopsis, these findings suggest that the CLF-containing PRC2-like complexes play a significant role in control of flowering in Arabidopsis.
PMCID: PMC2561057  PMID: 18852898
4.  Arabidopsis MSI1 functions in photoperiodic flowering time control 
Appropriate timing of flowering is crucial for crop yield and the reproductive success of plants. Flowering can be induced by a number of molecular pathways that respond to internal and external signals such as photoperiod, vernalization or light quality, ambient temperature and biotic as well as abiotic stresses. The key florigenic signal FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) is regulated by several flowering activators, such as CONSTANS (CO), and repressors, such as FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Chromatin modifications are essential for regulated gene expression, which often involves the well conserved MULTICOPY SUPRESSOR OF IRA 1 (MSI1)-like protein family. MSI1-like proteins are ubiquitous partners of various complexes, such as POLYCOMB REPRESSIVE COMPLEX2 or CHROMATIN ASSEMBLY FACTOR 1. In Arabidopsis, one of the functions of MSI1 is to control the switch to flowering. Arabidopsis MSI1 is needed for the correct expression of the floral integrator gene SUPPRESSOR OF CO 1 (SOC1). Here, we show that the histone-binding protein MSI1 acts in the photoperiod pathway to regulate normal expression of CO in long day (LD) photoperiods. Reduced expression of CO in msi1-mutants leads to failure of FT and SOC1 activation and to delayed flowering. MSI1 is needed for normal sensitivity of Arabidopsis to photoperiod, because msi1-mutants responded less than wild type to an intermittent LD treatment of plants grown in short days. Finally, genetic analysis demonstrated that MSI1 acts upstream of the CO-FT pathway to enable an efficient photoperiodic response and to induce flowering.
PMCID: PMC3945484  PMID: 24639681
Arabidopsis; flowering time; chromatin; MSI1; photoperiod; FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT); CONSTANS (CO)
5.  Dual roles for FY in the regulation of FLC 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(5):703-705.
In Arabidopsis, the flowering decision is determined by multiple pathways that integrate information from both endogenous signals and environmental cues. The genes of the autonomous pathway promote flowering by suppressing the expression of the floral repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Thus, autonomous-pathway mutants have elevated levels of FLC and are late flowering. Previous work has shown that two autonomous pathway proteins, FCA and FY, physically interact and this interaction is important in the repression of FLC. Recent work from our laboratory has shown that a hypomorphic allele of FY (fy-5) can cause earlier or later flowering, depending on the genetic background. These results suggest that FY has the potential to act as both an activator and a repressor of FLC. The FLC-activating activity of FY appears to be FCA-independent, as fy-5 causes earlier flowering in an fca-null background. Here we present a speculative model that reconciles these opposing phenotypes by proposing a dual role for FY in the regulation of flowering time.
PMCID: PMC3172842  PMID: 21633188
FLC; FY; FCA; flowering time; polyadenylation
6.  Polycomb repression 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2008;3(6):412-414.
In our recent paper1 we suggested a molecular explanation for the long standing observation that plants need to be mitotically active to respond to a prolonged period of low temperatures by flowering early (vernalization).2 In Arabidopsis, vernalization is associated with the epigenetic repression of the floral repressor, FLC.3–5 FLC repression is established during the low temperature treatment and is marked by the loss of chromatin marks associated with active genes and the gain of histone H3 trimethyl-lysine 27 (K27me3) at the start of transcription/translation.1 After the end of the cold treatment, this repressive modification spreads across FLC chromatin to mark the entire locus.1 In cells not undergoing mitosis, we found that FLC is repressed by low temperatures, but that this repression is only partially maintained. We concluded that DNA replication is not required for the initial response to low temperatures, but rather for the maintenance of this response. Here we discuss the implications of our observations in terms of the plasticity of chromatin modifications in plants.
PMCID: PMC2634319  PMID: 19704583
trimethyl lysine 27; FLC; VIN3; bivalent domain; histone replacement
7.  PORPHOBILINOGEN DEAMINASE Deficiency Alters Vegetative and Reproductive Development and Causes Lesions in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53378.
