Yang C, Bratzel F, Hohmann N, Koch M, Turck F, Calonje M
Plant B3-domain transcription factors have an important role in regulating seed development, in particular seed maturation and germination . Among the B3 factors, the AFL (ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE3 [ABI3], FUSCA3 [FUS3], and LEAFY COTYLEDON2 [LEC2]) proteins activate the seed maturation program in a complex network, while the VAL (VP1/ABI3-LIKE) 1/2/3 proteins suppress AFL action in order to initiate germination and vegetative development through an as yet unknown mechanism [2, 3]. In addition, the AFL genes and LEAFY COTYLEDON1 (LEC1) , referred as seed maturation genes, are epigenetically repressed after germination by the Polycomb group (PcG) machinery via its histone-modifying activities: the histone H3 lysine 27 trimethyltransferase activity of the PcG repressive complex 2 (PRC2) and the E3 H2A monoubiquitin ligase activity of the PRC1 [5-9]. Both histone modifications are required for the repression [7-12]; however, the underlying mechanism is far from clear, because the localization and the role of H2Aub marks are still unknown. In this work, we demonstrate that VAL proteins and AtBMI1-mediated H2Aub initiate repression of seed maturation genes. After the initial off switch, the repression is maintained by PRC2-mediated H3K27me3. Our results indicate that the regulation of seed maturation genes does not follow the classic hierarchical model proposed for animal PcG-mediated repression , since the PRC1 activity is required for the H3K27me3 modification of these genes. Furthermore, we show different mechanisms to achieve PcG repression in plants, as the repression of genes involved in other processes has different requirements for H2Aub and H3K27me3 marking.