REPRESSOR OF SILENCING 1 (ROS1) is a DNA demethylation enzyme that was previously identified during a genetic screen for the silencing of both RD29A-LUC and 35S-NPTII transgenes on a T-DNA construct. Here we performed a genetic screen to identify additional mutants in which the 35S-NPTII transgene is silenced. We identified several alleles of ros1 and of the following components of the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway: NRPD1 (the largest subunit of polymerase IV), RDR2, NRPE1 (the largest subunit of polymerase V), NRPD2, AGO4, and DMS3. Our results show that the silencing of 35S-NPTII in the RdDM pathway mutants is due to the reduced expression of ROS1 in the mutants. We also identified a putative histone acetyltransferase (ROS4) from the genetic screen. The acetyltransferase contains a PHD-finger domain that binds to unmethylated histone H3K4. The mutation in ROS4 led to reduction of H3K18 and H3K23 acetylation levels. We show that the silencing of 35S-NPTII and some transposable element genes was released by the ddm1 mutation but that this also required ROS4. Our study identifies a unique antisilencing factor, and reveals that the RdDM pathway has an antisilencing function due to its role in maintaining ROS1 expression.
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