The Arabidopsis Nucleosome Remodeler DDM1 Allows DNA Methyltransferases to Access H1-Containing Heterochromatin

Nucleosome remodelers of the DDM1/Lsh family are required for DNA methylation of transposable elements, but the reason for this is unknown. How DDM1 interacts with other methylation pathways, such as small-RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM), which is thought to mediate plant asymmetric methylation through DRM enzymes, is also unclear. Here, we show that most asymmetric methylation is facilitated by DDM1 and mediated by the methyltransferase CMT2 separately from RdDM. We find that heterochromatic sequences preferentially require DDM1 for DNA methylation and that this preference depends on linker histone H1. RdDM is instead inhibited by heterochromatin and absolutely requires the nucleosome remodeler DRD1. Together, DDM1 and RdDM mediate nearly all transposon methylation and collaborate to repress transposition and regulate the methylation and expression of genes. Our results indicate that DDM1 provides DNA methyltransferases access to H1-containing heterochromatin to allow stable silencing of transposable elements in cooperation with the RdDM pathway.

Biology, Vol. 3, Pages 560-577: Regulated DNA Methylation and the Circadian Clock: Implications in #cancer

Since the cloning and discovery of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT), there has been a growing interest in DNA methylation, its role as an epigenetic modification, how it is established and removed, along with the implications in development and disease. In recent years, it has become evident that dynamic DNA methylation accompanies the circadian clock and is found at clock genes in Neurospora, mice and #cancer cells. The relationship among the circadian clock, #cancer and DNA methylation at clock genes suggests a correlative indication that improper DNA methylation may influence clock gene expression, contributing to the etiology of #cancer. The molecular mechanism underlying DNA methylation at clock loci is best studied in the filamentous fungi, Neurospora crassa, and recent data indicate a mechanism analogous to the #RNA-dependent DNA methylation (RdDM) or #RNAi-mediated facultative heterochromatin. Although it is still unclear, DNA methylation at clock genes may function as a terminal modification that serves to prevent the regulated removal of histone modifications. In this capacity, aberrant DNA methylation may serve as a readout of misregulated clock genes and not as the causative agent. This review explores the implications of DNA methylation at clock loci and describes what is currently known regarding the molecular mechanism underlying DNA methylation at circadian clock genes. #MDPI