Functional characterization of LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 in the moss Physcomitrella patens: its conserved protein interactions in land plants
In flowering plants, LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 (LHP1)/TERMINAL FLOWER 2 (TFL2) is known to interact with polycomb group (PcG) and non‐PcG proteins and control developmental programs. LHP1/TFL2 is an ancient protein and has been characterized in the early‐divergent plant Physcomitrella patens. However, interacting partners of PpLHP1 other than the chromomethylase PpCMT have not been identified to date. Also, while functional polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is known to exist in P. patens, there is no experimental evidence to support the existence of PRC1‐like complexes in these mosses. In this study, using protein−protein interaction methods, transient expression assays and targeted gene knockout strategy, we report the conserved properties of LHP1/TFL2 using the Physcomitrella system. We show that a PRC1‐like core complex comprising of PpLHP1 and the putative PRC1 Really Interesting New Gene (RING)‐finger proteins can form in vivo. Also, the interaction between PpRING and the PRC2 subunit PpCLF further sheds light on the possible existence of combinatorial interactions between the Polycomb Repressive Complex (PRC) in early land plants. Based on the interaction between PpLHP1 and putative hnRNP PpLIF2‐like in planta, we propose that the link between PpLHP1 regulation and RNA metabolic processes was established early in plants. The conserved subnuclear distribution pattern of PpLHP1 in moss protonema further provides insight into the manner in which LHP1/TFL2 are sequestered in the nucleoplasm in discrete foci. The PpLHP1 loss‐of‐function plants generated in this study share some of the pleiotropic defects with multiple aberrations reported in lhp1/tfl2. Taken together, this work documents an active role for PpLHP1 in epigenetic regulatory network in P. patens.
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