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MBD5 and MBD6 couple DNA methylation to gene silencing through the J-domain protein SILENZIO

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Science  03 Jun 2021:
eabg6130
DOI: 10.1126/science.abg6130

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Abstract

DNA methylation is associated with transcriptional repression of eukaryotic genes and transposons, but the downstream mechanism of gene silencing is largely unknown. Here we describe two Arabidopsis methyl-CpG binding domain proteins, MBD5 and MBD6, that are recruited to chromatin by recognition of CG methylation, and redundantly repress a subset of genes and transposons without affecting DNA methylation levels. These methyl-readers recruit a J-domain protein, SILENZIO, that acts as a transcriptional repressor in loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments. J-domain proteins often serve as co-chaperones with HSP70s. Indeed, we found that SILENZIO’s conserved J-domain motif was required for its interaction with HSP70s and for its silencing function. These results uncover an unprecedented role of a molecular chaperone J-domain protein in gene silencing downstream of DNA methylation.

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