The distribution of repressive histone modifications on silenced FMR1 alleles provides clues to the mechanism of gene silencing in fragile X syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common heritable cause of intellectual disability and the most common known cause of autism. Most cases of FXS result from the expansion of a CGG·CCG repeat in the 5' UTR of the FMR1 gene that leads to gene silencing. It has previously been shown that silenced alleles are associated with histone H3 dimethylated at lysine 9 (H3K9Me2) and H3 trimethylated at lysine 27 (H3K27Me3), modified histones typical of developmentally repressed genes. We show here that these alleles are also associated with elevated levels of histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 9 (H3K9Me3) and histone H4 trimethylated at lysine 20 (H4K20Me3). All four of these modified histones are present on exon 1 of silenced alleles at levels comparable to that seen on pericentric heterochromatin. The two groups of histone modifications show a different distribution on fragile X alleles: H3K9Me2 and H3K27Me3 have a broad distribution, whereas H3K9Me3 and H4K20Me3 have a more focal distribution with the highest level of these marks being present in the vicinity of the repeat. This suggests that the trigger for gene silencing may be local to the repeat itself and perhaps involves a mechanism similar to that involved in the formation of pericentric heterochromatin.
Project description:Lrwd1, a protein containing a leucine-rich repeat and a WD40 repeat domain, interacts with the origin replication complex (ORC), a protein complex involved in both initiation of DNA replication and heterochromatin silencing. Lrwd1 and ORC are known to co-purify with repressive histone marks (trimethylated lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3K9me3) and trimethylated lysine 20 of histone H4 (H4K20me3)) and localize to pericentric heterochromatin. However, how the Lrwd1 is recruited to heterochromatin and the functional significance of the localization of Lrwd1 to the heterochromatin are not known. Here, we show that Lrwd1 preferentially binds to trimethylated repressive histone marks in vitro, which is dependent on an intact WD40 domain but independent of ORC proteins. The localization of Lrwd1 and Orc2 at pericentric heterochromatin in mouse cells is lost in cells lacking H3K9me3 but not in cells lacking H4K20me3. In addition, depletion of HP1? has little impact on the localization of Lrwd1 on pericentric heterochromatin. Finally, depletion of Lrwd1 and Orc2 in mouse cells leads to increased transcription of major satellite repeats. These results indicate that the Lrwd1 is recruited to pericentric heterochromatin through binding to H3K9me3 and that the association of Lrwd1 with pericentric heterochromatin is required for heterochromatin silencing and maintenance.
Project description:Mammalian telomeres have heterochromatic features, including trimethylated histone H3 at lysine 9 (H3K9me3) and trimethylated histone H4 at lysine 20 (H4K20me3). In addition, subtelomeric DNA is hypermethylated. The enzymatic activities responsible for these modifications at telomeres are beginning to be characterized. In particular, H4K20me3 at telomeres could be catalyzed by the novel Suv4-20h1 and Suv4-20h2 histone methyltransferases (HMTases). In this study, we demonstrate that the Suv4-20h enzymes are responsible for this histone modification at telomeres. Cells deficient for Suv4-20h2 or for both Suv4-20h1 and Suv4-20h2 show decreased levels of H4K20me3 at telomeres and subtelomeres in the absence of changes in H3K9me3. These epigenetic alterations are accompanied by telomere elongation, indicating a role for Suv4-20h HMTases in telomere length control. Finally, cells lacking either the Suv4-20h or Suv39h HMTases show increased frequencies of telomere recombination in the absence of changes in subtelomeric DNA methylation. These results demonstrate the importance of chromatin architecture in the maintenance of telomere length homeostasis and reveal a novel role for histone lysine methylation in controlling telomere recombination.