The Arabidopsis rugosa1 (rug1) mutant has irregularly shaped leaves and reduced growth. In the absence of pathogens, leaves of rug1 plants have spontaneous lesions reminiscent of those seen in lesion-mimic mutants; rug1 plants also express cytological and molecular markers associated with defence against pathogens. These rug1 phenotypes are made stronger by dark/light transitions. The rug1 mutant also has delayed flowering time, upregulation of the floral repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) and downregulation of the flowering promoters FT and SOC1/AGL20. Vernalization suppresses the late flowering phenotype of rug1 by repressing FLC. Microarray analysis revealed that 280 nuclear genes are differentially expressed between rug1 and wild type; almost a quarter of these genes are involved in plant defence. In rug1, the auxin response is also affected and several auxin-responsive genes are downregulated. We identified the RUG1 gene by map-based cloning and found that it encodes porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD), also known as hydroxymethylbilane synthase, an enzyme of the tetrapyrrole biosynthesis pathway, which produces chlorophyll, heme, siroheme and phytochromobilin in plants. PBGD activity is reduced in rug1 plants, which accumulate porphobilinogen. Our results indicate that Arabidopsis PBGD deficiency impairs the porphyrin pathway and triggers constitutive activation of plant defence mechanisms leading to leaf lesions and affecting vegetative and reproductive development.
PMCID: PMC3540089  PMID: 23308205
8.  BRG1 and BRM Chromatin-Remodeling Complexes Regulate the Hypoxia Response by Acting as Coactivators for a Subset of Hypoxia-Inducible Transcription Factor Target Genes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(19):3849-3863.
Chromatin remodeling is an active process, which represses or enables the access of transcription machinery to genes in response to external stimuli, including hypoxia. However, in hypoxia, the specific requirement, as well as the molecular mechanism by which the chromatin-remodeling complexes regulate gene expression, remains unclear. In this study, we report that the Brahma (BRM) and Brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1) ATPase-containing SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes promote the expression of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1α (HIF1α) and HIF2α genes and also promote hypoxic induction of a subset of HIF1 and HIF2 target genes. We show that BRG1 or BRM knockdown in Hep3B and RCC4T cells reduces hypoxic induction of HIF target genes, while reexpression of BRG1 or BRM in BRG1/BRM-deficient SW13 cells increases HIF target gene activation. Mechanistically, HIF1 and HIF2 increase the hypoxic induction of HIF target genes by recruiting BRG1 complexes to HIF target gene promoters, which promotes nucleosome remodeling of HIF target gene promoters in a BRG1 ATPase-dependent manner. Importantly, we found that the function of BRG1 complexes in hypoxic SW13 and RCC4T cells is dictated by the HIF-mediated hypoxia response and could be opposite from their function in normoxic SW13 and RCC4T cells.
PMCID: PMC3811865  PMID: 23897427
9.  ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX-RELATED3/SET DOMAIN GROUP2 is Required for the Winter-Annual Habit of Arabidopsis thaliana 
Plant and Cell Physiology  2012;53(5):834-846.
The winter-annual habit of Arabidopsis thaliana requires active alleles of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which encodes a potent flowering repressor, and FRIGIDA (FRI), an activator of FLC. FLC activation by FRI is accompanied by an increase in specific histone modifications, such as tri-methylation of histone H3 at lysine 4 (H3K4me3), and requires three H3K4 methyltransferases, the Drosophila Trithorax-class ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX1 (ATX1) and ATX2, and yeast Set1-class ATX-RELATED7/SET DOMAIN GROUP25 (ATXR7/SDG25). However, lesions in all of these genes failed to suppress the enhanced FLC expression caused by FRI completely, suggesting that another H3K4 methyltransferase may participate in the FLC activation. Here, we show that ATXR3/SDG2, which is a member of a novel class of H3K4 methyltransferases, also contributes to FLC activation. An ATXR3 lesion suppressed the enhanced FLC expression and delayed flowering caused by an active allele of FRI in non-vernalized plants. The decrease in FLC expression in atxr3 mutants was accompanied by reduced H3K4me3 levels at FLC chromatin. We also found that the rapid flowering of atxr3 was epistatic to that of atxr7, suggesting that ATXR3 functions in FLC activation in sequence with ATXR7. Our results indicate that the novel-class H3K4 methyltransferase, ATXR3, is a transcriptional activator that plays a role in the FLC activation and establishing the winter-annual habit. In addition, ATXR3 also contributes to the activation of other FLC clade members, such as FLOWERING LOCUS M/MADS AFFECTING FLOWERING1 (FLM/MAF1) and MAF5, at least partially explaining the ATXR3 function in delayed flowering caused by non-inductive photoperiods.
PMCID: PMC3345368  PMID: 22378382
ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX; Flowering; FLOWERING LOCUS C; Histone methylation; Winter-annual Arabidopsis
10.  SWI/SNF Associates with Nascent Pre-mRNPs and Regulates Alternative Pre-mRNA Processing 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(5):e1000470.
The SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes regulate the transcription of many genes by remodeling nucleosomes at promoter regions. In Drosophila, SWI/SNF plays an important role in ecdysone-dependent transcription regulation. Studies in human cells suggest that Brahma (Brm), the ATPase subunit of SWI/SNF, regulates alternative pre-mRNA splicing by modulating transcription elongation rates. We describe, here, experiments that study the association of Brm with transcribed genes in Chironomus tentans and Drosophila melanogaster, the purpose of which was to further elucidate the mechanisms by which Brm regulates pre-mRNA processing. We show that Brm becomes incorporated into nascent Balbiani ring pre-mRNPs co-transcriptionally and that the human Brm and Brg1 proteins are associated with RNPs. We have analyzed the expression profiles of D. melanogaster S2 cells in which the levels of individual SWI/SNF subunits have been reduced by RNA interference, and we show that depletion of SWI/SNF core subunits changes the relative abundance of alternative transcripts from a subset of genes. This observation, and the fact that a fraction of Brm is not associated with chromatin but with nascent pre-mRNPs, suggest that SWI/SNF affects pre-mRNA processing by acting at the RNA level. Ontology enrichment tests indicate that the genes that are regulated post-transcriptionally by SWI/SNF are mostly enzymes and transcription factors that regulate postembryonic developmental processes. In summary, the data suggest that SWI/SNF becomes incorporated into nascent pre-mRNPs and acts post-transcriptionally to regulate not only the amount of mRNA synthesized from a given promoter but also the type of alternative transcript produced.
Author Summary
Genetic programs in multicellular organisms often involve different levels of regulation. The expression of many genes is regulated by factors that remodel the structure of the chromatin at the promoter. SWI/SNF is one such factor, and it is highly conserved in eukaryotes. Studies in human cells suggest that Brahma, the catalytic subunit of SWI/SNF, regulates the processing of precursor mRNAs (pre-mRNAs). We have studied Brahma in two insect model systems to further elucidate the mechanisms by which SWI/SNF regulates gene expression. We show that depletion of SWI/SNF subunits changes the relative abundances of alternative transcripts from a subset of pre-mRNAs that code for proteins that regulate the postembryonic development of the flies. We also show that a fraction of Brahma is not associated with chromatin but with nascent pre-mRNPs—both in insects and mammals—which suggests that SWI/SNF acts at the RNA level to regulate pre-mRNA processing. These findings illustrate the dual role of a chromatin remodelling factor; SWI/SNF acts both at the transcriptional level and post-transcriptionally to regulate not only the amount of mRNA synthesized from a given promoter but also the type of alternative transcript produced.
PMCID: PMC2669885  PMID: 19424417
11.  Role of VIN3-LIKE 2 in facultative photoperiodic flowering response in Arabidopsis 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2010;5(12):1672-1673.
In Arabidopsis, expression of FLC and FLC-related genes (collectively called FLC clade) contributes to flowering time in response to environmental changes, such as day length and temperature, by acting as floral repressors. VIN3 is required for vernalization-mediated FLC repression and a VIN3 related protein, VIN3-LIKE 1/VERNALIZATION 5 (VIL1/VRN5), acts to regulate FLC and FLM in response to vernalization.1–3 VIN3 also exists as a small family of PHD finger proteins in Arabidopsis, including VIL1/VRN5, VIL2/VEL1, VIL3/VEL2 and VIL4/VEL3. We showed that the PHD finger protein, VIL2, is required for proper repression of MAF5, an FLC clade member, to accelerate flowering under non-inductive photoperiods. VIL2 acts together with POLYCOMB REPRESSIVE COMPLEX 2 (PRC2) to repress MAF5 in a photoperiod dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC3115132  PMID: 21150261
photoperiod; chromatin; flowering
12.  Arabidopsis Homologs of Retinoblastoma-Associated Protein 46/48 Associate with a Histone Deacetylase to Act Redundantly in Chromatin Silencing 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(11):e1002366.
