The characterization of amphibian nucleoplasmins yields new insight into their role in sperm chromatin remodeling.
ABSTRACT: Nucleoplasmin is a nuclear chaperone protein that has been shown to participate in the remodeling of sperm chromatin immediately after fertilization by displacing highly specialized sperm nuclear basic proteins (SNBPs), such as protamine (P type) and protamine-like (PL type) proteins, from the sperm chromatin and by the transfer of histone H2A-H2B. The presence of SNBPs of the histone type (H type) in some organisms (very similar to the histones found in somatic tissues) raises uncertainty about the need for a nucleoplasmin-mediated removal process in such cases and poses a very interesting question regarding the appearance and further differentiation of the sperm chromatin remodeling function of nucleoplasmin and the implicit relationship with SNBP diversity The amphibians represent an unique opportunity to address this issue as they contain genera with SNBPs representative of each of the three main types: Rana (H type); Xenopus (PL type) and Bufo (P type).In this work, the presence of nucleoplasmin in oocyte extracts from these three organisms has been assessed using Western Blotting. We have used mass spectrometry and cloning techniques to characterize the full-length cDNA sequences of Rana catesbeiana and Bufo marinus nucleoplasmin. Northern dot blot analysis shows that nucleoplasmin is mainly transcribed in the egg of the former species. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleoplasmin family members from various metazoans suggests that amphibian nucleoplasmins group closely with mammalian NPM2 proteins.We have shown that these organisms, in striking contrast to their SNBPs, all contain nucleoplasmins with very similar primary structures. This result has important implications as it suggests that nucleoplasmin's role in chromatin assembly during early zygote development could have been complemented by the acquisition of a new function of non-specifically removing SNBPs in sperm chromatin remodeling. This acquired function would have been strongly determined by the constraints imposed by the appearance and differentiation of SNBPs in the sperm.
Project description:Nucleoplasmins are a nuclear chaperone family defined by the presence of a highly conserved N-terminal core domain. X-ray crystallographic studies of isolated nucleoplasmin core domains revealed a β-propeller structure consisting of a set of five monomers that together form a stable pentamer. Recent studies on isolated N-terminal domains from Drosophila 39-kDa FK506-binding protein (FKBP39) and from other chromatin-associated proteins showed analogous, nucleoplasmin-like (NPL) pentameric structures. Here, we report that the NPL domain of the full-length FKBP39 does not form pentameric complexes. Multi-angle light scattering (MALS) and sedimentation equilibrium ultracentrifugation (SE AUC) analyses of the molecular mass of the full-length protein indicated that FKBP39 forms homotetrameric complexes. Molecular models reconstructed from small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) revealed that the NPL domain forms a stable, tetrameric core and that FK506-binding domains are linked to it by intrinsically disordered, flexible chains that form tentacle-like segments. Analyses of full-length FKBP39 and its isolated NPL domain suggested that the distal regions of the polypeptide chain influence and determine the quaternary conformation of the nucleoplasmin-like protein. These results provide new insights regarding the conserved structure of nucleoplasmin core domains and provide a potential explanation for the importance of the tetrameric structural organization of full-length nucleoplasmins.
Project description:Although chromatin condensation is one of the hallmarks of apoptosis, its relationship with DNA fragmentation has been controversial. We show here that apoptotic chromatin condensation is regulated by nucleoplasmin, a protein that decondenses sperm chromatin during male pronuclear assembly. In Xenopus egg extracts, nucleoplasmin is tyrosine-dephosphorylated during apoptosis. This dephosphorylation inactivates the chromatin decondensation activity of nucleoplasmin and leads to its exclusion from the chromatin. Inhibition of tyrosine dephosphorylation prevents apoptotic chromatin condensation but not DNA fragmentation. Studies with mutant proteins indicate that dephosphorylation of nucleoplasmin at Tyr-124 regulates chromatin condensation through changes in the interaction of nucleoplasmin with chromatin and the loss of its chromatin decondensation activity. These results show that chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation are independent processes.