Project description:Imprinted genes are important in development and their allelic expression is mediated by imprinting control regions (ICRs). On their DNA-methylated allele, ICRs are marked by trimethylation at H3 Lys 9 (H3K9me3) and H4 Lys 20 (H4K20me3), similar to pericentric heterochromatin. Here, we investigate which histone methyltransferases control this methylation of histone at ICRs. We found that inactivation of SUV4-20H leads to the loss of H4K20me3 and increased levels of its substrate, H4K20me1. H4K20me1 is controlled by PR-SET7 and is detected on both parental alleles. The disruption of SUV4-20H or PR-SET7 does not affect methylation of DNA at ICRs but influences precipitation of H3K9me3, which is suggestive of a trans-histone change. Unlike at pericentric heterochromatin, however, H3K9me3 at ICRs does not depend on SUV39H. Our data show not only new similarities but also differences between ICRs and heterochromatin, both of which show constitutive maintenance of methylation of DNA in somatic cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Histone demethylase, JMJD2A, specifically recognizes and binds to methylated lysine residues at histone H3 and H4 tails (especially trimethylated H3K4 (H3K4me3), trimethylated H3K9 (H3K9me3) and di,trimethylated H4K20 (H4K20me2, H4K20me3)) via its tandem tudor domains. Crystal structures of JMJD2A-tudor binding to H3K4me3 and H4K20me3 peptides are available whereas the others are not. Complete picture of the recognition of the four histone peptides by the tandem tudor domains yet remains to be clarified. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We report a detailed molecular dynamics simulation and binding energy analysis of the recognition of JMJD2A-tudor with four different histone tails. 25 ns fully unrestrained molecular dynamics simulations are carried out for each of the bound and free structures. We investigate the important hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions between the tudor domains and the peptide molecules and identify the critical residues that stabilize the complexes. Our binding free energy calculations show that H4K20me2 and H3K9me3 peptides have the highest and lowest affinity to JMJD2A-tudor, respectively. We also show that H4K20me2 peptide adopts the same binding mode with H4K20me3 peptide, and H3K9me3 peptide adopts the same binding mode with H3K4me3 peptide. Decomposition of the enthalpic and the entropic contributions to the binding free energies indicate that the recognition of the histone peptides is mainly driven by favourable van der Waals interactions. Residue decomposition of the binding free energies with backbone and side chain contributions as well as their energetic constituents identify the hotspots in the binding interface of the structures. CONCLUSION: Energetic investigations of the four complexes suggest that many of the residues involved in the interactions are common. However, we found two receptor residues that were related to selective binding of the H3 and H4 ligands. Modifications or mutations on one of these residues can selectively alter the recognition of the H3 tails or the H4 tails.
Project description:DNA methylation and trimethylated histone H4 Lysine 20 (H4K20me3) constitute two important heterochromatin-enriched marks that frequently cooperate in silencing repetitive elements of the mammalian genome. However, it remains elusive how these two chromatin modifications crosstalk. Here, we report that DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) specifically 'recognizes' H4K20me3 via its first bromo-adjacent-homology domain (DNMT1<sub>BAH1</sub>). Engagement of DNMT1<sub>BAH1</sub>-H4K20me3 ensures heterochromatin targeting of DNMT1 and DNA methylation at LINE-1 retrotransposons, and cooperates with the previously reported readout of histone H3 tail modifications (i.e., H3K9me3 and H3 ubiquitylation) by the RFTS domain to allosterically regulate DNMT1's activity. Interplay between RFTS and BAH1 domains of DNMT1 profoundly impacts DNA methylation at both global and focal levels and genomic resistance to radiation-induced damage. Together, our study establishes a direct link between H4K20me3 and DNA methylation, providing a mechanism in which multivalent recognition of repressive histone modifications by DNMT1 ensures appropriate DNA methylation patterning and genomic stability.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are parasitic sequences whose derepression is associated with cancer and genomic instability. Many ERV families are silenced in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) via SETDB1-deposited trimethylated lysine 9 of histone 3 (H3K9me3), but the mechanism of H3K9me3-dependent repression remains unknown. Multiple proteins, including members of the heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) family, bind H3K9me2/3 and are involved in transcriptional silencing in model organisms. In this work, we address the role of such H3K9me2/3 "readers" in the silencing of ERVs in mESCs.<h4>Results</h4>We demonstrate that despite the reported function of HP1 proteins in H3K9me-dependent gene repression and the critical role of H3K9me3 in transcriptional silencing of class I and class II ERVs, the depletion of HP1?, HP1? and HP1?, alone or in combination, is not sufficient for derepression of these elements in mESCs. While loss of HP1? or HP1? leads to modest defects in DNA methylation of ERVs or spreading of H4K20me3 into flanking genomic sequence, respectively, neither protein affects H3K9me3 or H4K20me3 in ERV bodies. Furthermore, using novel ERV reporter constructs targeted to a specific genomic site, we demonstrate that, relative to Setdb1, knockdown of the remaining known H3K9me3 readers expressed in mESCs, including Cdyl, Cdyl2, Cbx2, Cbx7, Mpp8, Uhrf1 and Jarid1a-c, leads to only modest proviral reactivation.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Taken together, these results reveal that each of the known H3K9me3-binding proteins is dispensable for SETDB1-mediated ERV silencing. We speculate that H3K9me3 might maintain ERVs in a silent state in mESCs by directly inhibiting deposition of active covalent histone marks.
