Role of Swi6/HP1 self-association-mediated recruitment of Clr4/Suv39 in establishment and maintenance of heterochromatin in fission yeast.
ABSTRACT: Swi6/HP1, an evolutionarily conserved protein, is critical for heterochromatin assembly in fission yeast and higher eukaryotes. In fission yeast, histone deacetylation by histone deacetylases is thought to be followed by H3-Lys-9 methylation by the histone methyltransferase Clr4/Suv39H1. H3-Lys-9-Me2 interacts with the chromodomain of Swi6/HP1. Swi6/HP1 is thought to act downstream of Clr4/Suv39, and further self-association of Swi6/HP1 is assumed to stabilize the heterochromatin structure. Here, we show that the self-association-defective mutant of Swi6 does not interact with Clr4. It not only fails to localize to heterochromatin loci but also interferes with heterochromatic localization of H3-Lys-9-Me2 (and thereby Clr4) and the endogenous Swi6 in a dominant negative manner. Thus, self-association of Swi6/HP1 helps in binding to and recruitment of Clr4 and thereby in establishment and maintenance of heterochromatin by a concerted rather than a sequential mechanism.
Project description:Heterochromatin assembly in fission yeast is initiated by binding of Swi6/HP1 to the Lys-9-dimethylated H3 followed by spreading via cooperative recruitment of Swi6/HP1. Recruitment of Cohesin by Swi6/HP1 further stabilizes the heterochromatin structure and integrity. Subsequently, polyubiquitylation of Cut2 by anaphase-promoting complex-cyclosome (APC/C)-ubiquitin-protein isopeptide ligase (E3 ligase) followed by degradation of Cut2 releases Cut1, which cleaves the Rad21 subunit of Cohesin, facilitating sister chromatid separation during mitosis. Here, we demonstrate a surprising role of APC/C in assembly of heterochromatin and silencing at mating type, centromere, and ribosomal DNA loci. Coincidentally with the loss of silencing, recruitment of Swi6, H3-Lys-9-Me2, and Clr4 at dg-dh repeats at cen1 and the K region of mat locus is abrogated in mutants cut4, cut9, and nuc2. Surprisingly, both Cut4 and Cut9 are also highly enriched at these regions in wild type and depleted in swi6Delta mutant. Cut4 and Cut9 interact directly with Swi6/HP1 and Clr4, whereas the mutant Cut4 does not, suggesting that a direct physical interaction of APC subunits Cut4 and Cut9 with Swi6 and Clr4 is instrumental in heterochromatin assembly. The silencing defect in APC mutants is causally related to ubiquitylation activity of APC-E3 ligase. Like swi6 mutant, APC mutants are also defective in Cohesin recruitment and exhibit defects like lagging chromosomes, chromosome loss, and aberrant recombination in the mat region. In addition, APC mutants exhibit a bidirectional expression of dh repeats, suggesting a role in the RNA interference pathway. Thus, APC and heterochromatin proteins Swi6 and Clr4 play a mutually cooperative role in heterochromatin assembly, thereby ensuring chromosomal integrity, inheritance, and segregation during mitosis and meiosis.
Project description:In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, heterochromatin spread, which is marked by histone 3 lysine 9 methylation (H3K9me), requires the chromodomains (CDs) of the H3K9 methylase Suv39/Clr4 and the HP1/Swi6 protein. It is unclear how the actions of these two H3K9me-recognizing CDs are coordinated. We find that the intrinsic preference of Suv39/Clr4 is to generate dimethylated H3K9 product. The recognition of pre-existing H3K9me marks by the CD of Suv39/Clr4 stimulates overall catalysis, enabling the accumulation of small amounts of trimethylated product in vivo. Coincidentally, the Suv39/Clr4 CD, unlike the HP1/Swi6 CD, has been shown to prefer the trimethyl state over the dimethyl state. We show that this preference enables efficient heterochromatin spread in vivo by reducing competition with HP1 proteins for the more prevalent dimethyl state. Our results reveal a strategy by which "writers" and "readers" of a chromatin mark exploit different methylation states on the same residue in order to facilitate collaboration and avoid competition.