RNA molecules such as small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and antisense RNAs (asRNAs) trigger chromatin silencing of target loci. In the model plant Arabidopsis, RNA–triggered chromatin silencing involves repressive histone modifications such as histone deacetylation, histone H3 lysine-9 methylation, and H3 lysine-27 monomethylation. Here, we report that two Arabidopsis homologs of the human histone-binding proteins Retinoblastoma-Associated Protein 46/48 (RbAp46/48), known as MSI4 (or FVE) and MSI5, function in partial redundancy in chromatin silencing of various loci targeted by siRNAs or asRNAs. We show that MSI5 acts in partial redundancy with FVE to silence FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which is a crucial floral repressor subject to asRNA–mediated silencing, FLC homologs, and other loci including transposable and repetitive elements which are targets of siRNA–directed DNA Methylation (RdDM). Both FVE and MSI5 associate with HISTONE DEACETYLASE 6 (HDA6) to form complexes and directly interact with the target loci, leading to histone deacetylation and transcriptional silencing. In addition, these two genes function in de novo CHH (H = A, T, or C) methylation and maintenance of symmetric cytosine methylation (mainly CHG methylation) at endogenous RdDM target loci, and they are also required for establishment of cytosine methylation in the previously unmethylated sequences directed by the RdDM pathway. This reveals an important functional divergence of the plant RbAp46/48 relatives from animal counterparts.
Author Summary
Chromatin, made of histones and DNA, is often covalently modified in the nucleus, and modifications can regulate gene transcription. RNA molecules such as small-interfering or silencing RNAs (siRNAs) and antisense RNAs (asRNAs) can trigger silencing of gene expression in eukaryotes. We have found that in the flowering plant Arabidopsis, two homologous putative histone-binding proteins associate with a histone deacetylase and function in partial redundancy in chromatin-based silencing of various loci targeted by siRNAs or asRNAs. They act in partial redundancy to silence a development-regulatory gene that controls the transition to flowering and whose silencing is triggered by asRNAs, and genomic loci containing transposable and repetitive elements whose silencing is triggered by siRNAs via the siRNA–directed DNA Methylation (RdDM) pathway. In addition, these two genes function in maintenance of DNA methylation at RdDM loci and are also required for establishment of DNA methylation in the previously unmethylated sequences, revealing that histone modifications are partly required for DNA methylation. Our findings implicate that RNA–triggered transcriptional silencing involves repressive histone modifications such as deacetylation at a target locus.
PMCID: PMC3213158  PMID: 22102827
13.  Regulation of leaf maturation by chromatin-mediated modulation of cytokinin responses 
Developmental cell  2013;24(4):438-445.
Plant shoots display indeterminate growth, while their evolutionary decedents, the leaves, are determinate. Determinate leaf growth is conditioned by the CIN-TCP transcription factors, which promote leaf maturation and which are negatively regulated by miR319 in leaf primordia. Here we show that CIN-TCPs reduce leaf sensitivity to cytokinin (CK), a phytohormone implicated in inhibition of differentiation in the shoot. We identify the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling ATPase BRAHMA (BRM) as a genetic mediator of CIN-TCP activities and CK responses. An interactome screen further revealed that SWI/SNF complex components including BRM preferentially interacted with bHLH transcription factors and the bHLH-related CIN-TCPs. Indeed, TCP4 and BRM interacted in planta. Both TCP4 and BRM bound the promoter of an inhibitor of CK responses, ARR16, and induced its expression. Reconstituting ARR16 levels in leaves with reduced CIN-TCP activity restored normal growth. Thus, CIN-TCP and BRM together promote determinate leaf growth by stage-specific modification of CK responses.
PMCID: PMC3994294  PMID: 23449474
leaf maturation; CIN-TCP; chromatin remodeling; cytokinin; BRAHMA
14.  The Drosophila snr1 and brm proteins are related to yeast SWI/SNF proteins and are components of a large protein complex. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1995;6(7):777-791.
During most of Drosophila development the regulation of homeotic gene transcription is controlled by two groups of regulatory genes, the trithorax group of activators and the Polycomb group of repressors. brahma (brm), a member of the trithorax group, encodes a protein related to the yeast SWI2/SNF2 protein, a subunit of a protein complex that assists sequence-specific activator proteins by alleviating the repressive effects of chromatin. To learn more about the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of homeotic gene transcription, we have investigated whether a similar complex exists in flies. We identified the Drosophila snr1 gene, a potential homologue of the yeast SNF5 gene that encodes a subunit of the yeast SWI/SNF complex. The snr1 gene is essential and genetically interacts with brm and trithorax (trx), suggesting cooperation in regulating homeotic gene transcription. The spatial and temporal patterns of expression of snr1 are similar to those of brm. The snr1 and brm proteins are present in a large (> 2 x 10(6) Da) complex, and they co-immunoprecipitate from Drosophila extracts. These findings provide direct evidence for conservation of the SWI/SNF complex in higher eucaryotes and suggest that the Drosophila brm/snr1 complex plays an important role in maintaining homeotic gene transcription during development by counteracting the repressive effects of chromatin.
