skip to main content

Title: The SUMO ligase MMS21 profoundly influences maize development through its impact on genome activity and stability
The post-translational addition of SUMO plays essential roles in numerous eukaryotic processes including cell division, transcription, chromatin organization, DNA repair, and stress defense through its selective conjugation to numerous targets. One prominent plant SUMO ligase is METHYL METHANESULFONATE-SENSITIVE (MMS)-21/HIGH-PLOIDY (HPY)-2/NON-SMC-ELEMENT (NSE)-2, which has been connected genetically to development and endoreduplication. Here, we describe the potential functions of MMS21 through a collection of UniformMu and CRISPR/Cas9 mutants in maize ( Zea mays ) that display either seed lethality or substantially compromised pollen germination and seed/vegetative development. RNA-seq analyses of leaves, embryos, and endosperm from mms21 plants revealed a substantial dysregulation of the maize transcriptome, including the ectopic expression of seed storage protein mRNAs in leaves and altered accumulation of mRNAs associated with DNA repair and chromatin dynamics. Interaction studies demonstrated that MMS21 associates in the nucleus with the NSE4 and STRUCTURAL MAINTENANCE OF CHROMOSOMES (SMC)-5 components of the chromatin organizer SMC5/6 complex, with in vitro assays confirming that MMS21 will SUMOylate SMC5. Comet assays measuring genome integrity, sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents, and protein versus mRNA abundance comparisons implicated MMS21 in chromatin stability and transcriptional controls on proteome balance. Taken together, we propose that MMS21-directed SUMOylation of the SMC5/6 complex and other targets enables proper gene expression by influencing chromatin structure.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Mittelsten Scheid, Ortrun
Date Published:
Journal Name:
PLOS Genetics
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Background

    H2A.X is an H2A variant histone in eukaryotes, unique for its ability to respond to DNA damage, initiating the DNA repair pathway. H2A.X replacement within the histone octamer is mediated by the FAcilitates Chromatin Transactions (FACT) complex, a key chromatin remodeler. FACT is required for DEMETER (DME)-mediated DNA demethylation at certain loci inArabidopsis thalianafemale gametophytes during reproduction. Here, we sought to investigate whether H2A.X is involved in DME- and FACT-mediated DNA demethylation during reproduction.


    H2A.X is encoded by two genes in Arabidopsis genome,HTA3andHTA5. We generatedh2a.xdouble mutants, which displayed a normal growth profile, whereby flowering time, seed development, and root tip organization, S-phase progression and proliferation were all normal. However,h2a.xmutants were more sensitive to genotoxic stress, consistent with previous reports. H2A.X fused to Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) under theH2A.Xpromoter was highly expressed especially in newly developing Arabidopsis tissues, including in male and female gametophytes, where DME is also expressed. We examined DNA methylation inh2a.xdeveloping seeds and seedlings using whole genome bisulfite sequencing, and found that CG DNA methylation is decreased genome-wide inh2a.xmutant endosperm. Hypomethylation was most striking in transposon bodies, and occurred on both parental alleles in the developing endosperm, but not the embryo or seedling.h2a.x-mediated hypomethylated sites overlapped DME targets, but also included other loci, predominately located in heterochromatic transposons and intergenic DNA.


    Our genome-wide methylation analyses suggest that H2A.X could function in preventing access of the DME demethylase to non-canonical sites. Overall, our data suggest that H2A.X is required to maintain DNA methylation homeostasis in the unique chromatin environment of the Arabidopsis endosperm.

