Histone H2A (H2A.X and H2A.Z) variants in molluscs: molecular characterization and potential implications for chromatin dynamics.
ABSTRACT: Histone variants are used by the cell to build specialized nucleosomes, replacing canonical histones and generating functionally specialized chromatin domains. Among many other processes, the specialization imparted by histone H2A (H2A.X and H2A.Z) variants to the nucleosome core particle constitutes the earliest response to DNA damage in the cell. Consequently, chromatin-based genotoxicity tests have been developed in those cases where enough information pertaining chromatin structure and dynamics is available (i.e., human and mouse). However, detailed chromatin knowledge is almost absent in most organisms, specially protostome animals. Molluscs (which represent sentinel organisms for the study of pollution) are not an exception to this lack of knowledge. In the present work we first identified the existence of functionally differentiated histone H2A.X and H2A.Z variants in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (MgH2A.X and MgH2A.Z), a marine organism widely used in biomonitoring programs. Our results support the functional specialization of these variants based on: a) their active expression in different tissues, as revealed by the isolation of native MgH2A.X and MgH2A.Z proteins in gonad and hepatopancreas; b) the evolutionary conservation of different residues encompassing functional relevance; and c) their ability to confer specialization to nucleosomes, as revealed by nucleosome reconstitution experiments using recombinant MgH2A.X and MgH2A.Z histones. Given the seminal role of these variants in maintaining genomic integrity and regulating gene expression, their preliminary characterization opens up new potential applications for the future development of chromatin-based genotoxicity tests in pollution biomonitoring programs.
Project description:Histone variants are chromatin components that replace replication-coupled histones in a fraction of nucleosomes and confer particular characteristics to chromatin. H2A variants represent the most numerous and diverse group among histone protein families. In the nucleosomal structure, H2A-H2B dimers can be removed and exchanged more easily than the stable H3-H4 core. The unstructured N-terminal histone tails of all histones, but also the C-terminal tails of H2A histones protrude out of the compact structure of the nucleosome core. These accessible tails are the preferential target sites for a large number of post-translational modifications (PTMs). While some PTMs are shared between replication-coupled H2A and H2A variants, many modifications are limited to a specific histone variant. The present review focuses on the H2A variants H2A.Z, H2A.X, and macroH2A, and summarizes their functions in chromatin and how these are linked to cancer development and progression. H2A.Z primarily acts as an oncogene and macroH2A and H2A.X as tumour suppressors. We further focus on the regulation by PTMs, which helps to understand a degree of context dependency.
Project description:In eukaryotes, DNA wraps around histones to form nucleosomes, which are compacted into chromatin. DNA-templated processes, including transcription, require chromatin disassembly and reassembly mediated by histone chaperones. Additionally, distinct histone variants can replace core histones to regulate chromatin structure and function. Although replacement of H2A with the evolutionarily conserved H2A.Z via the SWR1 histone chaperone complex has been extensively studied, in plants little is known about how a reduction of H2A.Z levels can be achieved. Here, we show that NRP proteins cause a decrease of H2A.Z-containing nucleosomes in Arabidopsis under standard growing conditions. nrp1-1 nrp2-2 double mutants show an over-accumulation of H2A.Z genome-wide, especially at heterochromatic regions normally H2A.Z-depleted in wild-type plants. Our work suggests that NRP proteins regulate gene expression by counteracting SWR1, thereby preventing excessive accumulation of H2A.Z.
Project description:Histone H2A variants generate diversity in chromatin structure and functions, as nucleosomes containing variant H2A histones have altered physical, chemical, and biological properties. H2A.Z is an evolutionarily ancient and highly conserved H2A variant that regulates processes ranging from gene expression to the DNA damage response. Here we find that the unstructured portion of the C-terminal tail of H2A.Z is required for the normal functions of this histone variant in budding yeast. We have also identified a novel splice isoform of the human H2A.Z-2 gene that encodes a C-terminally truncated H2A.Z protein that is similar to the truncation mutants we identified in yeast. The short forms of H2A.Z in both yeast and human cells are more loosely associated with chromatin than the full-length proteins, indicating a conserved function for the H2A.Z C-terminal tail in regulating the association of H2A.Z with nucleosomes.
