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ARGONAUTE4 Control of Locus-Specific siRNA Accumulation and DNA and Histone Methylation

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Science  31 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5607, pp. 716-719
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079695

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Abstract

Proteins of the ARGONAUTE family are important in diverse posttranscriptional RNA-mediated gene-silencing systems as well as in transcriptional gene silencing in Drosophila and fission yeast and in programmed DNA elimination in Tetrahymena. We cloned ARGONAUTE4 (AGO4) from a screen for mutants that suppress silencing of the Arabidopsis SUPERMAN(SUP) gene. The ago4-1 mutant reactivated silentSUP alleles and decreased CpNpG and asymmetric DNA methylation as well as histone H3 lysine-9 methylation. In addition,ago4-1 blocked histone and DNA methylation and the accumulation of 25-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that correspond to the retroelement AtSN1. These results suggest that AGO4 and long siRNAs direct chromatin modifications, including histone methylation and non-CpG DNA methylation.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jacobsen{at}ucla.edu.

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