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1.  Does the Upstream Region Possessing MULE-Like Sequence in Rice Upregulate PsbS1 Gene Expression? 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e102742.
The genomic nucleotide sequences of japonica rice (Sasanishiki and Nipponbare) contained about 2.7-kb unique region at the point of 0.4-kb upstream of the OsPsbS1 gene. In this study, we found that japonica rice with a few exceptions possessing such DNA sequences [denoted to OsMULE-japonica specific sequence (JSS)] is distinct by the presence of Mutator-like-element (MULE). Such sequence was absent in most of indica cultivars and Oryza glaberrima. In OsMULE-JSS1, we noted the presence of possible target site duplication (TSD; CTTTTCCAG) and about 80-bp terminal inverted repeat (TIR) near TSD. We also found the enhancement ofOsPsbS1 mRNA accumulation by intensified light, which was not associated with the DNA methylation status in OsMULE/JSS. In addition, O. rufipogon, possible ancestor of modern rice cultivars was found to compose PsbS gene of either japonica (minor) or indica (major) type. Transient gene expression assay showed that the japonica type promoter elevated a reporter gene activity than indica type.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102742
PMCID: PMC4178011  PMID: 25259844
2.  Locus-specific dependency of endogenous silent loci on MOM1 and non-CG methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2010;5(6):724-726.
RNA-directed modification of histones is essential for maintenance of heterochromatin in higher eukaryotes. In plants, cytosine methylation, especially in non-CG sequence contexts, is tightly related to inactive chromatin, but the mechanisms regulating the coexistence of cytosine methylation and repressive histone modification remain obscure. We recently revealed that MORPHEUS' MOLECULE1 (MOM1) of Arabidopsis thaliana silences endogenous loci related to transposons and homologous to the 24-nt siRNAs accumulated in wild type plants, and suggested that MOM1 transduces RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) signals to repressive histone modification. In this addendum, we focus on the involvement of MOM1 in multiple transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) pathways.
PMCID: PMC3001571  PMID: 20404545
Arabidopsis thaliana; RNA-directed DNA methylation; histone modification; MORPHEUS' MOLECULE 1
3.  Divergent Evolution of CHD3 Proteins Resulted in MOM1 Refining Epigenetic Control in Vascular Plants 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(8):e1000165.
Arabidopsis MOM1 is required for the heritable maintenance of transcriptional gene silencing (TGS). Unlike many other silencing factors, depletion of MOM1 evokes transcription at selected loci without major changes in DNA methylation or histone modification. These loci retain unusual, bivalent chromatin properties, intermediate to both euchromatin and heterochromatin. The structure of MOM1 previously suggested an integral nuclear membrane protein with chromatin-remodeling and actin-binding activities. Unexpected results presented here challenge these presumed MOM1 activities and demonstrate that less than 13% of MOM1 sequence is necessary and sufficient for TGS maintenance. This active sequence encompasses a novel Conserved MOM1 Motif 2 (CMM2). The high conservation suggests that CMM2 has been the subject of strong evolutionary pressure. The replacement of Arabidopsis CMM2 by a poplar motif reveals its functional conservation. Interspecies comparison suggests that MOM1 proteins emerged at the origin of vascular plants through neo-functionalization of the ubiquitous eukaryotic CHD3 chromatin remodeling factors. Interestingly, despite the divergent evolution of CHD3 and MOM1, we observed functional cooperation in epigenetic control involving unrelated protein motifs and thus probably diverse mechanisms.
Author Summary
Epigenetic regulation of transcription usually involves changes in histone modifications, as well as DNA methylation changes in plants and mammals. Previously, we found an exceptional epigenetic regulator in Arabidopsis, MOM1, acting independently of these epigenetic marks. Interestingly, MOM1 controls loci associated with bivalent chromatin marks, intermediate to active euchromatin and silent heterochromatin. Such bivalent marks are often associated with newly inserted and/or potentially active transposons, silent transgenes, and certain chromosomal loci. Notably, bivalent chromatin seems to be characteristic for embryonic stem cells, where such loci change their activity and determination of epigenetic marks during cell differentiation. Here, we provide evidence that in vascular plants, the MOM1-like proteins evolved from the ubiquitous eukaryotic chromatin remodeling factor CHD3. The domains necessary for CHD3 function degenerated in MOM1, became dispensable for its gene silencing activity, and were replaced by a novel, unrelated domain providing silencing function. Therefore, MOM1-like proteins use a different silencing mechanism compared to the ancestral CHD3s. In spite of this divergent evolution, CHD3 and MOM1 seem to retain a functional cooperation in control of transcriptionally silent loci. Our results provide an unprecedented example of an evolutionary path for epigenetic components resulting in increased complexity of an epigenetic regulatory network characteristic for multicellular eukaryotes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000165
PMCID: PMC2507757  PMID: 18725928

Results 1-3 (3)