DNA sequence encoded repression of rRNA gene transcription in chromatin.
ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic genomes are packaged into nucleosomes that occlude DNA from interacting with most DNA-binding proteins. Nucleosome positioning and chromatin organization is critical for gene regulation. We have investigated the mechanism by which nucleosomes are positioned at the promoters of active and silent rRNA genes (rDNA). The reconstitution of nucleosomes on rDNA results in sequence-dependent nucleosome positioning at the rDNA promoter that mimics the chromatin structure of silent rRNA genes in vivo, suggesting that active mechanisms are required to reorganize chromatin structure upon gene activation. Nucleosomes are excluded from positions observed at active rRNA genes, resulting in transcriptional repression on chromatin. We suggest that the repressed state is the default chromatin organization of the rDNA and gene activation requires ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling activities that move the promoter-bound nucleosome about 22-bp upstream. We suggest that nucleosome remodelling precedes promoter-dependent transcriptional activation as specific inhibition of ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling suppresses the initiation of RNA Polymerase I transcription in vitro. Once initiated, RNA Polymerase I is capable of elongating through reconstituted chromatin without apparent displacement of the nucleosomes. The results reveal the functional cooperation of DNA sequence and chromatin remodelling complexes in nucleosome positioning and in establishing the epigenetic active or silent state of rRNA genes.
Project description:Previous studies have established that the Snf2h-containing chromatin remodeling complex NoRC mediates epigenetic silencing of a subset of rRNA genes (rDNA) by recruiting enzymatic activities that modify histones and methylate DNA. Here we have analyzed nucleosome positions at the murine rDNA promoter and show that active and silent rDNA copies are characterized not only by specific epigenetic marks but also by differently positioned nucleosomes. At active genes the promoter-bound nucleosome covers nucleotides from -157 to -2, whereas at silent genes the nucleosome is positioned 25 nucleotides further downstream. We provide evidence that NoRC is the molecular machine that shifts the promoter-bound nucleosome downstream of the transcription start site into a translational position that is unfavorable for transcription complex formation.
Project description:Active and repressed ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes are characterised by specific epigenetic marks and differentially positioned nucleosomes at their promoters. Repression of the rRNA genes requires a non-coding RNA (pRNA) and the presence of the nucleolar remodeling complex (NoRC). ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes are essential regulators of DNA-dependent processes, and this regulation occurs via the modulation of DNA accessibility in chromatin. We have studied the targeting of NoRC to the rRNA gene promoter; its mechanism of nucleosome positioning, in which a nucleosome is placed over the transcription initiation site; and the functional role of the pRNA. We demonstrate that NoRC is capable of recognising and binding to the nucleosomal rRNA gene promoter on its own and binds with higher affinity the nucleosomes positioned at non-repressive positions. NoRC recognises the promoter nucleosome within a chromatin array and positions the nucleosomes, as observed in vivo. NoRC uses the release mechanism of positioning, which is characterised by a reduced affinity for the remodeled substrate. The pRNA specifically binds to NoRC and regulates the enzyme by switching off its ATPase activity. Given the known role of pRNA in tethering NoRC to the rDNA, we propose that pRNA is a key factor that links the chromatin modification activity and scaffolding function of NoRC.
Project description:rRNA genes (rDNA) exist in two distinct epigenetic states, active promoters being unmethylated and marked by euchromatic histone modifications, whereas silent ones are methylated and exhibit heterochromatic features. Here we show that the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylation (NuRD) complex establishes a specific chromatin structure at rRNA genes that are poised for transcription activation. The promoter of poised rRNA genes is unmethylated, associated with components of the preinitiation complex, marked by bivalent histone modifications and covered by a nucleosome in the "off" position, which is refractory to transcription initiation. Repression of rDNA transcription in growth-arrested and differentiated cells correlates with elevated association of NuRD and increased levels of poised rRNA genes. Reactivation of transcription requires resetting the promoter-bound nucleosome into the "on" position by the DNA-dependent ATPase CSB (Cockayne syndrome protein B). The results uncover a unique mechanism by which ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes with opposing activities establish a specific chromatin state and regulate transcription.
Project description:Nucleosome positioning is important for neurodevelopment, and genes mediating chromatin remodelling are strongly associated with human neurodevelopmental disorders. To investigate changes in nucleosome positioning during neural differentiation, we generate genome-wide nucleosome maps from an undifferentiated human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) line and after its differentiation to the neural progenitor cell (NPC) stage. We find that nearly 3% of nucleosomes are highly positioned in NPC, but significantly, there are eightfold fewer positioned nucleosomes in pluripotent cells, indicating increased positioning during cell differentiation. Positioned nucleosomes do not strongly correlate with active chromatin marks or gene transcription. Unexpectedly, we find a small population of nucleosomes that occupy similar positions in pluripotent and neural progenitor cells and are found at binding sites of the key gene regulators NRSF/REST and CTCF Remarkably, the presence of these nucleosomes appears to be independent of the associated regulatory complexes. Together, these results present a scenario in human cells, where positioned nucleosomes are sparse and dynamic, but may act to alter gene expression at a distance via the structural conformation at sites of chromatin regulation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The nucleosome is the fundamental unit of eukaryotic genomes. Its positioning plays a central role in diverse cellular processes that rely on access to genomic DNA. Experimental evidence suggests that the genomic DNA sequence is one important determinant of nucleosome positioning. Yet it is less clear whether the role of the underlying DNA sequence in nucleosome positioning varies across different promoters. Whether different determinants of nucleosome positioning have characteristic influences on nucleosome modulation also remains to be elucidated. RESULTS: We identified two typical promoter classes in yeast associated with high or low dependence of nucleosome positioning on the underlying DNA sequence, respectively. Importantly, the two classes have low or high intrinsic sequence preferences for nucleosomes, respectively. The two classes are further distinguished by multiple promoter features, including nucleosome occupancy, nucleosome fuzziness, H2A.Z occupancy, changes in nucleosome positions before and after transcriptional perturbation, and gene activity. Both classes have significantly high turnover rates of histone H3, but employ distinct modes of nucleosome modulation: The first class is characterized by hyperacetylation, whereas the second class is highly regulated by ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling. CONCLUSION: Our results, coupled with the known features of nucleosome modulation, suggest that the two distinct modes of nucleosome modulation selectively employed by different genes are linked with the intrinsic sequence preferences for nucleosomes. The difference in modes of nucleosome modulation can account for the difference in the contribution of DNA sequence to nucleosome positioning between both promoter classes.
