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Plant J. 2014 Jan;77(2):209-21. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12380. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

SKB1/PRMT5-mediated histone H4R3 dimethylation of Ib subgroup bHLH genes negatively regulates iron homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 1 West Beichen Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, China.


Histone modifications play critical roles in the perception of environmental cues by plants. Here, we report that Shk1 binding protein 1 (SKB1/AtPRMT5), which catalyzes the symmetric dimethylation of histone H4R3 (H4R3sme2), is involved in iron homeostasis in Arabidopsis. The SKB1 lesion mutant exhibited higher iron accumulation in shoots and greater tolerance to iron deficiency than the wild type. The expression of SKB1 was not affected by iron, but the level of H4R3sme2 mediated by SKB1 was related to iron status in plants. We showed by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and genome-wide ChIP-seq that SKB1 associated with the chromatin of the Ib subgroup bHLH genes (AtbHLH38, AtbHLH39, AtbHLH100 and AtbHLH101), and symmetrically dimethylated histone H4R3. The quantity of SKB1 that associated with chromatin of the Ib subgroup bHLH genes and the level of H4R3sme2 corresponded to the iron status of plants (higher with increased iron supply and lower when iron was removed). We conclude that SKB1-mediated H4R3sme2 regulates iron homeostasis in Arabidopsis in the context of increasing or decreasing expression of Ib subgroup bHLH genes. Iron deficiency may cause an increase in the disassociation of SKB1 from chromatin of the bHLH genes and a decrease in the level of H4R3sme2, thereby elevating their transcription and enhancing iron uptake. Our findings provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms of iron homeostasis in strategy I plants.

© 2013 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Arabidopsis thaliana; H4R3sme2; SKB1; bHLH transcription factors; histone modification; iron homeostasis

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