Set1 and Kdm5 are antagonists for H3K4 methylation and regulators of the major conidiation-specific transcription factor gene ABA1 in Fusarium fujikuroi.
Here we present the identification and characterisation of the H3K4-specific histone methyltransferase Set1 and its counterpart, the Jumonji C demethylase Kdm5, in the rice pathogen Fusarium fujikuroi. While Set1 is responsible for all detectable H3K4me2/me3 in this fungus, Kdm5 antagonises the H3K4me3 mark. Notably, deletion of both SET1 and KDM5 mainly resulted in the upregulation of genome-wide transcription, also affecting a large set of secondary metabolite (SM) key genes. Although H3K4 methylation is a hallmark of actively transcribed euchromatin, several SM gene clusters located in subtelomeric regions were affected by Set1 and Kdm5. While the regulation of many of them is likely indirect, H3K4me2 levels at gibberellic acid (GA) genes correlated with GA biosynthesis in the wild type, Δkdm5 and OE::KDM5 under inducing conditions. While Δset1 showed an abolished GA3 production in axenic culture, phytohormone biosynthesis was induced in planta, so that residual amounts of GA3 were detected during rice infection. Accordingly, Δset1 exhibited a strongly attenuated, though not abolished, virulence on rice. Apart from regulating secondary metabolism, Set1 and Kdm5 function as activator and repressor of conidiation, respectively. They antagonistically regulate H3K4me3 levels and expression of the major conidiation-specific transcription factor gene ABA1 in F. fujikuroi. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.