PMCID: PMC301240  PMID: 7579694
15.  The SUMO E3 ligase, AtSIZ1, regulates flowering by controlling a salicylic acid-mediated floral promotion pathway and through affects on FLC chromatin structure 
The Plant Journal   2008;53(3):530-540.
Loss-of-function siz1 mutations caused early flowering under short days. siz1 plants have elevated salicylic acid (SA) levels, which are restored to wild-type levels by expressing nahG, bacterial salicylate hydroxylase. The early flowering of siz1 was suppressed by expressing nahG, indicating that SIZ1 represses the transition to flowering mainly through suppressing SA-dependent floral promotion signaling under short days. Previous results have shown that exogenous SA treatment does not suppress late flowering of autonomous pathway mutants. However, the siz1 mutation accelerated flowering time of an autonomous pathway mutant, luminidependens, by reducing the expression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), a floral repressor. This result suggests that SIZ1 promotes FLC expression, possibly through an SA-independent pathway. Evidence indicates that SIZ1 is required for the full activation of FLC expression in the late-flowering FRIGIDA background. Interestingly, increased FLC expression and late flowering of an autonomous pathway mutant, flowering locus d (fld), was not suppressed by siz1, suggesting that SIZ1 promotes FLC expression by repressing FLD. Consistent with this, SIZ1 facilitates sumoylation of FLD that can be suppressed by mutations in three predicted sumoylation motifs in FLD (i.e. FLDK3R). Furthermore, expression of FLDK3R in fld protoplasts strongly reduced FLC transcription compared with expression of FLD, and this affect was linked to reduced acetylation of histone 4 in FLC chromatin. Taken together, the results suggest that SIZ1 is a floral repressor that not only represses the SA-dependent pathway, but also promotes FLC expression by repressing FLD activity through sumoylation, which is required for full FLC expression in a FRIGIDA background.
PMCID: PMC2254019  PMID: 18069938
SIZ1; SA; flowering; SUMO; FLD; FLC
16.  Chromatin Remodeling Complexes Interact Dynamically with a Glucocorticoid Receptor–regulated Promoter 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(8):3308-3322.
Brahma (BRM) and Brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1) are the ATP-dependent catalytic subunits of the SWI/SNF family of chromatin-remodeling complexes. These complexes are involved in essential processes such as cell cycle, growth, differentiation, and cancer. Using imaging approaches in a cell line that harbors tandem repeats of stably integrated copies of the steroid responsive MMTV-LTR (mouse mammary tumor virus–long terminal repeat), we show that BRG1 and BRM are recruited to the MMTV promoter in a hormone-dependent manner. The recruitment of BRG1 and BRM resulted in chromatin remodeling and decondensation of the MMTV repeat as demonstrated by an increase in the restriction enzyme accessibility and in the size of DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) signals. This chromatin remodeling event was concomitant with an increased occupancy of RNA polymerase II and transcriptional activation at the MMTV promoter. The expression of ATPase-deficient forms of BRG1 (BRG1-K-R) or BRM (BRM-K-R) inhibited the remodeling of local and higher order MMTV chromatin structure and resulted in the attenuation of transcription. In vivo photobleaching experiments provided direct evidence that BRG1, BRG1-K-R, and BRM chromatin-remodeling complexes have distinct kinetic properties on the MMTV array, and they dynamically associate with and dissociate from MMTV chromatin in a manner dependent on hormone and a functional ATPase domain. Our data provide a kinetic and mechanistic basis for the BRG1 and BRM chromatin-remodeling complexes in regulating gene expression at a steroid hormone inducible promoter.
PMCID: PMC2488306  PMID: 18508913
17.  The Glucocorticoid Receptor and the Coregulator Brm Selectively Modulate Each Other's Occupancy and Activity in a Gene-Specific Manner▿# 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(16):3267-3276.
