Structural insight into coordinated recognition of trimethylated histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3) by the plant homeodomain (PHD) and tandem tudor domain (TTD) of UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like, containing PHD and RING finger domains, 1) protein.
ABSTRACT: UHRF1 is an important epigenetic regulator connecting DNA methylation and histone methylations. UHRF1 is required for maintenance of DNA methylation through recruiting DNMT1 to DNA replication forks. Recent studies have shown that the plant homeodomain (PHD) of UHRF1 recognizes the N terminus of unmodified histone H3, and the interaction is inhibited by methylation of H3R2, whereas the tandem tudor domain (TTD) of UHRF1 recognizes trimethylated histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3). However, how the two domains of UHRF1 coordinately recognize histone methylations remains elusive. In this report, we identified that PHD largely enhances the interaction between TTD and H3K9me3. We present the crystal structure of UHRF1 containing both TTD and PHD (TTD-PHD) in complex with H3K9m3 peptide at 3.0 Å resolution. The structure shows that TTD-PHD binds to the H3K9me3 peptide with 1:1 stoichiometry with the two domains connected by the H3K9me3 peptide and a linker region. The TTD interacts with residues Arg-8 and trimethylated Lys-9, and the PHD interacts with residues Ala-1, Arg-2, and Lys-4 of the H3K9me3 peptide. The biochemical experiments indicate that PHD-mediated recognition of unmodified H3 is independent of the TTD, whereas TTD-mediated recognition of H3K9me3 PHD. Thus, both TTD and PHD are essential for specific recognition of H3K9me3 by UHRF1. Interestingly, the H3K9me3 peptide induces conformational changes of TTD-PHD, which do not affect the autoubiquitination activity or hemimethylated DNA binding affinity of UHRF1 in vitro. Taken together, our studies provide structural insight into the coordinated recognition of H3K9me3 by the TTD and PHD of UHRF1.
Project description:UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like, containing PHD and RING finger domains, 1) is one of the essential components of mammalian DNA methylation machinery. Chromatin association of UHRF1 is controlled via an interplay between its intramolecular interaction and dual recognition of histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 9 (H3K9me3) and hemimethylated DNA. Here, we report the crystal structure of the N-terminal tandem Tudor domain (TTD) of UHRF1 in complex with the C-terminal polybasic region (PBR). Structural analysis reveals that PBR binding leads to displacement of the TTD-plant homeodomain (PHD) linker, as well as blockage of the H3K9me3-engaging cage, both of which contribute to a chromatin-occluded UHRF1 conformation. Disruption of the TTD-PBR interaction, which is facilitated by the binding of UHRF1 to hemimethylated DNA or regulatory protein USP7, shifts the UHRF1 conformation toward an open state, allowing for efficient H3K9me3 binding. Together, this study provides structural basis for the allosteric regulation of UHRF1.
Project description:UHRF1 is an important epigenetic regulator for maintenance DNA methylation. UHRF1 recognizes hemi-methylated DNA (hm-DNA) and trimethylation of histone H3K9 (H3K9me3), but the regulatory mechanism remains unknown. Here we show that UHRF1 adopts a closed conformation, in which a C-terminal region (Spacer) binds to the tandem Tudor domain (TTD) and inhibits H3K9me3 recognition, whereas the SET-and-RING-associated (SRA) domain binds to the plant homeodomain (PHD) and inhibits H3R2 recognition. Hm-DNA impairs the intramolecular interactions and promotes H3K9me3 recognition by TTD-PHD. The Spacer also facilitates UHRF1-DNMT1 interaction and enhances hm-DNA-binding affinity of the SRA. When TTD-PHD binds to H3K9me3, SRA-Spacer may exist in a dynamic equilibrium: either recognizes hm-DNA or recruits DNMT1 to chromatin. Our study reveals the mechanism for regulation of H3K9me3 and hm-DNA recognition by URHF1.
Project description:UHRF1 is a key mediator of inheritance of epigenetic DNA methylation patterns during cell division and is a putative target for cancer therapy. Recent studies indicate that interdomain interactions critically influence UHRF1's chromatin-binding properties, including allosteric regulation of its histone binding. Here, using an integrative approach that combines small angle X-ray scattering, NMR spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations, we characterized the dynamics of the tandem tudor domain-plant homeodomain (TTD-PHD) histone reader module, including its 20-residue interdomain linker. We found that the apo TTD-PHD module in solution comprises a dynamic ensemble of conformers, approximately half of which are compact conformations, with the linker lying in the TTD peptide-binding groove. These compact conformations are amenable to cooperative, high-affinity histone binding. In the remaining conformations, the linker position was in flux, and the reader adopted both extended and compact states. Using a small-molecule fragment screening approach, we identified a compound, 4-benzylpiperidine-1-carboximidamide, that binds to the TTD groove, competes with linker binding, and promotes open TTD-PHD conformations that are less efficient at H3K9me3 binding. Our work reveals a mechanism by which the dynamic TTD-PHD module can be allosterically targeted with small molecules to modulate its histone reader function for therapeutic or experimental purposes.
