Transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) can serve as an innate immunity against invading DNA viruses throughout Eukaryotes. Geminivirus code for TrAP protein to suppress the TGS pathway. Here we identified an Arabidopsis H3K9me2 histone methyltransferase, Su(var)3-9 homolog 4 (SUVH4/KYP), as a bona fide cellular target of TrAP. TrAP interacts with the catalytic domain of KYP and inhibits its activity in vitro. TrAP elicits developmental anomalies phenocopying several TGS mutants, reduces the repressive H3K9me2 mark and CHH DNA methylation, and reactivates numerous endogenous KYP-repressed loci in vivo. Moreover, KYP binds to the viral chromatin, and controls its methylation to combat virus infection. Notably, kyp mutants support systemic infection of TrAP-deficient Geminivirus. We conclude that TrAP attenuates the TGS of the viral chromatin by inhibiting KYP activity to evade host surveillance. These findings provide new insight on the molecular arms race between host antiviral defense and virus counter defense at an epigenetic level.
- Detlef Weigel, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany
© 2015, Castillo-González et al.
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Chromatin accessibility is modulated in a variety of ways to create open and closed chromatin states, both of which are critical for eukaryotic gene regulation. At the single molecule level, how accessibility is regulated of the chromatin fiber composed of canonical or variant nucleosomes is a fundamental question in the field. Here, we developed a single-molecule tracking method where we could analyze thousands of canonical H3 and centromeric variant nucleosomes imaged by high-speed atomic force microscopy. This approach allowed us to investigate how changes in nucleosome dynamics in vitro inform us about transcriptional potential in vivo. By high-speed atomic force microscopy, we tracked chromatin dynamics in real time and determined the mean square displacement and diffusion constant for the variant centromeric CENP-A nucleosome. Furthermore, we found that an essential kinetochore protein CENP-C reduces the diffusion constant and mobility of centromeric nucleosomes along the chromatin fiber. We subsequently interrogated how CENP-C modulates CENP-A chromatin dynamics in vivo. Overexpressing CENP-C resulted in reduced centromeric transcription and impaired loading of new CENP-A molecules. From these data, we speculate that factors altering nucleosome mobility in vitro, also correspondingly alter transcription in vivo. Subsequently, we propose a model in which variant nucleosomes encode their own diffusion kinetics and mobility, and where binding partners can suppress or enhance nucleosome mobility.
The cohesin complex plays essential roles in chromosome segregation, 3D genome organisation, and DNA damage repair through its ability to modify DNA topology. In higher eukaryotes, meiotic chromosome function, and therefore fertility, requires cohesin complexes containing meiosis-specific kleisin subunits: REC8 and RAD21L in mammals and REC-8 and COH-3/4 in Caenorhabditis elegans. How these complexes perform the multiple functions of cohesin during meiosis and whether this involves different modes of DNA binding or dynamic association with chromosomes is poorly understood. Combining time-resolved methods of protein removal with live imaging and exploiting the temporospatial organisation of the C. elegans germline, we show that REC-8 complexes provide sister chromatid cohesion (SCC) and DNA repair, while COH-3/4 complexes control higher-order chromosome structure. High-abundance COH-3/4 complexes associate dynamically with individual chromatids in a manner dependent on cohesin loading (SCC-2) and removal (WAPL-1) factors. In contrast, low-abundance REC-8 complexes associate stably with chromosomes, tethering sister chromatids from S-phase until the meiotic divisions. Our results reveal that kleisin identity determines the function of meiotic cohesin by controlling the mode and regulation of cohesin–DNA association, and are consistent with a model in which SCC and DNA looping are performed by variant cohesin complexes that coexist on chromosomes.