The diverse transcriptional patterns that distinguish metazoan cells are specified by multifactor regulatory complexes containing distinct combinations of factors that assemble at genomic response elements. To investigate combinatorial control, we examined a set of glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-regulated genes bearing nearby regulatory complexes that include both GR and the coregulator Brm, an ATPase subunit of the Swi/Snf chromatin remodeler. We analyzed how GR and Brm affect each other's occupancy and activity by utilizing glucocorticoid treatment and Brm knockdown to modulate GR-mediated transcriptional regulation and Brm-mediated chromatin remodeling, respectively. GR occupancy and activity were altered differentially by Brm knockdown at specific activated and repressed primary GR target genes. Brm knockdown decreased GR occupancy at activated Brm-dependent genes, whereas we identified two classes of repressed genes, at which Brm knockdown either increased or decreased GR occupancy. Glucocorticoid treatment increased both Brm occupancy and chromatin accessibility at Brm-dependent and Brm-independent GR-regulated genes. However, chromatin remodeling activity decreased after Brm knockdown only at genes with Brm-dependent transcription. Our study revealed multiple distinct patterns of GR and Brm interdependence. Thus, monitoring as few as two factors within regulatory complexes is sufficient to reveal functionally distinct assemblies, providing an analytical method for gaining insights into combinatorial regulation.
PMCID: PMC3147806  PMID: 21646426
18.  The Activity of Mammalian brm/SNF2α Is Dependent on a High-Mobility-Group Protein I/Y-Like DNA Binding Domain 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(6):3931-3939.
The mammalian SWI-SNF complex is a chromatin-remodelling machinery involved in the modulation of gene expression. Its activity relies on two closely related ATPases known as brm/SNF2α and BRG-1/SNF2β. These two proteins can cooperate with nuclear receptors for transcriptional activation. In addition, they are involved in the control of cell proliferation, most probably by facilitating p105Rb repression of E2F transcriptional activity. In the present study, we have examined the ability of various brm/SNF2α deletion mutants to reverse the transformed phenotype of ras-transformed fibroblasts. Deletions within the p105Rb LXCXE binding motif or the conserved bromodomain had only a moderate effect. On the other hand, a 49-amino-acid segment, rich in lysines and arginines and located immediately downstream of the p105Rb interaction domain, appeared to be essential in this assay. This region was also required for cooperation of brm/SNF2α with the glucocorticoid receptor in transfection experiments, but only in the context of a reporter construct integrated in the cellular genome. The region has homology to the AT hooks present in high-mobility-group protein I/Y DNA binding domains and is required for the tethering of brm/SNF2α to chromatin.
PMCID: PMC104352  PMID: 10330133
19.  The chromatin remodeling and mRNA splicing functions of the Brahma (SWI/SNF) complex are mediated by the SNR1/SNF5 regulatory subunit 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(13):5975-5987.
Nucleosome remodeling catalyzed by the ATP-dependent SWI/SNF complex is essential for regulated gene expression. Transcriptome profiling studies in flies and mammals identified cell cycle and hormone responsive genes as important targets of remodeling complex activities. Loss of chromatin remodeling function has been linked to developmental abnormalities and aggressive cancers. The Drosophila Brahma (Brm) SWI/SNF complex assists in reprogramming and coordinating gene expression in response to ecdysone hormone signaling at critical points during development. We used RNAi knockdown in cultured cells and transgenic flies, and conditional mutant alleles to identify unique and important functions of two conserved Brm complex core subunits, SNR1/SNF5 and BRM/SNF2-SWI2, on target gene regulation. Unexpectedly, we found that incorporation of a loss of function SNR1 subunit led to alterations in RNA polymerase elongation, pre-mRNA splicing regulation and chromatin accessibility of ecdysone hormone regulated genes, revealing that SNR1 functions to restrict BRM-dependent nucleosome remodeling activities downstream of the promoter region. Our results reveal critically important roles of the SNR1/SNF5 subunit and the Brm chromatin remodeling complex in transcription regulation during elongation by RNA Polymerase II and completion of pre-mRNA transcripts that are dependent on hormone signaling in late development.
PMCID: PMC3401471  PMID: 22467207
20.  The inhibitory effect of ABA on floral transition is mediated by ABI5 in Arabidopsis  
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(2):675-684.
