FACT complex is required for DNA demethylation at heterochromatin during reproduction in Arabidopsis.

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The DEMETER (DME) DNA glycosylase catalyzes genome-wide DNA demethylation and is required for endosperm genomic imprinting and embryo viability. Targets of DME-mediated DNA demethylation reside in small, euchromatic, AT-rich transposons and at the boundaries of large transposons, but how DME interacts with these diverse chromatin states is unknown. The STRUCTURE SPECIFIC RECOGNITION PROTEIN 1 (SSRP1) subunit of the chromatin remodeler FACT (facilitates chromatin transactions), was previously shown to be involved in the DME-dependent regulation of genomic imprinting in Arabidopsis endosperm. Therefore, to investigate the interaction between DME and chromatin, we focused on the activity of the two FACT subunits, SSRP1 and SUPPRESSOR of TY16 (SPT16), during reproduction in Arabidopsis We found that FACT colocalizes with nuclear DME in vivo, and that DME has two classes of target sites, the first being euchromatic and accessible to DME, but the second, representing over half of DME targets, requiring the action of FACT for DME-mediated DNA demethylation genome-wide. Our results show that the FACT-dependent DME targets are GC-rich heterochromatin domains with high nucleosome occupancy enriched with H3K9me2 and H3K27me1. Further, we demonstrate that heterochromatin-associated linker histone H1 specifically mediates the requirement for FACT at a subset of DME-target loci. Overall, our results demonstrate that FACT is required for DME targeting by facilitating its access to heterochromatin.