Project description:UHRF1 is an important epigenetic regulator associated with apoptosis and tumour development. It is a multidomain protein that integrates readout of different histone modification states and DNA methylation with enzymatic histone ubiquitylation activity. Emerging evidence indicates that the chromatin-binding and enzymatic modules of UHRF1 do not act in isolation but interplay in a coordinated and regulated manner. Here, we compared two splicing variants (V1, V2) of murine UHRF1 (mUHRF1) with human UHRF1 (hUHRF1). We show that insertion of nine amino acids in a linker region connecting the different TTD and PHD histone modification-binding domains causes distinct H3K9me3-binding behaviour of mUHRF1 V1. Structural analysis suggests that in mUHRF1 V1, in contrast to V2 and hUHRF1, the linker is anchored in a surface groove of the TTD domain, resulting in creation of a coupled TTD-PHD module. This establishes multivalent, synergistic H3-tail binding causing distinct cellular localization and enhanced H3K9me3-nucleosome ubiquitylation activity. In contrast to hUHRF1, H3K9me3-binding of the murine proteins is not allosterically regulated by phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate that interacts with a separate less-conserved polybasic linker region of the protein. Our results highlight the importance of flexible linkers in regulating multidomain chromatin binding proteins and point to divergent evolution of their regulation.
Project description:The chromatin-binding E3 ubiquitin ligase ubiquitin-like with PHD and RING finger domains 1 (UHRF1) contributes to the maintenance of aberrant DNA methylation patterning in cancer cells through multivalent histone and DNA recognition. The tandem Tudor domain (TTD) of UHRF1 is well-characterized as a reader of lysine 9 di- and tri-methylation on histone H3 (H3K9me2/me3) and, more recently, lysine 126 di- and tri-methylation on DNA ligase 1 (LIG1K126me2/me3). However, the functional significance and selectivity of these interactions remain unclear. In this study, we used protein domain microarrays to search for additional readers of LIG1K126me2, the preferred methyl state bound by the UHRF1 TTD. We show that the UHRF1 TTD binds LIG1K126me2 with high affinity and selectivity compared to other known methyllysine readers. Notably, and unlike H3K9me2/me3, the UHRF1 plant homeodomain (PHD) and its N-terminal linker (L2) do not contribute to multivalent LIG1K126me2 recognition along with the TTD. To test the functional significance of this interaction, we designed a LIG1K126me2 cell-penetrating peptide (CPP). Consistent with LIG1 knockdown, uptake of the CPP had no significant effect on the propagation of DNA methylation patterning across the genomes of bulk populations from high-resolution analysis of several cancer cell lines. Further, we did not detect significant changes in DNA methylation patterning from bulk cell populations after chemical or genetic disruption of lysine methyltransferase activity associated with LIG1K126me2 and H3K9me2. Collectively, these studies identify UHRF1 as a selective reader of LIG1K126me2 in vitro and further implicate the histone and non-histone methyllysine reader activity of the UHRF1 TTD as a dispensable domain function for cancer cell DNA methylation maintenance.
Project description:Histone methylation occurs on both lysine and arginine residues, and its dynamic regulation plays a critical role in chromatin biology. Here we identify the UHRF1 PHD finger (PHD(UHRF1)), an important regulator of DNA CpG methylation, as a histone H3 unmodified arginine 2 (H3R2) recognition modality. This conclusion is based on binding studies and cocrystal structures of PHD(UHRF1) bound to histone H3 peptides, where the guanidinium group of unmodified R2 forms an extensive intermolecular hydrogen bond network, with methylation of H3R2, but not H3K4 or H3K9, disrupting complex formation. We have identified direct target genes of UHRF1 from microarray and ChIP studies. Importantly, we show that UHRF1's ability to repress its direct target gene expression is dependent on PHD(UHRF1) binding to unmodified H3R2, thereby demonstrating the functional importance of this recognition event and supporting the potential for crosstalk between histone arginine methylation and UHRF1 function.
