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.
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.
arabidopsis; VIN3; FLC; hypoxia; vernalization; chromatin remodelling; survival
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.
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.
FLC; FY; FCA; flowering time; polyadenylation
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.
trimethyl lysine 27; FLC; VIN3; bivalent domain; histone replacement
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.
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.
ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX; Flowering; FLOWERING LOCUS C; Histone methylation; Winter-annual Arabidopsis
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.
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.
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.
photoperiod; chromatin; flowering
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.
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.
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.
SIZ1; SA; flowering; SUMO; FLD; FLC
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ABA; ABFs; ABI5; chromatin immunoprecipitation; FLC; flowering time; SnRK2s.
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.
SWI/SNF; Brg1; Tie2-Cre; Erythropoiesis; β-globin; Vascular remodeling; Angiogenesis
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.
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.
In plants, flowering is a critical developmental transition orchestrated by four regulatory pathways. Distinct alleles encoding mutant forms of the Arabidopsis potential calcium sensor CML24 cause alterations in flowering time. CML24 can act as a switch in the response to day length perception; loss-of-function cml24 mutants are late flowering under long days, whereas apparent gain of CML24 function results in early flowering. CML24 function is required for proper CONSTANS (CO) expression; components upstream of CO in the photoperiod pathway are largely unaffected in the cml24 mutants. In conjunction with CML23, a related calmodulin-like protein, CML24 also inhibits FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) expression and therefore impacts the autonomous regulatory pathway of the transition to flowering. Nitric oxide (NO) levels are elevated in cml23/cml24 double mutants and are largely responsible for FLC transcript accumulation. Therefore, CML23 and CML24 are potential calcium sensors that have partially overlapping function that may act to transduce calcium signals to regulate NO accumulation. In turn, NO levels influence the transition to flowering through both the photoperiod and autonomous regulatory pathways.
calcium; nitric oxide; calmodulin; cell signaling; flowering
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.
Switch (SWI)/sucrose nonfermentable (SNF) is an evolutionarily conserved complex with ATPase function, capable of regulating nucleosome position to alter transcriptional programs within the cell. It is known that the SWI/SNF complex is responsible for regulation of many genes involved in cell cycle control and proliferation, and it has recently been implicated in cancer development. The ATPase action of SWI/SNF is conferred through either the brahma-related gene 1 (Brg1) or brahma (Brm) subunit of the complex, and it is of central importance to the modification of nucleosome position. In this study, the role of the Brg1 and Brm subunits were examined as they relate to chromatin structure and organization. Deletion of the Brg1 ATPase results in dissolution of pericentromeric heterochromatin domains and a redistribution of histone modifications associated with these structures. This effect was highly specific to Brg1 and is not reproduced by the loss of Brm or SNF5/BAF47/INI1. Brg1 deficiency is associated with the appearance of micronuclei and aberrant mitoses that are a by-product of dissociated chromatin structure. Thus, Brg1 plays a critical role in maintaining chromatin structural integrity.
Transition to flowering in plants is tightly controlled by environmental cues, which regulate the photoperiod and vernalization pathways, and endogenous signals, which mediate the autonomous and gibberellin pathways. In this work, we investigated the role of two Zn2+-finger transcription factors, the paralogues AtVOZ1 and AtVOZ2, in Arabidopsis thaliana flowering. Single atvoz1-1 and atvoz2-1 mutants showed no significant phenotypes as compared to wild type. However, atvoz1-1 atvoz2-1 double mutant plants exhibited several phenotypes characteristic of flowering-time mutants. The double mutant displayed a severe delay in flowering, together with additional pleiotropic phenotypes. Late flowering correlated with elevated expression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which encodes a potent floral repressor, and decreased expression of its target, the floral promoter FD. Vernalization rescued delayed flowering of atvoz1-1 atvoz2-1 and reversed elevated FLC levels. Accumulation of FLC transcripts in atvoz1-1 atvoz2-1 correlated with increased expression of several FLC activators, including components of the PAF1 and SWR1 chromatin-modifying complexes. Additionally, AtVOZs were shown to bind the promoter of MOS3/SAR3 and directly regulate expression of this nuclear pore protein, which is known to participate in the regulation of flowering time, suggesting that AtVOZs exert at least some of their flowering regulation by influencing the nuclear pore function. Complementation of atvoz1-1 atvoz2-1 with AtVOZ2 reversed all double mutant phenotypes, confirming that the observed morphological and molecular changes arise from the absence of functional AtVOZ proteins, and validating the functional redundancy between AtVOZ1 and AtVOZ2.
VOZ; Flowering; Arabidopsis; FLC; MOS
Flowering time is an important trait in Brassica rapa crops. FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) is a MADS-box transcription factor that acts as a potent repressor of flowering. Expression of FLC is silenced when plants are exposed to low temperature, which activates flowering. There are four copies of FLC in B. rapa. Analyses of different segregating populations have suggested that BraA.FLC.a (BrFLC1) and BraA.FLC.b (BrFLC2) play major roles in controlling flowering time in B. rapa.
We analyzed the BrFLC2 sequence in nine B. rapa accessions, and identified a 57-bp insertion/deletion (InDel) across exon 4 and intron 4 resulting in a non-functional allele. In total, three types of transcripts were identified for this mutated BrFLC2 allele. The InDel was used to develop a PCR-based marker, which was used to screen a collection of 159 B. rapa accessions. The deletion genotype was present only in oil-type B. rapa, including ssp. oleifera and ssp. tricolaris, and not in other subspecies. The deletion genotype was significantly correlated with variation in flowering time. In contrast, the reported splicing site variation in BrFLC1, which also leads to a non-functional locus, was detected but not correlated with variation in flowering time in oil-type B. rapa, although it was correlated with variation in flowering time in vegetable-type B. rapa.
Our results suggest that the naturally occurring deletion mutation across exon 4 and intron 4 in BrFLC2 gene contributes greatly to variation in flowering time in oil-type B. rapa. The observed different relationship between BrFLC1 or BrFLC2 and flowering time variation indicates that the control of flowering time has evolved separately between oil-type and vegetable-type B. rapa groups.