Project description:Sperm chromatin is organized in a protamine-based, highly condensed form, which protects the paternal chromosome complement in transit, facilitates fertilization, and supports correct gene expression in the early embryo. Very few histones remain selectively associated with genes and defined regulatory sequences essential to embryonic development, while most of the genome becomes bound to protamine during spermiogenesis. Chromatin remodeling processes resulting in the dramatically different nuclear structure of sperm are poorly understood. This study shows that perturbation of poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) metabolism, which is mediated by PAR polymerases and PAR glycohydrolase in response to naturally occurring endogenous DNA strand breaks during spermatogenesis, results in the abnormal retention of core histones and histone linker HIST1H1T (H1t) and H1-like linker protein HILS1 in mature sperm. Moreover, genetic or pharmacological alteration of PAR metabolism caused poor sperm chromatin quality and an abnormal nuclear structure in mice, thus reducing male fertility.
Project description:Cysteine oxidation in protamines leads to their oligomerization and contributes to sperm chromatin compaction. Here we identify the Drosophila thioredoxin Deadhead (DHD) as the factor responsible for the reduction of intermolecular disulfide bonds in protamines and their eviction from sperm during fertilization. Protamine chaperone TAP/p32 dissociates DNA-protamine complexes in vitro only when protamine oligomers are first converted to monomers by DHD. dhd-null embryos cannot decondense sperm chromatin and terminate development after the first pronuclear division. Therefore, the thioredoxin DHD plays a critical role in early development to facilitate the switch from protamine-based sperm chromatin structures to the somatic nucleosomal chromatin.
Project description:The coadministration of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) has increased the survival rate of testicular cancer patients to over 90%. Previous studies have demonstrated that BEP induces germ cell damage during the final stages of spermatogenesis, when major chromatin remodeling occurs. Chromatin remodeling permits histone-protamine exchange, resulting in sperm head chromatin compaction. This process involves different epigenetic modifications of the core histones. The objective of these studies was to investigate the effects of BEP on epigenetic modifications to histones involved in chromatin remodeling. Brown Norway rats were treated with BEP, and their testes were removed to isolate pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids by unit gravity sedimentation. Western blot analyses were conducted on extracted proteins to detect the expression of key modified histones. In a second cohort testes were prepared for immunohistochemical analysis. The stage-specific expression of each modified histone mark in rat spermatogenesis suggests the involvement of these modifications in chromatin remodeling. BEP treatment significantly increased expression of H3K9m and decreased that of tH2B (or Hist1h2ba) in pachytene spermatocytes, suggesting that nucleosomes were not destabilized to allow for transcription of genes involved in chromatin remodeling. Moreover, BEP treatment altered the expression of H4K8ac in round and elongating spermatids, suggesting that histone eviction was compromised, leading to a looser chromatin structure in mature spermatozoa. Less-compacted sperm chromatin, with alterations to the sperm epigenome, may have an adverse effect on male fertility.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Since sperm abnormalities are known to be a major reason for recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), any defects in DNA structure and chromatin condensation can place embryos at risk in the early stage of development and implantation. As antioxidants such as vitamin C may play a protective role against the destruction of protamine genes in sperm chromatin, this study was conducted to evaluate the effects of vitamin C on chromatin and the expression of protamine genes in the male partners of couples with RPL. METHODS:Twenty male partners of couples with RPL were selected as the intervention group and received vitamin C supplementation (250 mg daily for 3 months). Healthy fertile men (n=20) were included as controls. Sperm chromatin, DNA integrity, and the expression levels of protamine genes were evaluated before and after treatment. RESULTS:Significant differences were found in sperm morphology, protamine deficiency, and apoptosis between the two groups and before and after vitamin C administration. A significant change was found in mRNA levels of PRM1, PRM2, and the PRM1/PRM2 ratio after treatment. CONCLUSION:Daily oral administration of vitamin C may improve human sperm parameters and DNA integrity by increasing protamine gene expression levels in the male partners of couples with RPL. The beneficial effects of vitamin C supplementation as an antioxidant for the male partners of couples with RPL could lead to improved pregnancy outcomes in these cases.
Project description:We present evidence that chordate protamines have evolved from histone H1. During the final stages of spermatogenesis, the compaction of DNA in many organisms is accomplished by the replacement of histones with a class of arginine-rich proteins called protamines. In other organisms, however, condensation of sperm DNA can occur with comparable efficiency in the presence of somatic-type histones or, alternatively, an intermediate class of proteins called protamine-like proteins. The idea that the highly specialized sperm chromosomal proteins (protamines) and somatic chromosomal proteins (histones) could be related dates back almost to the discovery of these proteins. Although this notion has frequently been revisited since that time, there has been a complete lack of supporting experimental evidence. Here we show that the emergence of protamines in chordates occurred very quickly, as a result of the conversion of a lysine-rich histone H1 to an arginine-rich protamine. We have characterized the sperm nuclear basic proteins of the tunicate Styela montereyensis, which we show consists of both a protamine and a sperm-specific histone H1 with a protamine tail. Comparison of the genes encoding these proteins to that of a sister protochordate, Ciona intestinalis, has indicated this rapid and dramatic change is most likely the result of frameshift mutations in the tail of the sperm-specific histone H1. By establishing an evolutionary link between the chromatin-condensing histone H1s of somatic tissues and the chromatin-condensing proteins of the sperm, these results provide unequivocal support to the notion that vertebrate protamines evolved from histones.
