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DNA polymerase epsilon is required for heterochromatin maintenance in Arabidopsis

Abstract : Background Chromatin organizes DNA and regulates its transcriptional activity through epigenetic modifications. Heterochromatic regions of the genome are generally transcriptionally silent, while euchromatin is more prone to transcription. During DNA replication, both genetic information and chromatin modifications must be faithfully passed on to daughter strands. There is evidence that DNA polymerases play a role in transcriptional silencing, but the extent of their contribution and how it relates to heterochromatin maintenance is unclear. Results We isolate a strong hypomorphic Arabidopsis thaliana mutant of the POL2A catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase epsilon and show that POL2A is required to stabilize heterochromatin silencing genome-wide, likely by preventing replicative stress. We reveal that POL2A inhibits DNA methylation and histone H3 lysine 9 methylation. Hence, the release of heterochromatin silencing in POL2A-deficient mutants paradoxically occurs in a chromatin context of increased levels of these two repressive epigenetic marks. At the nuclear level, the POL2A defect is associated with fragmentation of heterochromatin. Conclusion These results indicate that POL2A is critical to heterochromatin structure and function, and that unhindered replisome progression is required for the faithful propagation of DNA methylation throughout the cell cycle.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 11:48:54 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 6:12:40 AM


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Pierre Bourguet, Leticia López-González, Ángeles Gómez-Zambrano, Thierry Pélissier, Amy Hesketh, et al.. DNA polymerase epsilon is required for heterochromatin maintenance in Arabidopsis. Genome Biology, BioMed Central, 2020, 21 (1), ⟨10.1186/s13059-020-02190-1⟩. ⟨hal-03374658⟩



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