Metnase/SETMAR: a domesticated primate transposase that enhances DNA repair, replication, and decatenation.
ABSTRACT: Metnase is a fusion gene comprising a SET histone methyl transferase domain and a transposase domain derived from the Mariner transposase. This fusion gene appeared first in anthropoid primates. Because of its biochemical activities, both histone (protein) methylase and endonuclease, we termed the protein Metnase (also called SETMAR). Metnase methylates histone H3 lysine 36 (H3K36), improves the integration of foreign DNA, and enhances DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair by the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway, potentially dependent on its interaction with DNA Ligase IV. Metnase interacts with PCNA and enhances replication fork restart after stalling. Metnase also interacts with and stimulates TopoIIalpha-dependent chromosome decatenation and regulates cellular sensitivity to topoisomerase inhibitors used as cancer chemotherapeutics. Metnase has DNA nicking and endonuclease activity that linearizes but does not degrade supercoiled plasmids. Metnase has many but not all of the properties of a transposase, including Terminal Inverted Repeat (TIR) sequence-specific DNA binding, DNA looping, paired end complex formation, and cleavage of the 5' end of a TIR, but it cannot efficiently complete transposition reactions. Interestingly, Metnase suppresses chromosomal translocations. It has been hypothesized that transposase activity would be deleterious in primates because unregulated DNA movement would predispose to malignancy. Metnase may have been selected for in primates because of its DNA repair and translocation suppression activities. Thus, its transposase activities may have been subverted to prevent deleterious DNA movement.
Project description:Metnase (SETMAR) is a SET-transposase fusion protein that promotes nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) repair in humans. Although both SET and the transposase domains were necessary for its function in DSB repair, it is not clear what specific role Metnase plays in the NHEJ. In this study, we show that Metnase possesses a unique endonuclease activity that preferentially acts on ssDNA and ssDNA-overhang of a partial duplex DNA. Cell extracts lacking Metnase poorly supported DNA end joining, and addition of wt-Metnase to cell extracts lacking Metnase markedly stimulated DNA end joining, while a mutant (D483A) lacking endonuclease activity did not. Given that Metnase overexpression enhanced DNA end processing in vitro, our finding suggests a role for Metnase's endonuclease activity in promoting the joining of noncompatible ends.
Project description:The molecular mechanism by which foreign DNA integrates into the human genome is poorly understood yet critical to many disease processes, including retroviral infection and carcinogenesis, and to gene therapy. We hypothesized that the mechanism of genomic integration may be similar to transposition in lower organisms. We identified a protein, termed Metnase, that has a SET domain and a transposase/nuclease domain. Metnase methylates histone H3 lysines 4 and 36, which are associated with open chromatin. Metnase increases resistance to ionizing radiation and increases nonhomologous end-joining repair of DNA doublestrand breaks. Most significantly, Metnase promotes integration of exogenous DNA into the genomes of host cells. Therefore, Metnase is a nonhomologous end-joining repair protein that regulates genomic integration of exogenous DNA and establishes a relationship among histone modification, DNA repair, and integration. The data suggest a model wherein Metnase promotes integration of exogenous DNA by opening chromatin and facilitating joining of DNA ends. This study demonstrates that eukaryotic transposase domains can have important cell functions beyond transposition of genetic elements.
Project description:Metnase (also known as SETMAR) is a chimeric SET-transposase protein that plays essential role(s) in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair and replication fork restart. Although the SET domain possesses histone H3 lysine 36 dimethylation (H3K36me2) activity associated with an improved association of early repair components for NHEJ, its role in replication restart is less clear. Here we show that the SET domain is necessary for the recovery from DNA damage at the replication forks following hydroxyurea (HU) treatment. Cells overexpressing the SET deletion mutant caused a delay in fork restart after HU release. Our In vitro study revealed that the SET domain but not the H3K36me2 activity is required for the 5' end of ss-overhang cleavage with fork and non-fork DNA without affecting the Metnase-DNA interaction. Together, our results suggest that the Metnase SET domain has a positive role in restart of replication fork and the 5' end of ss-overhang cleavage, providing a new insight into the functional interaction of the SET and the transposase domains.
Project description:Transposase domain proteins mediate DNA movement from one location in the genome to another in lower organisms. However, in human cells such DNA mobility would be deleterious, and therefore the vast majority of transposase-related sequences in humans are pseudogenes. We recently isolated and characterized a SET and transposase domain protein termed Metnase that promotes DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). Both the SET and transposase domain were required for its NHEJ activity. In this study we found that Metnase interacts with DNA Ligase IV, an important component of the classical NHEJ pathway. We investigated whether Metnase had structural requirements of the free DNA ends for NHEJ repair, and found that Metnase assists in joining all types of free DNA ends equally well. Metnase also prevents long deletions from processing of the free DNA ends, and improves the accuracy of NHEJ. Metnase levels correlate with the speed of disappearance of gamma-H2Ax sites after ionizing radiation. However, Metnase has little effect on homologous recombination repair of a single DSB. Altogether, these results fit a model where Metnase plays a role in the fate of free DNA ends during NHEJ repair of DSBs.
