SWI2/SNF2 chromatin remodeling ATPases overcome polycomb repression and control floral organ identity with the LEAFY and SEPALLATA3 transcription factors.
ABSTRACT Patterning of the floral organs is exquisitely controlled and executed by four classes of homeotic regulators. Among these, the class B and class C floral homeotic regulators are of central importance as they specify the male and female reproductive organs. Inappropriate induction of the class B gene APETALA3 (AP3) and the class C gene AGAMOUS (AG) causes reduced reproductive fitness and is prevented by polycomb repression. At the onset of flower patterning, polycomb repression needs to be overcome to allow induction of AP3 and AG and formation of the reproductive organs. We show that the SWI2/SNF2 chromatin-remodeling ATPases SPLAYED (SYD) and BRAHMA (BRM) are redundantly required for flower patterning and for the activation of AP3 and AG. The SWI2/SNF2 ATPases are recruited to the regulatory regions of AP3 and AG during flower development and physically interact with two direct transcriptional activators of class B and class C gene expression, LEAFY (LFY) and SEPALLATA3 (SEP3). SYD and LFY association with the AP3 and AG regulatory loci peaks at the same time during flower patterning, and SYD binding to these loci is compromised in lfy and lfy sep3 mutants. This suggests a mechanism for SWI2/SNF2 ATPase recruitment to these loci at the right stage and in the correct cells. SYD and BRM act as trithorax proteins, and the requirement for SYD and BRM in flower patterning can be overcome by partial loss of polycomb activity in curly leaf (clf) mutants, implicating the SWI2/SNF2 chromatin remodelers in reversal of polycomb repression.
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ABSTRACT: The genes of the trithorax (trxG) and Polycomb groups (PcG) are best known for their regulatory functions in Drosophila, where they control homeotic gene expression. Plants and animals are thought to have evolved multicellularity independently. Although homeotic genes control organ identity in both animals and plants, they are unrelated. Despite this fact, several plant homeotic genes are negatively regulated by plant genes similar to the repressors from the animal PcG. However, plant-activating regulators of the trxG have not been characterized. We provide genetic, molecular, functional, and biochemical evidence that an Arabidopsis gene, ATX1, which is similar to the Drosophila trx, regulates floral organ development. The effects are specific: structurally and functionally related flower homeotic genes are under different control. We show that ATX1 is an epigenetic regulator with histone H3K4 methyltransferase activity. This is the first example of this kind of enzyme activity reported in plants, and, in contrast to the Drosophila and the yeast trithorax homologs, ATX1 can methylate in the absence of additional proteins. In its ability to methylate H3K4 as a recombinant protein, ATX1 is similar to the human homolog. ATX1 functions as an activator of homeotic genes, like Trithorax in animal systems. The histone methylating activity of the ATX1-SET domain argues that the molecular basis of these effects is the ability of ATX1 to modify chromatin structure. Our results suggest a conservation of trxG function between the animal and plant kingdoms despite the different structural nature of their targets.Current Biology 05/2003; 13(8):627-37. · 9.65 Impact Factor
Article: Termination of stem cell maintenance in Arabidopsis floral meristems by interactions between WUSCHEL and AGAMOUS.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Floral meristems and shoot apical meristems (SAMs) are homologous, self-maintaining stem cell systems. Unlike SAMs, floral meristems are determinate, and stem cell maintenance is abolished once all floral organs are initiated. To investigate the underlying regulatory mechanisms, we analyzed the interactions between WUSCHEL (WUS), which specifies stem cell identity, and AGAMOUS (AG), which is required for floral determinacy. Our results show that repression of WUS by AG is essential for terminating the floral meristem and that WUS can induce AG expression in developing flowers. Together, this suggests that floral determinacy depends on a negative autoregulatory mechanism involving WUS and AG, which terminates stem cell maintenance.Cell 07/2001; 105(6):805-14. · 32.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The homeotic gene AGAMOUS (AG) has dual roles in specifying organ fate and limiting stem cell proliferation in Arabidopsis flowers. We show that the floral identity protein LEAFY (LFY), a transcription factor expressed throughout the flower, cooperates with the homeodomain protein WUSCHEL (WUS) to activate AG in the center of flowers. WUS was previously identified because of its role in maintaining stem cell populations in both shoot and floral meristems. The unsuspected additional role of WUS in regulating floral homeotic gene expression supports the hypothesis that floral patterning uses a general meristem patterning system that was present before flowers evolved. We also show that AG represses WUS at later stages of floral development, thus creating a negative feedback loop that is required for the determinate growth of floral meristems.Cell 07/2001; 105(6):793-803. · 32.40 Impact Factor