Ubiquitous heterogeneity and asymmetry of the chromatin environment at regulatory elements.
ABSTRACT: Gene regulation at functional elements (e.g., enhancers, promoters, insulators) is governed by an interplay of nucleosome remodeling, histone modifications, and transcription factor binding. To enhance our understanding of gene regulation, the ENCODE Consortium has generated a wealth of ChIP-seq data on DNA-binding proteins and histone modifications. We additionally generated nucleosome positioning data on two cell lines, K562 and GM12878, by MNase digestion and high-depth sequencing. Here we relate 14 chromatin signals (12 histone marks, DNase, and nucleosome positioning) to the binding sites of 119 DNA-binding proteins across a large number of cell lines. We developed a new method for unsupervised pattern discovery, the Clustered AGgregation Tool (CAGT), which accounts for the inherent heterogeneity in signal magnitude, shape, and implicit strand orientation of chromatin marks. We applied CAGT on a total of 5084 data set pairs to obtain an exhaustive catalog of high-resolution patterns of histone modifications and nucleosome positioning signals around bound transcription factors. Our analyses reveal extensive heterogeneity in how histone modifications are deposited, and how nucleosomes are positioned around binding sites. With the exception of the CTCF/cohesin complex, asymmetry of nucleosome positioning is predominant. Asymmetry of histone modifications is also widespread, for all types of chromatin marks examined, including promoter, enhancer, elongation, and repressive marks. The fine-resolution signal shapes discovered by CAGT unveiled novel correlation patterns between chromatin marks, nucleosome positioning, and sequence content. Meta-analyses of the signal profiles revealed a common vocabulary of chromatin signals shared across multiple cell lines and binding proteins.
Project description:Disease-oriented functional analysis of epigenetic factors and their regulatory mechanisms in aberrant silencing is a prerequisite for better diagnostics and therapy. Yet, the precise mechanisms are still unclear and complex, involving the interplay of several effectors including nucleosome positioning, DNA methylation, histone variants and histone modifications. We investigated the epigenetic silencing complexity in the tumor suppressor gene Cadm1 in mouse lung cancer progenitor cell lines, exhibiting promoter hypermethylation associated with transcriptional repression, but mostly unresponsive to demethylating drug treatments. After predicting nucleosome positions and transcription factor binding sites along the Cadm1 promoter, we carried out single-molecule mapping with DNA methyltransferase M.SssI, which revealed in silent promoters high nucleosome occupancy and occlusion of transcription factor binding sites. Furthermore, M.SssI maps of promoters varied within and among the different lung cancer cell lines. Chromatin analysis with micrococcal nuclease also indicated variations in nucleosome positioning to have implications in the binding of transcription factors near nucleosome borders. Chromatin immunoprecipitation showed that histone variants (H2A.Z and H3.3), and opposing histone modification marks (H3K4me3 and H3K27me3) all colocalized in the same nucleosome positions that is reminiscent of epigenetic plasticity in embryonic stem cells. Altogether, epigenetic silencing complexity in the promoter region of Cadm1 is not only defined by DNA hypermethylation, but high nucleosome occupancy, altered nucleosome positioning, and 'bivalent' histone modifications, also likely contributed in the transcriptional repression of this gene in the lung cancer cells. Our results will help define therapeutic intervention strategies using epigenetic drugs in lung cancer.
Project description:Histone modifications are important markers of function and chromatin state, yet the DNA sequence elements that direct them to specific genomic locations are poorly understood. Here, we identify hundreds of quantitative trait loci, genome-wide, that affect histone modification or RNA polymerase II (Pol II) occupancy in Yoruba lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). In many cases, the same variant is associated with quantitative changes in multiple histone marks and Pol II, as well as in deoxyribonuclease I sensitivity and nucleosome positioning. Transcription factor binding site polymorphisms are correlated overall with differences in local histone modification, and we identify specific transcription factors whose binding leads to histone modification in LCLs. Furthermore, variants that affect chromatin at distal regulatory sites frequently also direct changes in chromatin and gene expression at associated promoters.
