Chen, J., Jiang, J., Liu, J., Qian, S., Song, J., Kabara, R., Delo, I., Serino, G., Liu, F., Hua, Z., Zhong, X.

New Phytologist (2020), doi:10.1111/nph.17103


DNA methylation plays crucial roles in cellular development and stress responses through gene regulation and genome stability control. Precise regulation of DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE 2 (DRM2), the de novo Arabidopsis DNA methyltransferase, is crucial to maintain DNA methylation homeostasis to ensure genome integrity. Compared to the extensive studies on DRM2 targeting mechanisms, little is known regarding the quality control of DRM2 itself.

Here, we conducted yeast two hybrid screen assay and identified an E3 ligase, COP9 INTERACTING F-BOX KELCH 1 (CFK1), as a novel DRM2-interacting partner and targets DRM2 for degradation via the ubiquitin‐26S proteasome pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana. We also performed whole genome bisulfite sequencing (BS‐seq) to determine the biological significance of CFK1-mediated DRM2 degradation.

Loss-of-function CFK1 leads to increased DRM2 protein abundance and overexpression of CFK1 showed reduced DRM2 protein levels. Consistently, CFK1 overexpression induces genome-wide CHH hypomethylation and transcriptional de-repression at specific DRM2 target loci.

This study uncovered a distinct mechanism regulating de novo DNA methyltransferase by CFK1 to control DNA methylation level.