Project description:The properties of the nucleosomes of a salt-soluble, transcriptionally active gene-enriched fraction of chicken erythrocyte chromatin were evaluated by hydroxyapatite dissociation chromatography. We have demonstrated previously that the salt-soluble, transcriptionally active gene-enriched polynucleosomes are enriched in dynamically acetylated and ubiquitinated histones, and in an atypical U-shaped nucleosome that possessed about 20% less protein than a typical nucleosome. Further, newly synthesized histones H2A and H2B exchange preferentially with the nucleosomal histones H2A and H2B of this salt-soluble chromatin fraction. Analysis of the histones eluting from the hydroxyapatite-bound chromatin demonstrated that hyperacetylated and ubiquitinated (u), including multi-ubiquitinated, H2A-H2B.1 dimers dissociated at lower concentrations of NaCl than unmodified dimers or dimers with histone variants H2A.Z and/or H2B.2. Cross-linking studies revealed that at least 50% of uH2B.1 was paired with uH2A. uH2A-uH2B.1 dimers dissociated at lower NaCl concentrations than H2A-uH2B.1 dimers. Hyperacetylated histone (H3-H4)2 tetramers also eluted at lower concentrations of NaCl than unmodified tetramers. Our results support the idea that acetylation and ubiquitination of histones H2A and H2B.1 increase the lability of H2A-H2B.1 dimers in transcriptionally active nucleosomes. In contrast, our observations suggest that histone variants H2A.Z and H2B.2. stabilize the association of the H2A-H2B dimer in nucleosomes. The elevated lability of the H2A-H2B dimer may facilitate processes such as the exchange of these dimers with newly synthesized histones, the elongation process of transcription and transcription factor binding.
Project description:Nucleosomes that contain the histone variant H2A.Z are enriched around transcriptional start sites, but the mechanistic basis for this enrichment is unknown. A single octameric nucleosome can contain two H2A.Z histones (homotypic) or one H2A.Z and one canonical H2A (heterotypic). To elucidate the function of H2A.Z, we generated high-resolution maps of homotypic and heterotypic Drosophila H2A.Z (H2Av) nucleosomes. Although homotypic and heterotypic H2A.Z nucleosomes mapped throughout most of the genome, homotypic nucleosomes were enriched and heterotypic nucleosomes were depleted downstream of active promoters and intron-exon junctions. The distribution of homotypic H2A.Z nucleosomes resembled that of classical active chromatin and showed evidence of disruption during transcriptional elongation. Both homotypic H2A.Z nucleosomes and classical active chromatin were depleted downstream of paused polymerases. Our results suggest that H2A.Z enrichment patterns result from intrinsic structural differences between heterotypic and homotypic H2A.Z nucleosomes that follow disruption during transcriptional elongation.
Project description:Replacement of canonical histones with specialized histone variants promotes altering of chromatin structure and function. The essential histone variant H2A.Z affects various DNA-based processes via poorly understood mechanisms. Here, we determine the comprehensive interactome of H2A.Z and identify PWWP2A as a novel H2A.Z-nucleosome binder. PWWP2A is a functionally uncharacterized, vertebrate-specific protein that binds very tightly to chromatin through a concerted multivalent binding mode. Two internal protein regions mediate H2A.Z-specificity and nucleosome interaction, whereas the PWWP domain exhibits direct DNA binding. Genome-wide mapping reveals that PWWP2A binds selectively to H2A.Z-containing nucleosomes with strong preference for promoters of highly transcribed genes. In human cells, its depletion affects gene expression and impairs proliferation via a mitotic delay. While PWWP2A does not influence H2A.Z occupancy, the C-terminal tail of H2A.Z is one important mediator to recruit PWWP2A to chromatin. Knockdown of PWWP2A in Xenopus results in severe cranial facial defects, arising from neural crest cell differentiation and migration problems. Thus, PWWP2A is a novel H2A.Z-specific multivalent chromatin binder providing a surprising link between H2A.Z, chromosome segregation, and organ development.