Project description:Heterochromatin is a conserved feature of eukaryotic genomes and regulates various cellular processes, including gene silencing, chromosome segregation, and maintenance of genome stability. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, heterochromatin formation involves methylation of lysine 9 in histone H3 (H3K9), which recruits Swi6/HP1 proteins to heterochromatic loci. The Swi6/HP1-H3K9me3 chromatin complex lies at the center of heterochromatic macromolecular assemblies and mediates many functions of heterochromatin by recruiting a diverse set of regulators. However, additional factors may be required for proper heterochromatin organization, but they are not fully known. Here, using several molecular and biochemical approaches, we report that Vgl1, a member of a large family of multiple KH-domain proteins, collectively known as vigilins, is indispensable for the heterochromatin-mediated gene silencing in S. pombe ChIP analysis revealed that Vgl1 binds to pericentromeric heterochromatin in an RNA-dependent manner and that Vgl1 deletion leads to loss of H3K9 methylation and Swi6 recruitment to centromeric and telomeric heterochromatic loci. Furthermore, we show that Vgl1 interacts with the H3K9 methyltransferase, Clr4, and that loss of Vgl1 impairs Clr4 recruitment to heterochromatic regions of the genome. These findings uncover a novel role for Vgl1 as a key regulator in heterochromatin-mediated gene silencing in S. pombe.
Project description:Heterochromatin, characterized by histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation, assembles on repetitive regions including centromeres. Although centromeric heterochromatin is important for correct segregation of chromosomes, its exact role in maintaining centromere integrity remains elusive. Here, we found in fission yeast that heterochromatin suppresses gross chromosomal rearrangements (GCRs) at centromeres. Mutations in Clr4/Suv39 methyltransferase increased the formation of isochromosomes, whose breakpoints were located in centromere repeats. H3K9A and H3K9R mutations also increased GCRs, suggesting that Clr4 suppresses centromeric GCRs via H3K9 methylation. HP1 homologs Swi6 and Chp2 and the RNAi component Chp1 were the chromodomain proteins essential for full suppression of GCRs. Remarkably, mutations in RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) or Tfs1/TFIIS, the transcription factor that facilitates restart of RNAPII after backtracking, specifically bypassed the requirement of Clr4 for suppressing GCRs. These results demonstrate that heterochromatin suppresses GCRs by repressing Tfs1-dependent transcription of centromere repeats.
Project description:Telomeres share the ability to silence nearby transcription with heterochromatin, but the requirement of heterochromatin proteins for most telomere functions is unknown. The fission yeast Rik1 protein is required for heterochromatin formation at centromeres and the mating-type locus, as it recruits the Clr4 histone methyltransferase, whose modification of histone H3 triggers binding by Swi6, a conserved protein involved in spreading of heterochromatin. Here, we demonstrate that Rik1 and Clr4, but not Swi6, are required along with the telomere protein Taz1 for crucial chromosome movements during meiosis. However, Rik1 is dispensable for the protective roles of telomeres in preventing chromosome end-fusion. Thus, a Swi6-independent heterochromatin function distinct from that at centromeres and the mating-type locus operates at telomeres during sexual differentiation.
Project description:The SUV39 class of methyltransferase enzymes deposits histone H3 lysine 9 di- and trimethylation (H3K9me2/3), the hallmark of constitutive heterochromatin. How these enzymes are regulated to mark specific genomic regions as heterochromatic is poorly understood. Clr4 is the sole H3K9me2/3 methyltransferase in the fission yeast <i>Schizosaccharomyces pombe,</i> and recent evidence suggests that ubiquitination of lysine 14 on histone H3 (H3K14ub) plays a key role in H3K9 methylation. However, the molecular mechanism of this regulation and its role in heterochromatin formation remain to be determined. Our structure-function approach shows that the H3K14ub substrate binds specifically and tightly to the catalytic domain of Clr4, and thereby stimulates the enzyme by over 250-fold. Mutations that disrupt this mechanism lead to a loss of H3K9me2/3 and abolish heterochromatin silencing similar to <i>clr4</i> deletion. Comparison with mammalian SET domain proteins suggests that the Clr4 SET domain harbors a conserved sensor for H3K14ub, which mediates licensing of heterochromatin formation.
Project description:Heterochromatin is defined by distinct posttranslational modifications on histones, such as methylation of histone H3 at lysine 9 (H3K9), which allows heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1)-related chromodomain proteins to bind. Heterochromatin is frequently found near CENP-A chromatin, which is the key determinant of kinetochore assembly. We have discovered that the RNA interference (RNAi)-directed heterochromatin flanking the central kinetochore domain at fission yeast centromeres is required to promote CENP-A(Cnp1) and kinetochore assembly over the central domain. The H3K9 methyltransferase Clr4 (Suv39); the ribonuclease Dicer, which cleaves heterochromatic double-stranded RNA to small interfering RNA (siRNA); Chp1, a component of the RNAi effector complex (RNA-induced initiation of transcriptional gene silencing; RITS); and Swi6 (HP1) are required to establish CENP-A(Cnp1) chromatin on naïve templates. Once assembled, CENP-A(Cnp1) chromatin is propagated by epigenetic means in the absence of heterochromatin. Thus, another, potentially conserved, role for centromeric RNAi-directed heterochromatin has been identified.
