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Nat Genet. 2018 Jun;50(6):865-873. doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0115-y. Epub 2018 May 7.

Locus-specific control of the de novo DNA methylation pathway in Arabidopsis by the CLASSY family.

Author information

1
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA.
2
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA. jlaw@salk.edu.

Abstract

DNA methylation is essential for gene regulation, transposon silencing and imprinting. Although the generation of specific DNA methylation patterns is critical for these processes, how methylation is regulated at individual loci remains unclear. Here we show that a family of four putative chromatin remodeling factors, CLASSY (CLSY) 1-4, are required for both locus-specific and global regulation of DNA methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Mechanistically, these factors act in connection with RNA polymerase-IV (Pol-IV) to control the production of 24-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (24nt-siRNAs), which guide DNA methylation. Individually, the CLSYs regulate Pol-IV-chromatin association and 24nt-siRNA production at thousands of distinct loci, and together, they regulate essentially all 24nt-siRNAs. Depending on the CLSYs involved, this regulation relies on different repressive chromatin modifications to facilitate locus-specific control of DNA methylation. Given the conservation between methylation systems in plants and mammals, analogous pathways may operate in a broad range of organisms.

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