Project description:Metnase (or SETMAR) arose from a chimeric fusion of the Hsmar1 transposase downstream of a protein methylase in anthropoid primates. Although the Metnase transposase domain has been largely conserved, its catalytic motif (DDN) differs from the DDD motif of related transposases, which may be important for its role as a DNA repair factor and its enzymatic activities. Here, we show that substitution of DDN(610) with either DDD(610) or DDE(610) significantly reduced in vivo functions of Metnase in NHEJ repair and accelerated restart of replication forks. We next tested whether the DDD or DDE mutants cleave single-strand extensions and flaps in partial duplex DNA and pseudo-Tyr structures that mimic stalled replication forks. Neither substrate is cleaved by the DDD or DDE mutant, under the conditions where wild-type Metnase effectively cleaves ssDNA overhangs. We then characterized the ssDNA-binding activity of the Metnase transposase domain and found that the catalytic domain binds ssDNA but not dsDNA, whereas dsDNA binding activity resides in the helix-turn-helix DNA binding domain. Substitution of Asn-610 with either Asp or Glu within the transposase domain significantly reduces ssDNA binding activity. Collectively, our results suggest that a single mutation DDN(610) → DDD(610), which restores the ancestral catalytic site, results in loss of function in Metnase.
Project description:Transposable elements have played a critical role in the creation of new genes in all higher eukaryotes, including humans. Although the chimeric fusion protein SETMAR is no longer active as a transposase, it contains both the DNA-binding domain (DBD) and catalytic domain of the Hsmar1 transposase. The amino-acid sequence of the DBD has been virtually unchanged in 50 million years and, as a consequence, SETMAR retains its sequence-specific binding to the ancestral Hsmar1 terminal inverted repeat (TIR) sequence. Thus, the DNA-binding activity of SETMAR is likely to have an important biological function. To determine the structural basis for the recognition of TIR DNA by SETMAR, the design of TIR-containing oligonucleotides and SETMAR DBD variants, crystallization of DBD-DNA complexes, phasing strategies and initial phasing experiments are reported here. An unexpected finding was that oligonucleotides containing two BrdUs in place of thymidines produced better quality crystals in complex with SETMAR than their natural counterparts.
Project description:The Metnase fusion gene consists of a SET histone methyltransferase domain and a transposase domain from Mariner transposase. This transposable element is involved in chromosome decatenation, enhances DNA repair, promotes foreign DNA integration, and assists topoisomerase II function. This study investigates the role of Metnase in colon cancer homeostasis and maintenance of the stemness phenotype in colon cancer stem cells (CSCs). Silencing of Metnase was performed in human cancer cell lines before and after treatment with cisplatin, and in colon CSCs. Subsequent changes in the expression of genes involved in repair mechanisms, DNA synthesis, topoisomerase II function, and metastasis as well stemness transcription factors were studied with RT-qPCR experiments. Cellular viability and apoptosis were evaluated by flow cytometry. The results suggest that Metnase influences the expression of many genes involved in the above processes. Furthermore, Metnase levels appear to impact upon expression of NANOG, OCT3/4, and SOX2. Suppression of Metnase also led to an increase in apoptosis. Therefore, Metnase may possess an important role in DNA repair, topoisomerase II function, and the maintenance of stemness during colon cancer development.
Project description:After DNA replication, sister chromatids must be untangled, or decatenated, before mitosis so that chromatids do not tear during anaphase. Topoisomerase IIalpha (Topo IIalpha) is the major decatenating enzyme. Topo IIalpha inhibitors prevent decatenation, causing cells to arrest during mitosis. Here we report that acute myeloid leukemia cells fail to arrest at the mitotic decatenation checkpoint, and their progression through this checkpoint is regulated by the DNA repair component Metnase (also termed SETMAR). Metnase contains a SET histone methylase and transposase nuclease domain, and is a component of the nonhomologous end-joining DNA double-strand break repair pathway. Metnase interacts with Topo IIalpha and enhances its decatenation activity. Here we show that multiple types of acute leukemia cells have an attenuated mitotic arrest when decatenation is inhibited and that in an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell line this is mediated by Metnase. Of further importance, Metnase permits continued proliferation of these AML cells even in the presence of the clinical Topo IIalpha inhibitor VP-16. In vitro, purified Metnase prevents VP-16 inhibition of Topo IIalpha decatenation of tangled DNA. Thus, Metnase expression levels may predict AML resistance to Topo IIalpha inhibitors, and Metnase is a potential therapeutic target for small molecule interference.
Project description:Metnase is a human SET and transposase domain protein that methylates histone H3 and promotes DNA double-strand break repair. We now show that Metnase physically interacts and co-localizes with Topoisomerase IIalpha (Topo IIalpha), the key chromosome decatenating enzyme. Metnase promotes progression through decatenation and increases resistance to the Topo IIalpha inhibitors ICRF-193 and VP-16. Purified Metnase greatly enhanced Topo IIalpha decatenation of kinetoplast DNA to relaxed circular forms. Nuclear extracts containing Metnase decatenated kDNA more rapidly than those without Metnase, and neutralizing anti-sera against Metnase reversed that enhancement of decatenation. Metnase automethylates at K485, and the presence of a methyl donor blocked the enhancement of Topo IIalpha decatenation by Metnase, implying an internal regulatory inhibition. Thus, Metnase enhances Topo IIalpha decatenation, and this activity is repressed by automethylation. These results suggest that cancer cells could subvert Metnase to mediate clinically relevant resistance to Topo IIalpha inhibitors.
Project description:We recently identified a Transposase domain protein called Metnase, which assists in repairing DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) via non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), and is important for foreign DNA integration into a host cell genome. Since integration is essential for productive lentiviral infection we examined whether Metnase expression levels could have an influence on lentiviral genomic integration. Using cells stably transduced to either over- or under-express Metnase we determined that the expression level of Metnase did indeed correlate with live lentiviral integration. Changes in Metnase levels were accompanied by changes in the number of copies of integrated lentiviral cDNA. While Metnase levels affected lentiviral integration, it had no effect on the amount of either total cellular viral RNA, cDNA or 2-LTR circles. Therefore, Metnase enhances the integration of lentivirus DNA into the host cell genome.