The SU(VAR)3-9-like histone methyltransferases usually catalyze repressive histone H3K9 methylation and are involved in transcriptional gene silencing in eukaryotic organisms. We identified a putative SU(VAR)3-9-like histone methyltransferase SUVR2 by a forward genetic screen and demonstrated that it is involved in transcriptional gene silencing at genomic loci targeted by RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). We found that SUVR2 has no histone methyltransferase activity and the conserved catalytic sites of SUVR2 are dispensable for the function of SUVR2 in transcriptional silencing. SUVR2 forms a complex with its close homolog SUVR1 and associate with three previously uncharacterized SNF2-related chromatin-remodeling proteins CHR19, CHR27, and CHR28. SUVR2 was previously thought to be a component in the RdDM pathway. We demonstrated that SUVR2 contributes to transcriptional gene silencing not only at a subset of RdDM target loci but also at many RdDM-independent target loci. Our study suggests that the involvement of SUVR2 in transcriptional gene silencing is related to nucleosome positioning mediated by its associated chromatin-remodeling proteins.
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