28 January 2023

HSFA1a modulates plant heat stress responses and alters the 3D chromatin organization of enhancer-promoter interactions.

Huang, Y., An, J., Sircar, S., Bergis, C., Lopes, C.D., He, X., Da Costa, B., Tan, F.Q., Bazin, J., Antunez-Sanchez, J., Mammarella, M.F., Devani, R.S., Brik-Chaouche, R., Bendahmane, A., Frugier, F., Xia, C.J., Rothan, C., Probst, A.V., Mohamed, Z., Bergounioux, C., Delarue, M., Zhang, Y., Zheng, S., Crespi, M., Fragkostefanakis, S., Mahfouz, M.M., Ariel, F., Gutierrez-Marcos, J., Raynaud, C., Latrasse, D., Benhamed, M. - Nature Communication, 2023


The complex and dynamic three-dimensional organization of chromatin within the nucleus makes understanding the control of gene expression challenging, but also opens up possible ways to epigenetically modulate gene expression. Because plants are sessile, they evolved sophisticated ways to rapidly modulate gene expression in response to environmental stress, that are thought to be coordinated by changes in chromatin conformation to mediate specific cellular and physiological responses. However, to what extent and how stress induces dynamic changes in chromatin reorganization remains poorly understood. Here, we comprehensively investigated genome-wide chromatin changes associated with transcriptional reprogramming response to heat stress in tomato. Our data show that heat stress induces rapid changes in chromatin architecture, leading to the transient formation of promoter-enhancer contacts, likely driving the expression of heat-stress responsive genes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that chromatin spatial reorganization requires HSFA1a, a transcription factor (TF) essential for heat stress tolerance in tomato. In light of our findings, we propose that TFs play a key role in controlling dynamic transcriptional responses through 3D reconfiguration of promoter-enhancer contacts.

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