Project description:Specialized chromatin domains contribute to nuclear organization and regulation of gene expression. Gene-poor regions are di- and trimethylated at lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3K9me2 and H3K9me3) by the histone methyltransferase Suv39h1. This enzyme harnesses a positive feedback loop to spread H3K9me2 and H3K9me3 over extended heterochromatic regions. However, little is known about how feedback loops operate on complex biopolymers such as chromatin, in part because of the difficulty in obtaining suitable substrates. Here we describe the synthesis of multidomain 'designer chromatin' templates and their application to dissecting the regulation of human Suv39h1. We uncovered a two-step activation switch where H3K9me3 recognition and subsequent anchoring of the enzyme to chromatin allosterically promotes methylation activity and confirmed that this mechanism contributes to chromatin recognition in cells. We propose that this mechanism serves as a paradigm in chromatin biochemistry, as it enables highly dynamic sampling of chromatin state combined with targeted modification of desired genomic regions.
Project description:Histone lysine trimethyl states represent some of the most robust epigenetic modifications in eukaryotic chromatin. Using a candidate approach, we identified the subgroup of murine Jmjd2 proteins to antagonize H3K9me3 at pericentric heterochromatin. H3K27me3 and H4K20me3 marks are not impaired in inducible Jmjd2b-GFP cell lines, but Jmjd2b also reduces H3K36 methylation. Since recombinant Jmjd2b appears as a very poor enzyme, we applied metabolic labeling with heavy methyl groups to demonstrate Jmjd2b-mediated removal of chromosomal H3K9me3 as an active process that occurs well before replication of chromatin. These data reveal that certain members of the jmjC class of hydroxylases can work in a pathway that actively antagonizes a histone lysine trimethyl state.
Project description:Trimethylation of lysine 9 in histone H3 (H3K9me3) enrichment is a characteristic of pericentric heterochromatin. The hypothesis of a stepwise mechanism to establish and maintain this mark during DNA replication suggests that newly synthesized histone H3 goes through an intermediate methylation state to become a substrate for the histone methyltransferase Suppressor of variegation 39 (Suv39H1/H2). How this intermediate methylation state is achieved and how it is targeted to the correct place at the right time is not yet known. Here, we show that the histone H3K9 methyltransferase SetDB1 associates with the specific heterochromatin protein 1alpha (HP1alpha)-chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF1) chaperone complex. This complex monomethylates K9 on non-nucleosomal histone H3. Therefore, the heterochromatic HP1alpha-CAF1-SetDB1 complex probably provides H3K9me1 for subsequent trimethylation by Suv39H1/H2 in pericentric regions. The connection of CAF1 with DNA replication, HP1alpha with heterochromatin formation and SetDB1 for H3K9me1 suggests a highly coordinated mechanism to ensure the propagation of H3K9me3 in pericentric heterochromatin during DNA replication.