Project description:Nucleosome is the basic structural unit of chromatin, and its dynamics plays critical roles in the regulation of genome functions. However, how the nucleosome structure is regulated by histone variants in vivo is still largely uncharacterized. Here, by employing Micrococcal nuclease (MNase) digestion of crosslinked chromatin followed by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and paired-end sequencing (MNase-X-ChIP-seq), we mapped unwrapping states of nucleosomes containing histone variant H2A.Z in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. We found that H2A.Z nucleosomes are more enriched with unwrapping states compared with canonical nucleosomes. Interestingly, +1 H2A.Z nucleosomes with 30-80 bp DNA is correlated with less active genes compared with +1 H2A.Z nucleosomes with 120-140 bp DNA. We confirmed the unwrapping of H2A.Z nucleosomes under native condition by re-ChIP of H2A.Z and H2A after CTCF CUT&RUN in mouse ES cells. Importantly, we found that depletion of H2A.Z results in decreased unwrapping of H3.3 nucleosomes and increased CTCF binding. Taken together, through MNase-X-ChIP-seq, we showed that histone variant H2A.Z regulates nucleosome unwrapping in vivo and that its function in regulating transcription or CTCF binding is correlated with unwrapping states of H2A.Z nucleosomes.
Project description:In eukaryotes, variants of core histone H2A are selectively incorporated in distinct functional domains of chromatin and are distinguished by conserved sequences of their C-terminal tail, the L1 loop and the docking domain, suggesting that each variant confers specific properties to the nucleosome. Chromatin of flowering plants contains four types of H2A variants, which biochemical properties have not been characterized. We report that in contrast with animals, in Arabidopsis thaliana H2A variants define only four major types of homotypic nucleosomes containing exclusively H2A, H2A.Z, H2A.X or H2A.W. In vitro assays show that the L1 loop and the docking domain confer distinct stability of the nucleosome. In vivo and in vitro assays suggest that the L1 loop and the docking domain cooperate with the C-terminal tail to regulate chromatin accessibility. Based on these findings we conclude that the type of H2A variant in the nucleosome impacts on its interaction with DNA and propose that H2A variants regulate the dynamics of chromatin accessibility. In plants, the predominance of homotypic nucleosomes with specific physical properties and their specific localization to distinct domains suggest that H2A variants play a dominant role in chromatin dynamics and function.
Project description:Chromatin remodeling during DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair is required to facilitate access to and repair of DSBs. This remodeling requires increased acetylation of histones and a shift in nucleosome organization to create open, relaxed chromatin domains. However, the underlying mechanism driving changes in nucleosome structure at DSBs is poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that histone H2A.Z is exchanged onto nucleosomes at DSBs by the p400 remodeling ATPase. H2A.Z exchange at DSBs shifts the chromatin to an open conformation and is required for acetylation and ubiquitination of histones and for loading of the brca1 complex. H2A.Z exchange also restricts single-stranded DNA production by nucleases and is required for loading of the Ku70/Ku80 DSB repair protein. H2A.Z exchange therefore promotes specific patterns of histone modification and reorganization of the chromatin architecture, leading to the assembly of a chromatin template that is an efficient substrate for the DSB repair machinery.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Complexes of nucleosomes, which often occur in the gene promoter areas, are one of the fundamental levels of chromatin organization and thus are important for transcription regulation. Investigating the dynamic structure of a single nucleosome as well as nucleosome complexes is important for understanding transcription within chromatin. In a previous work, we highlighted the influence of histone variants on the functional dynamics of a single nucleosome using normal mode analysis developed by Bahar et al. The present work further analyzes the dynamics of nucleosome complexes (nucleosome oligomers or oligonucleosomes) such as dimer, trimer and tetramer (beads on a string model) with conventional core histones as well as with the H2A.Z histone variant using normal mode analysis. RESULTS: The global dynamics of oligonucleosomes reveal larger amplitude of motion within the nucleosomes that contain the H2A.Z variant with in-planar and out-of-planar fluctuations as the common mode of relaxation. The docking region of H2A.Z and the L1:L1 interactions between H2A.Z monomers of nucleosome (that are responsible for the highly stable nucleosome containing variant H2A.Z-histone) are highly dynamic throughout the first two dynamic modes. CONCLUSION: Dissection of the dynamics of oligonucleosomes discloses in-plane as well as out-of-plane fluctuations as the common mode of relaxation throughout the global motions. The dynamics of individual nucleosomes and the combination of the relaxation mechanisms expressed by the individual nucleosome are quite interesting and highly dependent on the number of nucleosome fragments present in the complexes. Distortions generated by the non-planar dynamics influence the DNA conformation, and hence the histone-DNA interactions significantly alter the dynamics of the DNA. The variant H2A.Z histone is a major source of weaker intra- and inter-molecular correlations resulting in more disordered motions.