MORF-RELATED GENE702, a Reader Protein of Trimethylated Histone H3 Lysine 4 and Histone H3 Lysine 36, Is Involved in Brassinosteroid-Regulated Growth and Flowering Time Control in Rice.Plant Physiol. 2015 Aug; 168(4):1275-85.PP
The methylation of histone H3 lysine 36 (H3K36) plays critical roles in brassinosteroid (BR)-related processes and is involved in controlling flowering time in rice (Oryza sativa). Although enzymes that catalyze this methylation reaction have been described, little is known about the recognition mechanisms to decipher H3K36 methylation information in rice. In this study, biochemical characterizations showed that MORF-RELATED GENE702 (MRG702) binds to trimethylated H3K4 and H3K36 (H3K4me3 and H3K36me3) in vitro. Similar to the loss-of-function mutants of the rice H3K36 methyltransferase gene SET DOMAIN GROUP725 (SDG725), the MRG702 knockdown mutants displayed typical BR-deficient mutant and late-flowering phenotypes. Gene transcription analyses showed that MRG702 knockdown resulted in the down-regulation of BR-related genes, including DWARF11, BRASSINOSTEROD INSENSITIVE1, and BRASSINOSTEROID UPREGULATED1, and several flowering genes, including Early heading date1 (Ehd1), Ehd2, Ehd3, OsMADS50, Heading date 3a, and RICE FLOWERING LOCUS T1. A binding analysis showed that MRG702 directly binds to the chromatin at target gene loci. This binding is dependent on the level of trimethylated H3K36, which is mediated by SDG725. Together, our results demonstrate that MRG702 acts as a reader protein of H3K4me3 and H3K36me3 and deciphers the H3K36 methylation information set by SDG725. Therefore, the role of MRG702 in the BR pathway and in controlling flowering time in rice is to function as a reader protein to decipher methylation information.