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Plant Cell Physiol. 2007 May;48(5):745-52. Epub 2007 Apr 5.

Regulation of Arabidopsis thaliana 5S rRNA Genes.

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  • 1Unité Mixte de Recherche CNRS 6547 BIOMOVE, Université Blaise Pascal, 24 Avenue des Landais, F-63177 Aubière Cedex, France.

Abstract

The Arabidopsis thaliana genome comprises around 1,000 copies of 5S rRNA genes encoding both major and minor 5S rRNAs. In mature wild-type leaves, the minor 5S rRNA genes are silent. Using different mutants of DNA methyltransferases (met1, cmt3 and met1 cmt3), components of the RNAi pathway (ago4) or post-translational histone modifier (hda6/sil1), we show that the corresponding proteins are needed to maintain proper methylation patterns at heterochromatic 5S rDNA repeats. Using reverse transcription-PCR and cytological analyses, we report that a decrease of 5S rDNA methylation at CG or CNG sites in these mutants leads to the release of 5S rRNA gene silencing which occurred without detectable changes of the 5S rDNA chromatin structure. In spite of severely reduced DNA methylation, the met1 cmt3 double mutant revealed no increase in minor 5S rRNA transcripts. Furthermore, the release of silencing of minor 5S rDNAs can be achieved without increased formation of euchromatic loops by 5S rDNA, and is independent from the global heterochromatin content. Additionally, fluorescence in situ hybridization with centromeric 180 bp repeats confirmed that these highly repetitive sequences, in spite of their elevated transcriptional activity in the DNA methyltransferase mutants (met1, cmt3 and met1 cmt3), remain within chromocenters of the mutant nuclei.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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