Project description:Nucleosomes impede access to DNA. Therefore, nucleosome positioning is fundamental to genome regulation. Nevertheless, the molecular nucleosome positioning mechanisms are poorly understood. This is partly because in vitro reconstitution of in vivo-like nucleosome positions from purified components is mostly lacking, barring biochemical studies. Using a yeast extract in vitro reconstitution system that generates in vivo-like nucleosome patterns at S. cerevisiae loci, we find that the RSC chromatin remodelling enzyme is necessary for nucleosome positioning. This was previously suggested by genome-wide in vivo studies and is confirmed here in vivo for individual loci. Beyond the limitations of conditional mutants, we show biochemically that RSC functions directly, can be sufficient, but mostly relies on other factors to properly position nucleosomes. Strikingly, RSC could not be replaced by either the closely related SWI/SNF or the Isw2 remodelling enzyme. Thus, we pinpoint that nucleosome positioning specifically depends on the unique properties of the RSC complex.
Project description:Gene silencing in cancer frequently involves hypermethylation and dense nucleosome occupancy across promoter regions. How a promoter transitions to this silent state is unclear. Using colorectal adenomas, we investigated nucleosome positioning, DNA methylation, and gene expression in the early stages of gene silencing. Genome-wide gene expression correlated with highly positioned nucleosomes upstream and downstream of a nucleosome-depleted transcription start site (TSS). Hypermethylated promoters displayed increased nucleosome occupancy, specifically at the TSS. We investigated 2 genes, CDH1 and CDKN2B, which were silenced in adenomas but lacked promoter hypermethylation. Instead, silencing correlated with loss of nucleosomes from the -2 position upstream of the TSS relative to normal mucosa. In contrast, permanent CDH1 silencing in carcinoma cells was characterized by promoter hypermethylation and dense nucleosome occupancy. Our findings suggest that silenced genes transition through an intermediary stage involving altered promoter nucleosome positioning, before permanent silencing by hypermethylation and dense nucleosome occupancy.
Project description:Transcription factors canonically bind nucleosome-free DNA, making the positioning of nucleosomes within regulatory regions crucial to the regulation of gene expression. Using the assay of transposase accessible chromatin (ATAC-seq), we observe a highly structured pattern of DNA fragment lengths and positions around nucleosomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and use this distinctive two-dimensional nucleosomal "fingerprint" as the basis for a new nucleosome-positioning algorithm called NucleoATAC. We show that NucleoATAC can identify the rotational and translational positions of nucleosomes with up to base-pair resolution and provide quantitative measures of nucleosome occupancy in S. cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and human cells. We demonstrate the application of NucleoATAC to a number of outstanding problems in chromatin biology, including analysis of sequence features underlying nucleosome positioning, promoter chromatin architecture across species, identification of transient changes in nucleosome occupancy and positioning during a dynamic cellular response, and integrated analysis of nucleosome occupancy and transcription factor binding.
Project description:The evolutionarily conserved ATP-dependent nucleosome remodelling factor ISWI can space nucleosomes affecting a variety of nuclear processes. In Drosophila, loss of ISWI leads to global transcriptional defects and to dramatic alterations in higher-order chromatin structure, especially on the male X chromosome. In order to understand if chromatin condensation and gene expression defects, observed in ISWI mutants, are directly correlated with ISWI nucleosome spacing activity, we conducted a genome-wide survey of ISWI binding and nucleosome positioning in wild-type and ISWI mutant chromatin. Our analysis revealed that ISWI binds both genic and intergenic regions. Remarkably, we found that ISWI binds genes near their promoters causing specific alterations in nucleosome positioning at the level of the Transcription Start Site, providing an important insights in understanding ISWI role in higher eukaryote transcriptional regulation. Interestingly, differences in nucleosome spacing, between wild-type and ISWI mutant chromatin, tend to accumulate on the X chromosome for all ISWI-bound genes analysed. Our study shows how in higher eukaryotes the activity of the evolutionarily conserved nucleosome remodelling factor ISWI regulates gene expression and chromosome organization genome-wide.
Project description:Previous studies have identified sin mutations that alleviate the requirement for the yeast SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex, which include point changes in the yeast genes encoding core histones. Here we characterise the biochemical properties of nucleosomes bearing these mutations. We find that sin mutant nucleosomes have a high inherent thermal mobility. As the SWI/SNF complex can alter nucleosome positioning, the higher mobility of sin mutant nucleosomes provides a means by which sin mutations may substitute for SWI/SNF function. The location of sin mutations also provides a new opportunity for insights into the mechanism for nucleosome mobilisation. We find that both mutations altering histone DNA contacts at the nucleosome dyad and mutations in the dimer-tetramer interface influence nucleosome mobility. Furthermore, incorporation of H2A.Z into nucleosomes, which also alters dimer-tetramer interactions, affects nucleosome mobility. Thus, variation of histone sequence or subtype provides a means by which eukaryotes may regulate access to chromatin through alterations to nucleosome mobility.