Nucleic acids research

SAC3B, a central component of the mRNA export complex TREX-2, is required for prevention of epigenetic gene silencing in Arabidopsis.

PMID 27672037


Epigenetic regulation is important for organismal development and response to the environment. Alteration in epigenetic status has been known mostly from the perspective of enzymatic actions of DNA methylation and/or histone modifications. In a genetic screen for cellular factors involved in preventing epigenetic silencing, we isolated an Arabidopsis mutant defective in SAC3B, a component of the conserved TREX-2 complex that couples mRNA transcription with nuleo-cytoplasmic export. Arabidopsis SAC3B dysfunction causes gene silencing at transgenic and endogenous loci, accompanied by elevation in the repressive histone mark H3K9me2 and by reduction in RNA polymerase Pol II occupancy. SAC3B dysfunction does not alter promoter DNA methylation level of the transgene d35S::LUC, although the DNA demethylase ROS1 is also required for d35S::LUC anti-silencing. THP1 and NUA were identified as SAC3B-associated proteins whose mutations also caused d35S::LUC silencing. RNA-DNA hybrid exists at the repressed loci but is unrelated to gene suppression by the sac3b mutation. Genome-wide analyses demonstrated minor but clear involvement of SAC3B in regulating siRNAs and DNA methylation, particularly at a group of TAS and TAS-like loci. Together our results revealed not only a critical role of mRNA-export factors in transcriptional anti-silencing but also the contribution of SAC3B in shaping plant epigenetic landscapes.