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1.  GmPHD5 acts as an important regulator for crosstalk between histone H3K4 di-methylation and H3K14 acetylation in response to salinity stress in soybean 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:178.
Accumulated evidence suggest that specific patterns of histone posttranslational modifications (PTMs) and their crosstalks may determine transcriptional outcomes. However, the regulatory mechanisms of these "histone codes" in plants remain largely unknown.
In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that a salinity stress inducible PHD (plant homeodomain) finger domain containing protein GmPHD5 can read the "histone code" underlying the methylated H3K4. GmPHD5 interacts with other DNA binding proteins, including GmGNAT1 (an acetyl transferase), GmElongin A (a transcription elongation factor) and GmISWI (a chromatin remodeling protein). Our results suggest that GmPHD5 can recognize specific histone methylated H3K4, with preference to di-methylated H3K4. Here, we illustrate that the interaction between GmPHD5 and GmGNAT1 is regulated by the self-acetylation of GmGNAT1, which can also acetylate histone H3. GmGNAT1 exhibits a preference toward acetylated histone H3K14. These results suggest a histone crosstalk between methylated H3K4 and acetylated H3K14. Consistent to its putative roles in gene regulation under salinity stress, we showed that GmPHD5 can bind to the promoters of some confirmed salinity inducible genes in soybean.
Here, we propose a model suggesting that the nuclear protein GmPHD5 is capable of regulating the crosstalk between histone methylation and histone acetylation of different lysine residues. Nevertheless, GmPHD5 could also recruit chromatin remodeling factors and transcription factors of salt stress inducible genes to regulate their expression in response to salinity stress.
PMCID: PMC3288756  PMID: 22168212
2.  Mass spectrometry analysis of the variants of histone H3 and H4 of soybean and their post-translational modifications 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:98.
Histone modifications and histone variants are of importance in many biological processes. To understand the biological functions of the global dynamics of histone modifications and histone variants in higher plants, we elucidated the variants and post-translational modifications of histones in soybean, a legume plant with a much bigger genome than that of Arabidopsis thaliana.
In soybean leaves, mono-, di- and tri-methylation at Lysine 4, Lysine 27 and Lysine 36, and acetylation at Lysine 14, 18 and 23 were detected in HISTONE H3. Lysine 27 was prone to being mono-methylated, while tri-methylation was predominant at Lysine 36. We also observed that Lysine 27 methylation and Lysine 36 methylation usually excluded each other in HISTONE H3. Although methylation at HISTONE H3 Lysine 79 was not reported in A. thaliana, mono- and di-methylated HISTONE H3 Lysine 79 were detected in soybean. Besides, acetylation at Lysine 8 and 12 of HISTONE H4 in soybean were identified. Using a combination of mass spectrometry and nano-liquid chromatography, two variants of HISTONE H3 were detected and their modifications were determined. They were different at positions of A31F41S87S90 (HISTONE variant H3.1) and T31Y41H87L90 (HISTONE variant H3.2), respectively. The methylation patterns in these two HISTONE H3 variants also exhibited differences. Lysine 4 and Lysine 36 methylation were only detected in HISTONE H3.2, suggesting that HISTONE variant H3.2 might be associated with actively transcribing genes. In addition, two variants of histone H4 (H4.1 and H4.2) were also detected, which were missing in other organisms. In the histone variant H4.1 and H4.2, the amino acid 60 was isoleucine and valine, respectively.
This work revealed several distinct variants of soybean histone and their modifications that were different from A. thaliana, thus providing important biological information toward further understanding of the histone modifications and their functional significance in higher plants.
PMCID: PMC2732622  PMID: 19643030
3.  Rice Hypersensitive Induced Reaction Protein 1 (OsHIR1) associates with plasma membrane and triggers hypersensitive cell death 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:290.
In plants, HIR (Hypersensitive Induced Reaction) proteins, members of the PID (Proliferation, Ion and Death) superfamily, have been shown to play a part in the development of spontaneous hypersensitive response lesions in leaves, in reaction to pathogen attacks. The levels of HIR proteins were shown to correlate with localized host cell deaths and defense responses in maize and barley. However, not much was known about the HIR proteins in rice. Since rice is an important cereal crop consumed by more than 50% of the populations in Asia and Africa, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of disease responses in this plant. We previously identified the rice HIR1 (OsHIR1) as an interacting partner of the OsLRR1 (rice Leucine-Rich Repeat protein 1). Here we show that OsHIR1 triggers hypersensitive cell death and its localization to the plasma membrane is enhanced by OsLRR1.
Through electron microscopy studies using wild type rice plants, OsHIR1 was found to mainly localize to the plasma membrane, with a minor portion localized to the tonoplast. Moreover, the plasma membrane localization of OsHIR1 was enhanced in transgenic rice plants overexpressing its interacting protein partner, OsLRR1. Co-localization of OsHIR1 and OsLRR1 to the plasma membrane was confirmed by double-labeling electron microscopy. Pathogen inoculation studies using transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana expressing either OsHIR1 or OsLRR1 showed that both transgenic lines exhibited increased resistance toward the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. However, OsHIR1 transgenic plants produced more extensive spontaneous hypersensitive response lesions and contained lower titers of the invading pathogen, when compared to OsLRR1 transgenic plants.
The OsHIR1 protein is mainly localized to the plasma membrane, and its subcellular localization in that compartment is enhanced by OsLRR1. The expression of OsHIR1 may sensitize the plant so that it is more prone to HR and hence can react more promptly to limit the invading pathogens' spread from the infection sites.
PMCID: PMC3022912  PMID: 21192820

Results 1-3 (3)