Project description:Conserved chromosomal HP1 proteins capable of binding to histone H3 methylated at lysine 9 are believed to provide a dynamic platform for the recruitment and/or spreading of various regulatory proteins involved in diverse chromosomal processes. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe HP1 family members Chp2 and Swi6 are important for heterochromatin assembly and transcriptional silencing, but their precise roles are not fully understood. Here, we show that Swi6 and Chp2 associate with histone deacetylase (HDAC) protein complexes containing class I HDAC Clr6 and class II HDAC Clr3 (a component of Snf2/HDAC repressor complex), which are critical for transcriptional silencing of centromeric repeats targeted by the heterochromatin machinery. Mapping of RNA polymerase (Pol) II distribution in single and double mutant backgrounds revealed that Swi6 and Chp2 proteins and their associated HDAC complexes have overlapping functions in limiting Pol II occupancy across pericentromeric heterochromatin domains. The purified Swi6 fraction also contains factors involved in various chromosomal processes such as chromatin remodeling and DNA replication. Also, Swi6 copurifies with Mis4 protein, a cohesin loading factor essential for sister chromatid cohesion, and with centromere-specific histone H3 variant CENP-A, which is incorporated into chromatin in a heterochromatin-dependent manner. These analyses suggest that among other functions, HP1 proteins associate with chromatin-modifying factors that in turn cooperate to assemble repressive chromatin; thus, precluding accessibility of underlying DNA sequences to transcriptional machinery.
Project description:HP1 proteins are a highly conserved family of eukaryotic proteins that bind to methylated histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) and are required for heterochromatic gene silencing. In fission yeast, two HP1 homologs, Swi6 and Chp2, function in heterochromatic gene silencing, but their relative contribution to silencing remains unknown. Here we show that Swi6 and Chp2 exist in nonoverlapping complexes and make distinct contributions to silencing. Chp2 associates with the SHREC histone deacetylase complex (SHREC2), is required for histone H3 lysine 14 (H3K14) deacetylation, and mediates transcriptional repression by limiting RNA polymerase II access to heterochromatin. In contrast, Swi6 associates with a different set of nuclear proteins and with noncoding centromeric transcripts and is required for efficient RNAi-dependent processing of these transcripts. Our findings reveal an unexpected role for Swi6 in RNAi-mediated gene silencing and suggest that different HP1 proteins ensure full heterochromatic gene silencing through largely nonoverlapping inhibitory mechanisms.
Project description:In fission yeast, the RNAi pathway is required for centromeric heterochromatin assembly. siRNAs derived from centromeric transcripts are incorporated into the RNA-induced transcriptional silencing (RITS) complex and direct it to nascent homologous transcripts. The RNA-induced transcriptional silencing-bound nascent transcripts further recruit the RNA-directed RNA polymerase complex (RDRC) to promote dsRNA synthesis and siRNA production. Heterochromatin coated with Swi6/Heterochromain Protein 1 is then formed following recruitment of chromatin modification machinery. Swi6 is also required for the upstream production of siRNA, although the mechanism for this has remained obscure. Here, we demonstrate that Swi6 recruits RDRC to heterochromatin through Ers1, an RNAi factor intermediate. An ers1(+) mutant allele (ers1-C62) was identified in a genetic screen for mutants that alleviate centromeric silencing, and this phenotype was suppressed by overexpression of either the Hrr1 RDRC subunit or Clr4 histone H3-K9 methyltransferase. Ers1 physically interacts with Hrr1, and loss of Ers1 impairs RDRC centromeric localization. Although Ers1 failed to bind Clr4, a direct interaction with Swi6 was detected, and centromeric localization of Swi6 was enhanced by Clr4 overexpression in ers1-C62 cells. Consistent with this, deletion of swi6(+) reduced centromeric localization of Ers1 and RDRC. Moreover, tethering of Ers1 or Hrr1 to centromeric heterochromatin partially bypassed Swi6 function. These findings demonstrate an alternative mechanism for RDRC recruitment and explain the essential role of Swi6/Heterochromain Protein 1 in RNAi-directed heterochromatin assembly.