Zhang D.et al.
Methylating RNA post-transcriptionally is emerging as a significant mechanism of gene regulation in eukaryotes. The crosstalk between RNA methylation and histone modification is critical for chromatin state and gene expression in mammals. However, it is not well understood mechanistically in plants. Here, the authors report a genome-wide correlation between RNA 5-cytosine methylation (m C) and histone 3 lysine27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) in Arabidopsis. The plant-specific Polycomb group (PcG) protein EMBRYONIC FLOWER1 (EMF1) plays dual roles as activators or repressors. Transcriptome-wide RNA m C profiling revealed that m C peaks are mostly enriched in chromatin regions that lacked H3K27me3 in both wild type and emf1 mutants. EMF1 repressed the expression of m C methyltransferase tRNA specific methyltransferase 4B (TRM4B) through H3K4me3, independent of PcG-mediated H3K27me3 mechanism. The 5-Cytosine methylation on targets is increased in emf1 mutants, thereby decreased the mRNA transcripts of photosynthesis and chloroplast genes. In addition, impairing EMF1 activity reduced H3K27me3 levels of PcG targets, such as starch genes, which are de-repressed in emf1 mutants. Both EMF1-mediated promotion and repression of gene activities via m C and H3K27me3 are required for normal vegetative growth. Collectively, t study reveals a previously undescribed epigenetic mechanism of RNA m C modifications and histone modifications to regulate gene expression in eukaryotes.