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J Plant Physiol. 2013 Mar 1;170(4):444-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2012.11.007. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

Requirement of histone acetyltransferases HAM1 and HAM2 for epigenetic modification of FLC in regulating flowering in Arabidopsis.

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Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.


Histone acetylation is an important posttranslational modification associated with gene activation. In Arabidopsis, two MYST histone acetyltransferases HAM1 and HAM2 work redundantly to acetylate histone H4 lysine 5 (H4K5ace) in vitro. The double mutant ham1/ham2 is lethal, which suggests the critical role of HAM1 and HAM2 in development. Here, we used an artificial microRNA (amiRNA) strategy in Arabidopsis to uncover a novel function of HAM1 and HAM2. The amiRNA-HAM1/2 transgenic plants showed early flowering and reduced fertility. In addition, they responded normally to photoperiod, gibberellic acid treatment, and vernalization. The expression of flowering-repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) and its homologues, MADS-box Affecting Flowering genes 3/4 (MAF3/4), were decreased in amiRNA-HAM1/2 lines. HAM1 overexpression caused late flowering and elevated expression of FLC and MAF3/4. Mutation of FLC almost rescued the late flowering with HAM1 overexpression, which suggests that HAM1 regulation of flowering time depended on FLC. Global H4 acetylation was decreased in amiRNA-HAM1/2 lines, but increased in HAM1-OE lines, which further confirmed the acetyltransferase activity of HAM1 in vivo. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that H4 hyperacetylation and H4K5ace at FLC and MAF3/4 were less abundant in amiRNA-HAM1/2 lines than the wild type, but were enriched in HAM1-OE lines. Thus, HAM1 and HAM2 may affect flowering time by epigenetic modification of FLC and MAF3/4 chromatins at H4K5 acetylation.

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