Project description:Chromatin structure is determined by nucleosome positioning, histone modifications, and DNA methylation. How chromatin modifications are coordinately altered under pathological conditions remains elusive. Here we describe a stress-activated mechanism of concerted chromatin modification in the heart. In mice, pathological stress activates cardiomyocytes to express Brg1 (nucleosome-remodeling factor), G9a/Glp (histone methyltransferase), and Dnmt3 (DNA methyltransferase). Once activated, Brg1 recruits G9a and then Dnmt3 to sequentially assemble repressive chromatin-marked by H3K9 and CpG methylation-on a key molecular motor gene (Myh6), thereby silencing Myh6 and impairing cardiac contraction. Disruption of Brg1, G9a or Dnmt3 erases repressive chromatin marks and de-represses Myh6, reducing stress-induced cardiac dysfunction. In human hypertrophic hearts, BRG1-G9a/GLP-DNMT3 complex is also activated; its level correlates with H3K9/CpG methylation, Myh6 repression, and cardiomyopathy. Our studies demonstrate a new mechanism of chromatin assembly in stressed hearts and novel therapeutic targets for restoring Myh6 and ventricular function. The stress-induced Brg1-G9a-Dnmt3 interactions and sequence of repressive chromatin assembly on Myh6 illustrates a molecular mechanism by which the heart epigenetically responds to environmental signals. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cardiomyocyte Biology: Integration of Developmental and Environmental Cues in the Heart edited by Marcus Schaub and Hughes Abriel.
Project description:Histone modifications are important markers of function and chromatin state, yet the DNA elements that direct them to specific locations in the genome are poorly understood. Here we use the genetic variation in Yoruba lymphoblastoid cell lines as a natural experiment to identify genetic differences that affect histone marks and to better understand their relationship with transcriptional regulation. Across the genome, we identified hundreds of quantitative trait loci that impact histone modification or RNA polymerase (PolII) occupancy. In many cases the same variant is associated with quantitative changes in multiple histone marks and PolII, as well as in DNaseI sensitivity and nucleosome positioning, indicating that these molecular phenotypes often share a single underlying genetic cause. Variants that impact chromatin at distal regulatory sites frequently also direct changes in chromatin and gene expression at associated promoters; while most of these distal regulators enhance promoter activity, some act as distal chromatin silencers. Finally, we find that polymorphisms in transcription factor binding sites are often causally responsible for variation in local histone modification. In summary, the class of variants identified here generate coordinated changes in chromatin both locally and sometimes at distant locations, frequently drive changes in gene expression, and likely play an important role in the genetics of complex traits. ChIP-seq of RNA Polymerase II and 4 histone modifications (H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3K27ac, H3K27me3) in 10 unrelated Yoruba HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In vivo positioning and covalent modifications of nucleosomes play an important role in epigenetic regulation, but genome-wide studies of positioned nucleosomes and their modifications in human still remain limited.<h4>Results</h4>This paper describes a novel computational framework to efficiently identify positioned nucleosomes and their histone modification profiles from nucleosome-resolution histone modification ChIP-Seq data. We applied the algorithm to histone methylation ChIP-Seq data in human CD4+ T cells and identified over 438,000 positioned nucleosomes, which appear predominantly at functionally important regions such as genes, promoters, DNase I hypersensitive regions, and transcription factor binding sites. Our analysis shows the identified nucleosomes play a key role in epigenetic gene regulation within those functionally important regions via their positioning and histone modifications.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our method provides an effective framework for studying nucleosome positioning and epigenetic marks in mammalian genomes. The algorithm is open source and available at http://liulab.dfci.harvard.edu/NPS/.
Project description:Despite their canonical two-fold symmetry, nucleosomes in biological contexts are often asymmetric: functionalized with post-translational modifications (PTMs), substituted with histone variants, and even lacking H2A/H2B dimers. Here we show that the Widom 601 nucleosome positioning sequence can produce hexasomes in a specific orientation on DNA, providing a useful tool for interrogating chromatin enzymes and allowing for the generation of nucleosomes with precisely defined asymmetry. Using this methodology, we demonstrate that the Chd1 chromatin remodeler from Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires H2A/H2B on the entry side for sliding, and thus, unlike the back-and-forth sliding observed for nucleosomes, Chd1 shifts hexasomes unidirectionally. Chd1 takes part in chromatin reorganization surrounding transcribing RNA polymerase II (Pol II), and using asymmetric nucleosomes we show that ubiquitin-conjugated H2B on the entry side stimulates nucleosome sliding by Chd1. We speculate that biased nucleosome and hexasome sliding due to asymmetry contributes to the packing of arrays observed in vivo.
Project description:Nucleosomal organization in and around genes may contribute substantially to transcriptional regulation. The contribution of histone modifications to genome-wide nucleosomal organization has not been systematically evaluated. In the present study, we examine the role of H2BK123 ubiquitylation, a key regulator of several histone modifications, on nucleosomal organization at promoter, genic, and transcription termination regions in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using high-resolution MNase chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-seq), we map nucleosome positioning and occupancy in mutants of the H2BK123 ubiquitylation pathway. We found that H2B ubiquitylation-mediated nucleosome formation and/or stability inhibits the assembly of the transcription machinery at normally quiescent promoters, whereas ubiquitylation within highly active gene bodies promotes transcription elongation. This regulation does not proceed through ubiquitylation-regulated histone marks at H3K4, K36, and K79. Our findings suggest that mechanistically similar functions of H2B ubiquitylation (nucleosome assembly) elicit different functional outcomes on genes depending on its positional context in promoters (repressive) versus transcribed regions (activating).
