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Plant Cell. 2009 Oct;21(10):3257-69. doi: 10.1105/tpc.109.070060. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX-RELATED7 is required for methylation of lysine 4 of histone H3 and for transcriptional activation of FLOWERING LOCUS C.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1544, USA.


In the winter-annual accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana, presence of an active allele of FRIGIDA (FRI) elevates expression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), a repressor of flowering, and thus confers a vernalization requirement. FLC activation by FRI involves methylation of Lys 4 of histone H3 (H3K4) at FLC chromatin. Many multicellular organisms that have been examined contain two classes of H3K4 methylases, a yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) Set1 class and a class related to Drosophila melanogaster Trithorax. In this work, we demonstrate that ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX-RELATED7 (ATXR7), a putative Set1 class H3K4 methylase, is required for proper FLC expression. The atxr7 mutation partially suppresses the delayed flowering of a FRI-containing line. The rapid flowering of atxr7 is associated with reduced FLC expression and is accompanied by decreased H3K4 methylation and increased H3K27 methylation at FLC. Thus, ATXR7 is required for the proper levels of these histone modifications that set the level of FLC expression to create a vernalization requirement in winter-annual accessions. Previously, it has been reported that lesions in ATX1, which encodes a Trithorax class H3K4 methylase, partially suppress the delayed flowering of winter-annual Arabidopsis. We show that the flowering phenotype of atx1 atxr7 double mutants is additive relative to those of single mutants. Therefore, both classes of H3K4 methylases appear to be required for proper regulation of FLC expression.

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