; Argonoute 4; DNA methylation; histone deacetylase; methyl CpG binding domain protein; nuclear transport factor 2; ribosomal protein; RNA-directed DNA methylation
DNA methylation, mediated by double-stranded RNA, is a conserved epigenetic phenomenon that protects a genome fromtransposons, silences unwanted genes and has a paramount function in plant or animal development. Methyl CpG bindingdomain proteins are members of a class of proteins that bind tomethylated DNA. The Arabidopsis thaliana genome encodes13 methyl CpG binding domain (MBD) proteins, but themolecular/biological functions of most of these proteins are still notclear. In the present study, we identified four proteins that interact with AtMBD6. Interestingly, three of them contain RNAbinding domains and are co-localized with AtMBD6 in the nucleus. The interacting partners includes AtRPS2C (a 40Sribosomal protein), AtNTF2 (nuclear transport factor 2) and AtAGO4 (Argonoute 4). The fourth protein that physicallyinteracts with AtMBD6 is a histone-modifying enzyme, histone deacetylase 6 (AtHDA6), which is a known component ofthe RNA-mediated gene silencing system. Analysis of genomic DNA methylation in the atmbd6, atrps2c and atntf2mutants, using methylation-sensitive PCR detected decreased DNA methylation at miRNA/siRNA producing loci,pseudogenes and other targets of RNA-directed DNA methylation. Our results indicate that AtMBD6 is involved inRNA-mediated gene silencing and it binds to RNA binding proteins like AtRPS2C, AtAGO4 and AtNTF2. AtMBD6 alsointeracts with histone deacetylase AtHDA6 that might have a role in chromatin condensation at the targets of RdDM.