Seed germination and flowering initiation are both transitions responding to similar seasonal cues. This study shows that ABSCISIC ACID-INSENSITIVE MUTANT 5 (ABI5), a bZIP transcription factor, which plays an important role in the abscisic acid (ABA)-arrested seed germination, is robustly associated with the floral transition in Arabidopsis. Under long-day conditions, overexpression of ABI5 could delay floral transition through upregulating FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) expression. In contrast, ectopically overexpressing FLC in an abi5 mutant reversed the earlier flowering phenotype. Further analysis indicated that transactivation of FLC could be promoted by ABI5 and/or other abscisic acid-responsive element (ABRE)-binding factors (ABFs). The expression of FLC that was promoted by ABI5 and/or other ABFs could be blocked in a triple SNF1-related protein kinase (SnRK) mutant, snrk2.2/2.3/2.6, despite the presence of ABA. In sharp contrast, when SnRK2.6 was coexpressed, the reduction of transactivity of FLC was reverted in mesophyll protoplasts of snrk2.2/2.3/2.6. Additional results from analysing transgenic plants carrying mutations of phosphoamino acids (ABI5 S42AS145AT201A), which are conserved in ABI5, suggested that SnRK2-mediated ABI5 and/or ABF phosphorylation may be crucial for promoting FLC expression. The transgenic plants ABI5 S42AS145AT201A were insensitive to ABA in seed germination, in addition to having an earlier flowering phenotype. Direct binding of ABI5 to the ABRE/G-box promoter elements existing in FLC was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Mutations at the ABRE/G-box regions in FLC promoter sequences abolished the ABI5-promoted transactivation of FLC. In summary, these results may decipher the inhibitory effect of ABA on floral transition in Arabidopsis.
PMCID: PMC3542054  PMID: 23307919
ABA; ABFs; ABI5; chromatin immunoprecipitation; FLC; flowering time; SnRK2s.
21.  The chromatin-remodeling enzyme BRG1 plays an essential role in primitive erythropoiesis and vascular development 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2007;135(3):493-500.
ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complexes contribute to the proper temporal and spatial patterns of gene expression in mammalian embryos and therefore play important roles in a number of developmental processes. SWI/SNF-like chromatin-remodeling complexes use one of two different ATPases as their catalytic subunit: brahma (BRM, also known as SMARCA2) and brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1, also known as SMARCA4). We have conditionally deleted a floxed Brg1 allele with a Tie2-Cre transgene, which is expressed in developing hematopoietic and endothelial cells. Brg1fl/fl:Tie2-Cre+ embryos die at midgestation from anemia, as mutant primitive erythrocytes fail to transcribe embryonic α-and β-globins, and subsequently undergo apoptosis. Additionally, vascular remodeling of the extraembryonic yolk sac is abnormal in Brg1fl/fl:Tie2-Cre+ embryos. Importantly, Brm deficiency does not exacerbate the erythropoietic or vascular abnormalities found in Brg1fl/fl:Tie2-Cre+ embryos, implying that Brg1-containing SWI/SNF-like complexes, rather than Brm-containing complexes, play a crucial role in primitive erythropoiesis and in early vascular development.
PMCID: PMC2459551  PMID: 18094026
SWI/SNF; Brg1; Tie2-Cre; Erythropoiesis; β-globin; Vascular remodeling; Angiogenesis
22.  SWI/SNF regulates the alternative processing of a specific subset of pre-mRNAs in Drosophila melanogaster 
BMC Molecular Biology  2011;12:46.
The SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling factors have the ability to remodel nucleosomes and play essential roles in key developmental processes. SWI/SNF complexes contain one subunit with ATPase activity, which in Drosophila melanogaster is called Brahma (Brm). The regulatory activities of SWI/SNF have been attributed to its influence on chromatin structure and transcription regulation, but recent observations have revealed that the levels of Brm affect the relative abundances of transcripts that are formed by alternative splicing and/or polyadenylation of the same pre-mRNA.
We have investigated whether the function of Brm in pre-mRNA processing in Drosophila melanogaster is mediated by Brm alone or by the SWI/SNF complex. We have analyzed the effects of depleting individual SWI/SNF subunits on pre-mRNA processing throughout the genome, and we have identified a subset of transcripts that are affected by depletion of the SWI/SNF core subunits Brm, Snr1 or Mor. The fact that depletion of different subunits targets a subset of common transcripts suggests that the SWI/SNF complex is responsible for the effects observed on pre-mRNA processing when knocking down Brm. We have also depleted Brm in larvae and we have shown that the levels of SWI/SNF affect the pre-mRNA processing outcome in vivo.
We have shown that SWI/SNF can modulate alternative pre-mRNA processing, not only in cultured cells but also in vivo. The effect is restricted to and specific for a subset of transcripts. Our results provide novel insights into the mechanisms by which SWI/SNF regulates transcript diversity and proteomic diversity in higher eukaryotes.
PMCID: PMC3221629  PMID: 22047075
23.  FVE, an Arabidopsis Homologue of the Retinoblastoma-Associated Protein That Regulates Flowering Time and Cold Response, Binds to Chromatin as a Large Multiprotein Complex 
Molecules and Cells  2011;32(3):227-234.