Project description:Differentiation from a haploid round spermatid to a highly streamlined, motile sperm requires temporal and spatial regulation of the expression of numerous proteins. One form of regulation is the storage of translationally repressed mRNAs. In Drosophila spermatocytes, the transcription of many of these translationally delayed mRNAs during spermiogenesis is in turn directly or indirectly regulated by testis-specific homologs of TATA-box-binding-protein-associated factors (tTAFs). Here we present evidence that expression of Mst77F, which is a specialized linker histone-like component of sperm chromatin, and of protamine B (ProtB), which contributes to formation of condensed sperm chromatin, is regulated at three levels. Transcription of Mst77F is guided by a short, promoter-proximal region, while expression of the Mst77F protein is regulated at two levels, early by translational repression via sequences mainly in the 5' part of the ORF and later by either protein stabilization or translational activation, dependent on sequences in the ORF. The protB gene is a direct target of tTAFs, with very short upstream regulatory regions of protB (-105 to +94 bp) sufficient for both cell-type-specific transcription and repression of translation in spermatocytes. In addition, efficient accumulation of the ProtB protein in late elongating spermatids depends on sequences in the ORF. We present evidence that spermatocytes provide the transacting mechanisms for translational repression of these mRNAs, while spermatids contain the machinery to activate or stabilize protamine accumulation for sperm chromatin components. Thus, the proper spatiotemporal expression pattern of major sperm chromatin components depends on cell-type-specific mechanisms of transcriptional and translational control.
Project description:One of the most remarkable chromatin remodelling processes occurs during spermiogenesis, the post-meiotic phase of sperm development during which histones are replaced with sperm-specific protamines to repackage the genome into the highly compact chromatin structure of mature sperm. Here we identify Chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 5 (Chd5) as a master regulator of the histone-to-protamine chromatin remodelling process. Chd5 deficiency leads to defective sperm chromatin compaction and male infertility in mice, mirroring the observation of low CHD5 expression in testes of infertile men. Chd5 orchestrates a cascade of molecular events required for histone removal and replacement, including histone 4 (H4) hyperacetylation, histone variant expression, nucleosome eviction and DNA damage repair. Chd5 deficiency also perturbs expression of transition proteins (Tnp1/Tnp2) and protamines (Prm1/2). These findings define Chd5 as a multi-faceted mediator of histone-to-protamine replacement and depict the cascade of molecular events underlying this process of extensive chromatin remodelling.
Project description:Protamines are arginine-rich DNA-binding proteins that replace histones in elongating spermatids. This leads to hypercondensation of chromatin and ensures physiological sperm morphology, thereby protecting DNA integrity. In mice and humans, two protamines, protamine-1 (Prm1) and protamine-2 (Prm2) are expressed in a species-specific ratio. In humans, alterations of this PRM1/PRM2 ratio is associated with subfertility. By applying CRISPR/Cas9 mediated gene-editing in oocytes, we established Prm2-deficient mice. Surprisingly, heterozygous males remained fertile with sperm displaying normal head morphology and motility. In Prm2-deficient sperm, however, DNA-hypercondensation and acrosome formation was severely impaired. Further, the sperm displayed severe membrane defects resulting in immotility. Thus, lack of Prm2 leads not only to impaired histone to protamine exchange and disturbed DNA-hypercondensation, but also to severe membrane defects resulting in immotility. Interestingly, previous attempts using a regular gene-targeting approach failed to establish Prm2-deficient mice. This was due to the fact that already chimeric animals generated with Prm2(+/-) ES cells were sterile. However, the Prm2-deficient mouse lines established here clearly demonstrate that mice tolerate loss of one Prm2 allele. As such they present an ideal model for further studies on protamine function and chromatin organization in murine sperm.