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author:("farrow, Sara")
1.  Post-fertilization expression of FLOWERING LOCUS T suppresses reproductive reversion 
FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) encodes a systemic signal communicating the perception of long day photoperiod from leaves to the shoot apex to induce the floral transition. Transient expression of FT in the phloem companion cells of rosette leaves for one to several days was previously shown to be sufficient to commit plants to flowering. Here we show that partial commitment results in pleiotropic inflorescence meristem reversion phenotypes. FT expression is much stronger in organs formed after the floral transition such as cauline leaves, sepals, and developing siliques. We show that expression of FT and its paralog TWIN SISTER OF FT (TSF) after the floral transition plays a role in inflorescence meristem stabilization even if plants flower very late in development. CONSTANS (CO), the major activator of FT, is not required to prevent late reproductive reversion. The requirement for FT is temporal since reproductive reversion to a vegetative state occurs only in recently formed inflorescence meristems. Unlike for the expression of FT in leaves, neither the distal putative FT enhancer nor long-day photoperiod is required for FT expression in developing siliques. Expression of FT in developing siliques and their supporting stems is sufficient to stabilize flowering during the sensitive developmental window indicating that fruit generated FT participates in inflorescence stabilization.
PMCID: PMC4012189  PMID: 24817870
flowering; FLOWERING LOCUS T; floral reversion
2.  Brahma Is Required for Proper Expression of the Floral Repressor FLC in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17997.
BRAHMA (BRM) is a member of a family of ATPases of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes from Arabidopsis. BRM has been previously shown to be crucial for vegetative and reproductive development.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we carry out a detailed analysis of the flowering phenotype of brm mutant plants which reveals that, in addition to repressing the flowering promoting genes CONSTANS (CO), FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CO1 (SOC1), BRM also represses expression of the general flowering repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Thus, in brm mutant plants FLC expression is elevated, and FLC chromatin exhibits increased levels of histone H3 lysine 4 tri-methylation and decreased levels of H3 lysine 27 tri-methylation, indicating that BRM imposes a repressive chromatin configuration at the FLC locus. However, brm mutants display a normal vernalization response, indicating that BRM is not involved in vernalization-mediated FLC repression. Analysis of double mutants suggests that BRM is partially redundant with the autonomous pathway. Analysis of genetic interactions between BRM and the histone H2A.Z deposition machinery demonstrates that brm mutations overcome a requirement of H2A.Z for FLC activation suggesting that in the absence of BRM, a constitutively open chromatin conformation renders H2A.Z dispensable.
BRM is critical for phase transition in Arabidopsis. Thus, BRM represses expression of the flowering promoting genes CO, FT and SOC1 and of the flowering repressor FLC. Our results indicate that BRM controls expression of FLC by creating a repressive chromatin configuration of the locus.
PMCID: PMC3061888  PMID: 21445315
3.  CHD3 Proteins and Polycomb Group Proteins Antagonistically Determine Cell Identity in Arabidopsis 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(8):e1000605.
Dynamic regulation of chromatin structure is of fundamental importance for modulating genomic activities in higher eukaryotes. The opposing activities of Polycomb group (PcG) and trithorax group (trxG) proteins are part of a chromatin-based cellular memory system ensuring the correct expression of specific transcriptional programs at defined developmental stages. The default silencing activity of PcG proteins is counteracted by trxG proteins that activate PcG target genes and prevent PcG mediated silencing activities. Therefore, the timely expression and regulation of PcG proteins and counteracting trxG proteins is likely to be of fundamental importance for establishing cell identity. Here, we report that the chromodomain/helicase/DNA–binding domain CHD3 proteins PICKLE (PKL) and PICKLE RELATED2 (PKR2) have trxG-like functions in plants and are required for the expression of many genes that are repressed by PcG proteins. The pkl mutant could partly suppress the leaf and flower phenotype of the PcG mutant curly leaf, supporting the idea that CHD3 proteins and PcG proteins antagonistically determine cell identity in plants. The direct targets of PKL in roots include the PcG genes SWINGER and EMBRYONIC FLOWER2 that encode subunits of Polycomb repressive complexes responsible for trimethylating histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3). Similar to mutants lacking PcG proteins, lack of PKL and PKR2 caused reduced H3K27me3 levels and, therefore, increased expression of a set of PcG protein target genes in roots. Thus, PKL and PKR2 are directly required for activation of PcG protein target genes and in roots are also indirectly required for repression of PcG protein target genes. Reduced PcG protein activity can lead to cell de-differentiation and callus-like tissue formation in pkl pkr2 mutants. Thus, in contrast to mammals, where PcG proteins are required to maintain pluripotency and to prevent cell differentiation, in plants PcG proteins are required to promote cell differentiation by suppressing embryonic development.
