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PLoS Genet. 2016 Sep 13;12(9):e1006298. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006298. eCollection 2016 Sep.

Nuclear Localised MORE SULPHUR ACCUMULATION1 Epigenetically Regulates Sulphur Homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.
Botanical Institute, Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
Centre for Organismal Studies Heidelberg, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
Department of Plant Physiology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.
Institute of Biological Chemistry, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, United States of America.
Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.


Sulphur (S) is an essential element for all living organisms. The uptake, assimilation and metabolism of S in plants are well studied. However, the regulation of S homeostasis remains largely unknown. Here, we report on the identification and characterisation of the more sulphur accumulation1 (msa1-1) mutant. The MSA1 protein is localized to the nucleus and is required for both S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) production and DNA methylation. Loss of function of the nuclear localised MSA1 leads to a reduction in SAM in roots and a strong S-deficiency response even at ample S supply, causing an over-accumulation of sulphate, sulphite, cysteine and glutathione. Supplementation with SAM suppresses this high S phenotype. Furthermore, mutation of MSA1 affects genome-wide DNA methylation, including the methylation of S-deficiency responsive genes. Elevated S accumulation in msa1-1 requires the increased expression of the sulphate transporter genes SULTR1;1 and SULTR1;2 which are also differentially methylated in msa1-1. Our results suggest a novel function for MSA1 in the nucleus in regulating SAM biosynthesis and maintaining S homeostasis epigenetically via DNA methylation.

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