Eukaryotes produce multiple products from a single gene locus by alternative splicing, translation or promoter usage as mechanisms expanding the complexity of their proteome. Trithorax proteins, including the Arabidopsis Trithorax-like protein ATX1, are histone modifiers regulating gene activity. Here, we report that a novel member of the Trithorax family has a role unrelated to chromatin. It is encoded from an internal promoter in the ATX1 locus as an isoform containing only the SET domain (soloSET). It is located exclusively in the cytoplasm and its substrate is the elongation factor 1A (EF1A). Loss of SET, but not of the histone modifying ATX1-SET activity, affects cytoskeletal actin bundling illustrating that the two isoforms have distinct functions in Arabidopsis cells.
Changes in gene expression enable organisms to respond to environmental stress. Levels of cellular lipid second messengers, such as the phosphoinositide PtdIns5P, change in response to a variety of stresses and can modulate the localization, conformation and activity of a number of intracellular proteins. The plant trithorax factor (ATX1) tri-methylates the lysine 4 residue of histone H3 (H3K4me3) at gene coding sequences, which positively correlates with gene transcription. Microarray analysis has identified a target gene (WRKY70) that is regulated by both ATX1 and by the exogenous addition of PtdIns5P in Arabidopsis. Interestingly, ATX1 contains a PtdIns5P interaction domain (PHD finger) and thus, phosphoinositide signaling, may link environmental stress to changes in gene transcription.
Plants respond to environmental stresses by altering transcription of genes involved in the response. The chromatin modifier ATX1 regulates expression of a large number of genes; consequently, factors that affect ATX1 activity would also influence expression from ATX1-regulated genes. Here, we demonstrate that dehydration is such a factor implicating ATX1 in the plants response to drought. In addition, we report that a hitherto unknown Arabidopsis gene, At3g10550, encodes a phosphoinositide 3-phosphatase related to the animal myotubularins (AtMTM1). Myotubularin activities in plants have not been described and herein, we identify an overlapping set of genes co-regulated by ATX1 and AtMTM under drought conditions. We propose that these shared genes represent the ultimate targets of partially overlapping branches of the pathways of the nuclear ATX1 and the cytoplasmic AtMTM1. Our analyses offer first genome-wide insights into the relationship of an epigenetic factor and a lipid phosphatase from the other end of a shared drought responding pathway in Arabidopsis.
The plant cell wall is a dynamic structure playing important roles in the control of plant cell growth and differentiation. These processes involve global reprogramming of the genome driven by dynamic changes in chromatin structure. The chromatin modifier ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG OF TRITHORAX (ATX1) methylates lysine residue 4 on histone H3 (H3K4me), acting as an epigenetic mark on associated genes. The remarkable overrepresentation in the ATX1-regulated gene fraction of genes encoding plasma membrane and cell wall-remodeling activities suggested a link between two separate factors affecting growth, development and adaptation in Arabidopsis: the wall-modifying activities regulating cell extension, growth and fate, and the epigenetic mechanisms regulating chromatin structure and gene expression. A co-regulated fraction of specific wall-modifying proteins suggests that they may function together. Here, we study the ATX1-dependent expression of the gene encoding the wall-loosening factor XTH33 as a test case for development- and tissue-specific effects displayed by the chromatin modifier. In addition, we show that XTH33 is, most likely, an integral plasma membrane protein. A putative transmembrane domain is conserved in some, but not all, XTH family members, suggesting that they may be differently positioned when functioning as wall modifiers.
Myotubularin and myotubularin-related proteins are evolutionarily conserved in eukaryotes. Defects in their function result in muscular dystrophy, neuronal diseases and leukemia in humans. In contrast to the animal lineage, where genes encoding both active and inactive myotubularins (phosphoinositide 3-phosphatases) have appeared and proliferated in the basal metazoan group, myotubularin genes are not found in the unicellular relatives of green plants. However, they are present in land plants encoding proteins highly similar to the active metazoan enzymes. Despite their remarkable structural conservation, plant and animal myotubularins have significantly diverged in their functions. While loss of myotubularin function causes severe disease phenotypes in humans it is not essential for the cellular homeostasis under normal conditions in Arabidopsis thaliana. Instead, myotubularin deficiency is associated with altered tolerance to dehydration stress. The two Arabidopsis genes AtMTM1 and AtMTM2 have originated from a segmental chromosomal duplication and encode catalytically active enzymes. However, only AtMTM1 is involved in elevating the cellular level of phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate in response to dehydration stress, and the two myotubularins differentially affect the Arabidopsis dehydration stress-responding transcriptome. AtMTM1 and AtMTM2 display different localization patterns in the cell, consistent with the idea that they associate with different membranes to perform specific functions. A single amino acid mutation in AtMTM2 (L250W) results in a dramatic loss of subcellular localization. Mutations in this region are linked to disease conditions in humans.
The anaerobe Bacteroides fragilis is a highly aerotolerant, opportunistic pathogen that is an important component of the human intestinal microbiota. Aerotolerance has been linked to a robust oxidative stress response, which in turn is necessary for maximal virulence in a mouse intra-abdominal abscess model. During oxidative stress, there is a dynamic change in gene expression that encompasses a third of the genome, but there is a paucity of information on factors that control this response. A large number of transcription regulators, including about 14 extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factors, are affected by oxidative stress, and one of these, EcfO, was used as a model of ECF sigma factor activity during stress. Genetic and biochemical experiments showed that EcfO was located in an operon with a structurally unique anti-sigma factor, Reo. Cells deleted for EcfO were impaired during exposure to oxygen or other forms of oxidative stress, whereas reo mutants were more resistant to stress. Protein-protein interaction experiments demonstrated that Reo directly interacts with and regulates the activity of EcfO. Expression microarray and chromatin affinity precipitation assays were used to identify target genes regulated by EcfO, and an EcfO recognition sequence was identified. The results revealed that EcfO controls a regulon of novel lipoproteins whose distribution in nature is restricted to members of the Bacteroidetes phylum.
Tri-methylated H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) is associated with transcriptionally active genes, but its function in the transcription process is still unclear. Point mutations in the catalytic domain of ATX1 (ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX1), a H3K4 methyltransferase, and RNAi knockdowns of subunits of the AtCOMPASS-like (Arabidopsis Complex Proteins Associated with Set) were used to address this question. We demonstrate that both ATX1 and AtCOMPASS-like are required for high level accumulation of TBP (TATA-binding protein) and Pol II at promoters and that this requirement is independent of the catalytic histone modifying activity. However, the catalytic function is critically required for transcription as H3K4me3 levels determine the efficiency of transcription elongation. The roles of H3K4me3, ATX1, and AtCOMPASS-like may be of a general relevance for transcription of Trithorax-activated eukaryotic genes.
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