Some genetic studies indicate that plant homologues of proteins involved in chromatin modification and remodeling in other organisms may regulate plant development. Previously, we described an Arabidopsis mutant with altered cold-responsive gene expression (acg1) displaying a late flowering phenotype, a null allele of fve. FVE is a homologue of the mammalian retinoblastoma-associated protein (RbAp), one component of a histone deacetylase (HDAC) complex involved in transcriptional repression, and has been shown to be involved in the deacetylation of the FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) chromatin encoding for a repressor of flowering. In an effort to gain insight into the biochemical functions of FVE, we overexpressed FVE tagged with the hemagglutinin (HA) and FLAG epitope at the N-terminus in acg1 mutants. The results of physiological and molecular analyses demonstrated that FVE overexpression in acg1 rescued the mutant phenotypes, including late flowering and alterations in floral pathway gene expression such as FLC, SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CO1 (SOC1), and FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), and also super-induced cold-responsive reporter gene expression. The chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments revealed the amplification of specific DNA regions of FLC and COLD-REGULATED 15A (COR15A), indicating that FVE may bind to the FLC and COR15A chromatin. Gel-filtration chromatography and the immunoprecipitation of putative FVE complexes showed that FVE forms a protein complex of approximately 1.0 MDa. These results demonstrate that FVE may exist as a multiprotein complex, similar to the mammalian HDAC complex harboring RbAp, to regulate flowering time and cold response by associating with the FLC and COR chromatin.
PMCID: PMC3887629  PMID: 21710206
chromatin; flowering; FVE; histone deacetylase; retinoblastoma-associated protein
24.  SWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeling Enzyme ATPases Promote Cell Proliferation in Normal Mammary Epithelial Cells 
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2010;223(3):667-678.
The ATPase subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes, Brahma (BRM) and Brahma related gene 1 (BRG1), can induce cell cycle arrest in BRM and BRG1 deficient tumor cell lines, and mice heterozygous for Brg1 are predisposed to breast tumors, implicating loss of BRG1 as a mechanism for unregulated cell proliferation. To test the hypothesis that loss of BRG1 can contribute to breast cancer, we utilized RNA interference to reduce the amounts of BRM or BRG1 protein in the nonmalignant mammary epithelial cell line, MCF-10A. When grown in reconstituted basement membrane (rBM), these cells develop into acini that resemble the lobes of normal breast tissue. Contrary to expectations, knockdown of either BRM or BRG1 resulted in an inhibition of cell proliferation in monolayer cultures that was enhanced in three-dimensional rBM culture. This inhibition was strikingly enhanced in three-dimensional rBM culture, although some BRM depleted cells were later able to resume proliferation. Cells did not arrest in any specific stage of the cell cycle; instead, the cell cycle length increased by approximately 50%. Thus, SWI/SNF ATPases promote cell cycle progression in nonmalignant mammary epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC3320666  PMID: 20333683
25.  Role of an mSin3A-Swi/Snf Chromatin Remodeling Complex in the Feedback Repression of Bile Acid Biosynthesis by SHP 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(17):7707-7719.
The orphan receptor SHP interacts with many nuclear receptors and inhibits their transcriptional activities. SHP is central to feedback repression of cholesterol 7α hydroxylase gene (CYP7A1) expression by bile acids, which is critical for maintaining cholesterol homeostasis. Using CYP7A1 as a model system, we studied the molecular mechanisms of SHP repression at the level of native chromatin. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies showed that mSin3A and a Swi/Snf complex containing Brm as a central ATPase were recruited to the promoter. This recruitment was associated with chromatin remodeling after bile acid treatment that was blunted by inhibition of the endogenous Swi/Snf function by dominant-negative ATPase mutants. Biochemical studies indicated that SHP was associated with the mSin3A-Swi/Snf complex by direct interaction with Brm and mSin3A through its repression domain. Expression of Brm, but not an ATPase mutant, inhibited CYP7A1 promoter activity and further enhanced SHP-mediated repression. Bile acid-induced recruitment of mSin3A/Brm, chromatin remodeling, and concomitant repression of endogenous CYP7A1 expression were impaired when SHP expression was inhibited by SHP small interfering RNA. Our results suggest that SHP mediates recruitment of mSin3A-Swi/Snf to the CYP7A1 promoter, resulting in chromatin remodeling and gene repression, which may also be a mechanism for the repression by SHP of genes activated by many nuclear receptors. Our study establishes the first link between a Swi/Snf complex and regulation of cholesterol metabolism.
PMCID: PMC506991  PMID: 15314177

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