Project description:Histone modifications and DNA methylation represent two layers of heritable epigenetic information that regulate eukaryotic chromatin structure and gene activity. UHRF1 is a unique factor that bridges these two layers; it is required for maintenance DNA methylation at hemimethylated CpG sites, which are specifically recognized through its SRA domain and also interacts with histone H3 trimethylated on lysine 9 (H3K9me3) in an unspecified manner. Here we show that UHRF1 contains a tandem Tudor domain (TTD) that recognizes H3 tail peptides with the heterochromatin-associated modification state of trimethylated lysine 9 and unmodified lysine 4 (H3K4me0/K9me3). Solution NMR and crystallographic data reveal the TTD simultaneously recognizes H3K9me3 through a conserved aromatic cage in the first Tudor subdomain and unmodified H3K4 within a groove between the tandem subdomains. The subdomains undergo a conformational adjustment upon peptide binding, distinct from previously reported mechanisms for dual histone mark recognition. Mutant UHRF1 protein deficient for H3K4me0/K9me3 binding shows altered localization to heterochromatic chromocenters and fails to reduce expression of a target gene, p16(INK4A), when overexpressed. Our results demonstrate a novel recognition mechanism for the combinatorial readout of histone modification states associated with gene silencing and add to the growing evidence for coordination of, and cross-talk between, the modification states of H3K4 and H3K9 in regulation of gene expression.
Project description:DNMT1 is recruited by PCNA and UHRF1 to maintain DNA methylation after replication. UHRF1 recognizes hemimethylated DNA substrates via the SRA domain, but also repressive H3K9me3 histone marks with its TTD. With systematic mutagenesis and functional assays, we could show that chromatin binding further involved UHRF1 PHD binding to unmodified H3R2. These complementation assays clearly demonstrated that the ubiquitin ligase activity of the UHRF1 RING domain is required for maintenance DNA methylation. Mass spectrometry of UHRF1-deficient cells revealed H3K18 as a novel ubiquitination target of UHRF1 in mammalian cells. With bioinformatics and mutational analyses, we identified a ubiquitin interacting motif (UIM) in the N-terminal regulatory domain of DNMT1 that binds to ubiquitinated H3 tails and is essential for DNA methylation in vivo. H3 ubiquitination and subsequent DNA methylation required UHRF1 PHD binding to H3R2. These results show the manifold regulatory mechanisms controlling DNMT1 activity that require the reading and writing of epigenetic marks by UHRF1 and illustrate the multifaceted interplay between DNA and histone modifications. The identification and functional characterization of the DNMT1 UIM suggests a novel regulatory principle and we speculate that histone H2AK119 ubiquitination might also lead to UIM-dependent recruitment of DNMT1 and DNA methylation beyond classic maintenance.
Project description:The human UHRF1 protein (ubiquitin-like containing PHD and RING finger domains 1) has emerged as a potential cancer target due to its implication in cell cycle regulation, maintenance of DNA methylation after replication and heterochromatin formation. UHRF1 functions as an adaptor protein that binds to histones and recruits histone modifying enzymes, like HDAC1 or G9a, which exert their action on chromatin. In this work, we show the binding specificity of the PHD finger of human UHRF1 (huUHRF1-PHD) towards unmodified histone H3 N-terminal tail using native gel electrophoresis and isothermal titration calorimetry. We report the molecular basis of this interaction by determining the crystal structure of huUHRF1-PHD in complex with the histone H3 N-terminal tail. The structure reveals a new mode of histone recognition involving an extra conserved zinc finger preceding the conventional PHD finger region. This additional zinc finger forms part of a large surface cavity that accommodates the side chain of the histone H3 lysine K4 (H3K4) regardless of its methylation state. Mutation of Q330, which specifically interacts with H3K4, to alanine has no effect on the binding, suggesting a loose interaction between huUHRF1-PHD and H3K4. On the other hand, the recognition appears to rely on histone H3R2, which fits snugly into a groove on the protein and makes tight interactions with the conserved aspartates D334 and D337. Indeed, a mutation of the former aspartate disrupts the formation of the complex, while mutating the latter decreases the binding affinity nine-fold.
Project description:Histone methylation occurs on both lysine and arginine residues and its dynamic regulation plays a critical role in chromatin biology. Here we identify the UHRF1 PHD domain (PHDUHRF1), an important regulator of DNA CpG methylation, as an unanticipated histone H3 unmodified arginine 2 (H3R2)-recognition modality. This conclusion is based on binding studies and co-crystal structures of the PHDUHRF1 bound to histone H3 peptides, where the guanidinium group of unmodified R2 forms an extensive intermolecular hydrogen bond network, with methylation of H3R2, but not H3K4 or H3K9, disrupting complex formation. We have identified direct target genes of UHRF1 from microarray and ChIP studies. Importantly, we show that UHRF1’s ability to repress its direct target gene expression is dependent on PHDUHRF1 binding to unmodified H3R2, thereby demonstrating the functional importance of this recognition event and supporting the potential for crosstalk between histone arginine methylation and UHRF1 function. UHRF1 protein was depleted in HCT116 cells by shRNA treatment. Total RNA was purified and used to determine the global gene transcription profiles by microarray assays. The UHRF1-regulated genes were identified by comparing the gene expression profiles of control and UHRF1-depleted HCT116 cells.