New Progress of PNAS Epigenetic Research in Chinese Academy of Sciences

Recently, researchers from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences have made important progress in the study of histone H3K4 demethylase, confirming that H3K4 specific demethylase JMJ703 in rice is involved in controlling transposon activity The research paper was published online in the journal Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on January 14.

Leading this research is Xiaofeng Cao, director of the Genome Biology Research Center of the Institute of Genetics and Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2008, he won the DuPont Young Scientist Award, and in 2011 won the "China Young Women's Science Award." The main research direction of the research team is DNA and histone methylation and small molecule RNA regulation mechanism.

Transposable elements (Transposable elements) are widely present in plant genomes and are an important part of nuclear DNA. About 40% of the rice genome is composed of transposons, many of which are retrotransposons, including 14% of LTR and 1% of non-LTR retrotransposons. Although they are widely distributed and very rich, however, only a few transposons have been found to be transposed, indicating that the transposon activity may be closely regulated by the host genome, which will potentially induce mutagenesis related to active transposition. The effect is minimized.

Consistent with this concept, there is increasing evidence that epigenetic silencing signals such as DNA methylation, RNA interference, and H3K9me2 selectively function at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels, inhibiting transposition子 活动。 Sub-activity. However, it is still unclear whether the removal of histone modifications associated with active transcription is also involved in transposon silencing.

In this article, the researchers confirmed that rice protein JMJ703, as an active H3K4-specific demethylase, is a necessary condition for transposon silencing. Impaired JMJ703 activity can cause increased levels of H3K4me3, resulting in a large number of endogenous gene misregulations, and transactivation of two non-LTR retrotransposon families. Interestingly, the deletion of JMJ703 does not affect the transposon silenced by other epigenetic signals previously discovered. These results indicate that the removal of active histone modifications is related to transposon silencing, and different subtypes of transposons may be regulated by different apparent signaling pathways.

New research reveals that histone H3K4me3 demethylase plays an important role in the silencing of retrotransposons in higher plants. This work reveals the connection between the removal of active epigenetic markers and the silencing of retrotransposons, and is also of reference significance in elucidating the mechanism of human tumorigenesis.

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