Project description:To examine the role of chromatin in transcriptional regulation of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I gene, we determined nucleosome occupancy and positioning, histone modifications, and H2A.Z occupancy across its regulatory region in murine tissues that have widely different expression levels. Surprisingly, nucleosome occupancy and positioning were indistinguishable between the spleen, kidney, and brain. In all three tissues, the 200 bp upstream of the transcription start site had low nucleosome occupancy. In contrast, nuclease hypersensitivity, histone modifications, and H2A.Z occupancy showed tissue-specific differences. Thus, tissue-specific differences in MHC class I transcription correlate with histone modifications and not nucleosomal organization. Further, activation of class I transcription by gamma interferon or its inhibition by alpha-amanitin did not alter nucleosome occupancy, positioning, nuclease hypersensitivity, histone modifications, or H2A.Z occupancy in any of the tissues examined. Thus, chromatin remodeling was not required to dynamically modulate transcriptional levels. These findings suggest that the MHC class I promoter remains poised and accessible to rapidly respond to infection and environmental cues.
Project description:The fundamental repeating unit of eukaryotic chromatin is the nucleosome. Besides being involved in packaging DNA, nucleosome organization plays an important role in transcriptional regulation and cellular identity. Currently, there is much debate about the major determinants of the nucleosome architecture of a genome and its significance with little being known about its role in stem cells. To address these questions, we performed ultra-deep sequencing of nucleosomal DNA in two human embryonic stem cell lines and integrated our data with numerous epigenomic maps. Our analyses have revealed that the genome is a determinant of nucleosome organization with transcriptionally inactive regions characterized by a "ground state" of nucleosome profiles driven by underlying DNA sequences. DNA sequence preferences are associated with heterogeneous chromatin organization around transcription start sites. Transcription, histone modifications, and DNA methylation alter this "ground state" by having distinct effects on both nucleosome positioning and occupancy. As the transcriptional rate increases, nucleosomes become better positioned. Exons transcribed and included in the final spliced mRNA have distinct nucleosome profiles in comparison to exons not included at exon-exon junctions. Genes marked by the active modification H3K4m3 are characterized by lower nucleosome occupancy before the transcription start site compared to genes marked by the inactive modification H3K27m3, while bivalent domains, genes associated with both marks, lie exactly in the middle. Combinatorial patterns of epigenetic marks (chromatin states) are associated with unique nucleosome profiles. Nucleosome organization varies around transcription factor binding in enhancers versus promoters. DNA methylation is associated with increasing nucleosome occupancy and different types of methylations have distinct location preferences within the nucleosome core particle. Finally, computational analysis of nucleosome organization alone is sufficient to elucidate much of the circuitry of pluripotency. Our results, suggest that nucleosome organization is associated with numerous genomic and epigenomic processes and can be used to elucidate cellular identity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Precise nucleosome positioning is an increasingly recognized feature of promoters and enhancers, reflecting complex contributions of DNA sequence, nucleosome positioning, histone modification and transcription factor binding to enhancer activity and regulation of gene expression. Changes in nucleosome position and occupancy, histone variants and modifications, and chromatin remodeling are also critical elements of dynamic transcriptional regulation, but poorly understood at enhancers. We investigated glucocorticoid receptor-associated (GR) nucleosome dynamics at enhancers in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.<h4>Results</h4>For the first time, we demonstrate functionally distinct modes of nucleosome remodeling upon chromatin binding by GR, which we term central, non-central, phased, and minimal. Central and non-central remodeling reflect nucleosome eviction by GR and cofactors, respectively. Phased remodeling involves nucleosome repositioning and is associated with rapidly activated enhancers and induction of gene expression. Minimal remodeling sites initially have low levels of enhancer-associated histone modification, but the majority of these regions gain H3K4me2 or H3K27Ac to become de novo enhancers. Minimal remodeling regions are associated with gene ontologies specific to decreased B cell number and mTOR inhibition and may make unique contributions to glucocorticoid-induced leukemia cell death.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our findings form a novel framework for understanding the dynamic interplay between transcription factor binding, nucleosome remodeling, enhancer function, and gene expression in the leukemia response to glucocorticoids.