4 years ago

Specifications of targeting heterochromatin modifications in plants

Robert J. Schmitz, Jered M. Wendte


Plants encode a diverse repertoire of DNA methyltransferases that have specialized to target cytosines for methylation in specific sequence contexts. These include the de novo methyltransferase, DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE 2 (DRM2), which methylates cytosines in all sequence contexts through an RNA guided process, the CHROMOMETHYLASES (CMTs), which methylate CHH and CHG cytosines (where H is A, T, or C), and the maintenance methyltransferase, METHYLTRANSFERASE 1 (MET1), which maintains methylation of symmetrical CG contexts. In this review, we discuss the sequence specificities and targeting of each of these pathways. In particular, we highlight recent studies that indicate CMTs preferentially target CWG or CWA/CAW motifs (where W is A or T), and summarize how self-reinforcing feedback loops between DNA methyltransferases and histone modifications characteristic of heterochromatin specify targeting. Finally, the initiating events that lead to gene body methylation are discussed as a model for how interdependent targeting of different silencing pathways can potentiate the establishment of off-target epialleles.

Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/molecular-plant/fulltext/S1674-2052(17)30301-5

DOI: 10.1016/j.molp.2017.10.002

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