    more » « less
  2. INTRODUCTION Eukaryotes contain a highly conserved signaling pathway that becomes rapidly activated when adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels decrease, as happens during conditions of nutrient shortage or mitochondrial dysfunction. The adenosine monophosphate (AMP)–activated protein kinase (AMPK) is activated within minutes of energetic stress and phosphorylates a limited number of substrates to biochemically rewire metabolism from an anabolic state to a catabolic state to restore metabolic homeostasis. AMPK also promotes prolonged metabolic adaptation through transcriptional changes, decreasing biosynthetic genes while increasing expression of genes promoting lysosomal and mitochondrial biogenesis. The transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a well-appreciated effector of AMPK-dependent signals, but many of the molecular details of how AMPK controls these processes remain unknown. RATIONALE The requirement of AMPK and its specific downstream targets that control aspects of the transcriptional adaptation of metabolism remain largely undefined. We performed time courses examining gene expression changes after various mitochondrial stresses in wild-type (WT) or AMPK knockout cells. We hypothesized that a previously described interacting protein of AMPK, folliculin-interacting protein 1 (FNIP1), may be involved in how AMPK promotes increases in gene expression after metabolic stress. FNIP1 forms a complex with the protein folliculin (FLCN), together acting as a guanosine triphosphate (GTP)–activating protein (GAP) for RagC. The FNIP1-FLCN complex has emerged as an amino acid sensor to the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), involved in how amino acids control TFEB activation. We therefore examined whether AMPK may regulate FNIP1 to dominantly control TFEB independently of amino acids. RESULTS AMPK was found to govern expression of a core set of genes after various mitochondrial stresses. Hallmark features of this response were activation of TFEB and increases in the transcription of genes specifying lysosomal and mitochondrial biogenesis. AMPK directly phosphorylated five conserved serine residues in FNIP1, suppressing the function of the FLCN-FNIP1 GAP complex, which resulted in dissociation of RagC and mTOR from the lysosome, promoting nuclear translocation of TFEB even in the presence of amino acids. FNIP1 phosphorylation was required for AMPK to activate TFEB and for subsequent increases in peroxisome proliferation–activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC1α) and estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα) mRNAs. Cells in which the five serines in FNIP1 were mutated to alanine were unable to increase lysosomal and mitochondrial gene expression programs after treatment with mitochondrial poisons or AMPK activators despite the presence and normal regulation of all other substrates of AMPK. By contrast, neither AMPK nor its control of FNIP1 were needed for activation of TFEB after amino acid withdrawal, illustrating the specificity to energy-limited conditions. CONCLUSION Our data establish FNIP1 as the long-sought substrate of AMPK that controls TFEB translocation to the nucleus, defining AMPK phosphorylation of FNIP1 as a singular event required for increased lysosomal and mitochondrial gene expression programs after metabolic stresses. This study also illuminates the larger biological question of how mitochondrial damage triggers a temporal response of repair and replacement of damaged mitochondria: Within early hours, AMPK-FNIP1–activated TFEB induces a wave of lysosome and autophagy genes to promote degradation of damaged mitochondria, and a few hours later, TFEB–up-regulated PGC1⍺ and ERR⍺ promote expression of a second wave of genes specifying mitochondrial biogenesis. These insights open therapeutic avenues for several common diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, ranging from neurodegeneration to type 2 diabetes to cancer. Mitochondrial damage activates AMPK to phosphorylate FNIP1, stimulating TFEB translocation to the nucleus and sequential waves of lysosomal and mitochondrial biogenesis. After mitochondrial damage, activated AMPK phosphorylates FNIP1 (1), causing inhibition of FLCN-FNIP1 GAP activity (2). This leads to accumulation of RagC in its GTP-bound form, causing dissociation of RagC, mTORC1, and TFEB from the lysosome (3). TFEB is therefore not phosphorylated and translocates to the nucleus, inducing transcription of lysosomal or autophagy genes, with parallel increases in NT-PGC1α mRNA (4), which, in concert with ERRα (5), subsequently induces mitochondrial biogenesis (6). CCCP, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone; CLEAR, coordinated lysosomal expression and regulation; GDP, guanosine diphosphate; P, phosphorylation. [Figure created using BioRender] 
    more » « less
  3. Barr, Jeremy J. (Ed.)
