Arabidopsis Homologs of Retinoblastoma-Associated Protein 46/48 Associate with a Histone Deacetylase to Act Redundantly in Chromatin Silencing
RNA molecules such as small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and antisense RNAs (asRNAs) trigger chromatin silencing of target loci. In the model plant Arabidopsis, RNA–triggered chromatin silencing involves repressive histone modifications such as histone deacetylation, histone H3 lysine-9 methylation, and H3 lysine-27 monomethylation. Here, we report that two Arabidopsis homologs of the human histone-binding proteins Retinoblastoma-Associated Protein 46/48 (RbAp46/48), known as MSI4 (or FVE) and MSI5, function in partial redundancy in chromatin silencing of various loci targeted by siRNAs or asRNAs. We show that MSI5 acts in partial redundancy with FVE to silence FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which is a crucial floral repressor subject to asRNA–mediated silencing, FLC homologs, and other loci including transposable and repetitive elements which are targets of siRNA–directed DNA Methylation (RdDM). Both FVE and MSI5 associate with HISTONE DEACETYLASE 6 (HDA6) to form complexes and directly interact with the target loci, leading to histone deacetylation and transcriptional silencing. In addition, these two genes function in de novo CHH (H = A, T, or C) methylation and maintenance of symmetric cytosine methylation (mainly CHG methylation) at endogenous RdDM target loci, and they are also required for establishment of cytosine methylation in the previously unmethylated sequences directed by the RdDM pathway. This reveals an important functional divergence of the plant RbAp46/48 relatives from animal counterparts.