Author Summary
In higher eukaryotes only a small proportion of genomic information is required in any specific cell type at a given developmental stage. The intricate decision whether a gene should be active or repressed is made by the counteractive activities of trithorax group (trxG) and Polycomb group (PcG) proteins that form part of a chromatin-based cellular memory system. Here we show that the CHD3 proteins PICKLE and PICKLE RELATED2 (PKR2) have trxG-like functions in plants and activate PcG protein target genes. Lack of PKL function can partially suppress PcG mutant leaf and flower phenotypes, supporting the idea that CHD3 proteins and PcG proteins act antagonistically during plant development. We identified PcG genes among the direct PKL/PKR2 targets in roots and demonstrated that lack of pkl pkr2 results in reduced PcG protein activities, leading to similar root phenotypes in pkl pkr2 and PcG protein mutants. Previous studies have implicated PKL as a transcriptional repressor, but we provide evidence that CHD3 proteins such as PKL and PKR2 act as transcriptional activators in plants and assume trxG-like function to counteract PcG protein–mediated gene repression.
PMCID: PMC2718830  PMID: 19680533
4.  Arabidopsis TFL2/LHP1 Specifically Associates with Genes Marked by Trimethylation of Histone H3 Lysine 27 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(6):e86.
TERMINAL FLOWER 2/LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 (TFL2/LHP1) is the only Arabidopsis protein with overall sequence similarity to the HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 (HP1) family of metazoans and S. pombe. TFL2/LHP1 represses transcription of numerous genes, including the flowering-time genes FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), as well as the floral organ identity genes AGAMOUS (AG) and APETALA 3 (AP3). These genes are also regulated by proteins of the Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), and it has been proposed that TFL2/LHP1 represents a potential stabilizing factor of PRC2 activity. Here we show by chromatin immunoprecipitation and hybridization to an Arabidopsis Chromosome 4 tiling array (ChIP-chip) that TFL2/LHP1 associates with hundreds of small domains, almost all of which correspond to genes located within euchromatin. We investigated the chromatin marks to which TFL2/LHP1 binds and show that, in vitro, TFL2/LHP1 binds to histone H3 di- or tri-methylated at lysine 9 (H3K9me2 or H3K9me3), the marks recognized by HP1, and to histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 27 (H3K27me3), the mark deposited by PRC2. However, in vivo TFL2/LHP1 association with chromatin occurs almost exclusively and co-extensively with domains marked by H3K27me3, but not H3K9me2 or -3. Moreover, the distribution of H3K27me3 is unaffected in lhp1 mutant plants, indicating that unlike PRC2 components, TFL2/LHP1 is not involved in the deposition of this mark. Rather, our data suggest that TFL2/LHP1 recognizes specifically H3K27me3 in vivo as part of a mechanism that represses the expression of many genes targeted by PRC2.
Author Summary
Stable repression of gene expression is an important aspect of the developmental programs of higher organisms. In plants and animals, DNA is organized within chromatin, which contains at its core a set of evolutionarily conserved proteins called histones. These proteins can be modified for example by methylation or acetylation of lysines or phosphorylation of serines. Specific combinations of these histone modifications are interpreted by other chromatin proteins and thereby play essential roles in gene regulation. One such potential effector of the histone code in the flowering plant Arabidopsis is TERMINAL FLOWER 2/LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 (TFL2/LHP1). Here we present highly detailed “epigenomic” maps that establish that TFL2/LHP1 associates with a subset of Arabidopsis genes that are marked by tri-methylation of Lysine 27 of histone H3. In plants and animals, an evolutionarily conserved complex called PRC2 deposits this mark. In Drosophila and mammals this modified histone is then read by another complex, called PRC1, to maintain the stable repression of genes. In Arabidopsis however, no PRC1 complex exists, and our results provide evidence that TFL2/LHP1 may fulfill a related function.
PMCID: PMC1885283  PMID: 17542647

Results 1-4 (4)