    CRISPR-mediated interference relies on complementarity between a guiding CRISPR RNA (crRNA) and target nucleic acids to provide defense against bacteriophage. Phages escape CRISPR-based immunity mainly through mutations in the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) and seed regions. However, previous specificity studies of Cas effectors, including the class 2 endonuclease Cas12a, have revealed a high degree of tolerance of single mismatches. The effect of this mismatch tolerance has not been extensively studied in the context of phage defense. Here, we tested defense against lambda phage provided by Cas12a-crRNAs containing preexisting mismatches against the genomic targets in phage DNA. We find that most preexisting crRNA mismatches lead to phage escape, regardless of whether the mismatches ablate Cas12a cleavage in vitro. We used high-throughput sequencing to examine the target regions of phage genomes following CRISPR challenge. Mismatches at all locations in the target accelerated emergence of mutant phage, including mismatches that greatly slowed cleavage in vitro. Unexpectedly, our results reveal that a preexisting mismatch in the PAM-distal region results in selection of mutations in the PAM-distal region of the target. In vitro cleavage and phage competition assays show that dual PAM-distal mismatches are significantly more deleterious than combinations of seed and PAM-distal mismatches, resulting in this selection. However, similar experiments with Cas9 did not result in emergence of PAM-distal mismatches, suggesting that cut-site location and subsequent DNA repair may influence the location of escape mutations within target regions. Expression of multiple mismatched crRNAs prevented new mutations from arising in multiple targeted locations, allowing Cas12a mismatch tolerance to provide stronger and longer-term protection. These results demonstrate that Cas effector mismatch tolerance, existing target mismatches, and cleavage site strongly influence phage evolution. 
    more » « less
  4. Accurate annotation of plant genomes remains complex due to the presence of many pseudogenes arising from whole-genome duplication-generated redundancy or the capture and movement of gene fragments by transposable elements. Machine learning on genome-wide epigenetic marks, informed by transcriptomic and proteomic training data, could be used to improve annotations through classification of all putative protein-coding genes as either constitutively silent or able to be expressed. Expressed genes were subclassified as able to express both mRNAs and proteins or only RNAs, and CG gene body methylation was associated only with the former subclass. More than 60,000 protein-coding genes have been annotated in the reference genome of maize inbred B73. About two-thirds of these genes are transcribed and are designated the filtered gene set (FGS). Classification of genes by our trained random forest algorithm was accurate and relied only on histone modifications or DNA methylation patterns within the gene body; promoter methylation was unimportant. Other inbred lines are known to transcribe significantly different sets of genes, indicating that the FGS is specific to B73. We accurately classified the sets of transcribed genes in additional inbred lines, arising from inbred-specific DNA methylation patterns. This approach highlights the potential of using chromatin information to improve annotations of functional genes. 
    more » « less
  5. Arabidopsisseed development involves maternal small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that induce RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) through theNRPD1-mediated pathway. To investigate their biological functions, we characterized siRNAs in the endosperm and seed coat that were separated by laser-capture microdissection (LCM) in reciprocal genetic crosses with annrpd1mutant. We also monitored the spatial-temporal activity of theNRPD1-mediated pathway on seed development using the AGO4:GFP::AGO4 (promoter:GFP::protein) reporter and promoter:GUS sensors of siRNA-mediated silencing. From these approaches, we identified four distinct groups of siRNA loci dependent on or independent of the maternalNRPD1allele in the endosperm or seed coat. A group of maternally expressedNRPD1-siRNA loci targets endosperm-preferred genes, including those encoding AGAMOUS-LIKE (AGL) transcription factors. Using translational promoter:AGL::GUS constructs as sensors, we demonstrate that spatial and temporal expression patterns of these genes in the endosperm are regulated by theNRPD1-mediated pathway irrespective of complete silencing (AGL91) or incomplete silencing (AGL40) of these target genes. Moreover, altered expression of these siRNA-targeted genes affects seed size. We propose that the corresponding maternal siRNAs could account for parent-of-origin effects on the endosperm in interploidy and hybrid crosses. These analyses reconcile previous studies on siRNAs and imprinted gene expression during seed development.

    more » « less