Histone H3 modifications are widely reprogrammed during male meiosis I in rice dependently on MEL1 Argonaute protein
Hua Liu, Ken-Ichi Nonomura
Journal of Cell Science, Published online, 12 August, 2016 DOI:10.1242/jcs.184937
Meiosis is a special type of cell division to halve the chromosome number, achieved by two continuous division not intervened by DNA replication. It is an indispensable mechanism to generate genetic diversity via homologous chromosome pairing and meiotic recombination, in addition to stable transmission of genetic information to the next generation.
We focused on the relation of meiosis and histone modifications (glossary), which are important for control of chromosome structure and gene expression. Generally in plants, dimethylation at the position-9 lysine of histone H3 (H3K9me2) is thought to repress gene expressions and promote the compaction of chromatin structure. In contrast, acethylation at the same position (H3K9ac) activates gene expressions. We found that H3 modifications after the meiotic entry were totally altered from the premeiotic H3 status (Fig. 1A). “Large-scale meiotic chromosome reprogramming (LMR)” named in this paper is thought to be one of the mechanisms promoting meiosis in plants.
Interestingly, LMR was completely disrupted in the mutant of MEL1 (Fig. 1B), that is an Argonaute protein (glossary) specifically expressed in rice germ cells. These results suggest possibilities that MEL1 promotes meiosis via control of LMR, and that the RNA silencing mechanism is important for plant meiosis.
This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (25252004), and by NIG postdoc fellowship.
A wide reprogramming of histone H3K9me2 during meiosis I is dependent on the rice Argonaute protein MEL1.
(A) In wild-type pollen mother cells (PMCs), the level of H3K9me2 (red) is increased remarkably when cells transit from premeiosis to meiosis. Chromatin DNA is stained with DAPI (blue). PAIR2 (green) is a meiotic gene required for homologous chromosome pairing, and shows these cells undergo meiosis I. Scale bar = 5µm.
(B) mel1 mutant PMCs. PAIR2 signal (green) indicates these cells undergoing meiosis I, but no H3K9me2 reprogramming takes place.