BLISTER Regulates Polycomb-Target Genes, Represses Stress-Regulated Genes and Promotes Stress Responses in Arabidopsis thaliana
Kleinmanns JA, Schatlowski N, Heckmann D, Schubert D – 2017
HIGHLIGHTS The PRC2 interacting protein BLISTER likely acts downstream of PRC2 to silence Polycomb target genes and is a key regulator of specific stress responses in Arabidopsis. Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are key epigenetic regulators of development. The highly conserved Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) represses thousands of target genes by trimethylating H3K27 (H3K27me3). Plant specific PcG components and functions are largely unknown, however, we previously identified the plant-specific protein BLISTER (BLI) as a PRC2 interactor. BLI regulates PcG target genes and promotes cold stress resistance. To further understand the function of BLI, we analyzed the transcriptional profile of bli-1 mutants. Approximately 40% of the up-regulated genes in bli are PcG target genes, however, bli-1 mutants did not show changes in H3K27me3 levels at all tested genes, indicating that BLI regulates PcG target genes downstream of or in parallel to PRC2. Interestingly, a significant number of BLI regulated H3K27me3 target genes is regulated by the stress hormone absciscic acid (ABA). We further reveal an overrepresentation of genes responding to abiotic stresses such as drought, high salinity, or heat stress among the up-regulated genes in bli mutants. Consistently, bli mutants showed reduced desiccation stress tolerance. We conclude that the PRC2 associated protein BLI is a key regulator of stress-responsive genes in Arabidopsis: it represses ABA-responsive PcG target genes, likely downstream of PRC2, and promotes resistance to several stresses such as cold and drought.