DRD1, a SWI/SNF-like chromatin remodeling protein, regulates a heat-activated transposon in Arabidopsis thaliana

Kanako Takehira, Yui Hayashi, Kosuke Nozawa, Lu Chen, Takamasa Suzuki, Yukari Masuta, Atsushi Kato, Hidetaka Ito

ONSEN is a heat-activated LTR retrotransposon in Arabidopsis thaliana. Screens to identify transcriptional regulatory factors of ONSEN revealed a SWI/SNF-like chromatin remodeling protein, DRD1, which cooperates with plant-specific RNA polymerase and is involved in RNA-directed DNA methylation. ONSEN transcript level was increased in the drd1 mutant relative to wild-type under heat stress, indicating that DRD1 plays a significant role in the silencing of activated ONSEN under the stress condition. The transcript level of HsfA2, which is directly involved in transcriptional activation of ONSEN, was not higher in the drd1 mutant than in the wild-type. Interestingly, no transgenerational transposition of ONSEN was observed in the drd1 mutant, even though DNA methylation levels were significantly reduced and expression levels were increased compared to the wild-type. These results suggest that other factors are involved in the regulation of ONSEN transposition in addition to the transcript level of ONSEN