An AP Endonuclease Functions in Active DNA Demethylation and Gene Imprinting in Arabidopsis
Rodríguez Ariza, Rafael
EditorPublic Library of Science
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Active DNA demethylation in plants occurs through base excision repair, beginning with removal of methylated cytosine by the ROS1/DME subfamily of 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylases. Active DNA demethylation in animals requires the DNA glycosylase TDG or MBD4, which functions after oxidation or deamination of 5-methylcytosine, respectively. However, little is known about the steps following DNA glycosylase action in the active DNA demethylation pathways in plants and animals. We show here that the Arabidopsis APE1L protein has apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease activities and functions downstream of ROS1 and DME. APE1L and ROS1 interact in vitro and co-localize in vivo. Whole genome bisulfite sequencing of ape1l mutant plants revealed widespread alterations in DNA methylation. We show that the ape1l/zdp double mutant displays embryonic lethality. Notably, the ape1l+/2zdp2/2 mutant shows a maternal-effect lethality phenotype. APE1L and the DNA phosphatase ZDP are required for FWA and MEA gene imprinting in the endosperm and are important for seed development. Thus, APE1L is a new component of the active DNA demethylation pathway and, together with ZDP, regulates gene imprinting in Arabidopsis.