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A reciprocal inhibition between ARID1 and MET1 in male and female gametes in Arabidopsis

Li, Lei, Wu, Wenye, Zhao, Youshang, Zheng, Binglian
Journal of integrative plant biology 2017 v.59 no.9 pp. 657-668
Arabidopsis, DNA, DNA methylation, females, gametogenesis, gametophytes, males, megasporocytes, methyltransferases, mutants, ova, ovules, pollen, spermatozoa, transcription (genetics), transcription factors
Both female and male gametophytes harbor companion cells and gametes. MET1, a DNA methyltransferase, is down‐regulated in companion cells. However, how MET1 is differentially regulated in gametophytes remains unexplored. ARID1, a transcription factor that is specifically depleted in sperm cells, is occupied by MET1‐dependent CG methylation. Here, we show that MET1 confines ARID1 to the vegetative cell of male gametes, but ARID1 conversely represses MET1 in the central cell of female gametes. Compared to the vegetative cell‐localization in wild type pollen, ARID1 expands to sperm cells in the met1 mutant. To understand whether MET1‐dependent ARID1 inhibition exists during female gametogenesis, we first show that ARID1 is expressed in the megaspore mother cell (MMC), ARID1 but not MET1 is detectable in the central cell at maturity. Interestingly, compared to the absence of MET1 in the central cell and the egg cell of wild type ovules, MET1 significantly accumulates in these two cells in arid1 ovules. Lastly, we show that both ARID1 and MET1 are required for the cell specification of MMC. Collectively, our results uncover a reciprocal dependence between ARID1 and MET1, and provide a clue to further understand how the specification of MMC is likely regulated by DNA methylation.