Differential expression of histone H3 genes and selective association of the variant H3.7 with a specific sequence class in Stylonychia macronuclear development.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Regulation of chromatin structure involves deposition of selective histone variants into nucleosome arrays. Numerous histone H3 variants become differentially expressed by individual nanochromosomes in the course of macronuclear differentiation in the spirotrichous ciliate Stylonychia lemnae. Their biological relevance remains to be elucidated. RESULTS: We show that the differential assembly of H3 variants into chromatin is strongly correlated with the functional separation of chromatin structures in developing macronuclei during sexual reproduction in Stylonychia, thus probably determining the fate of specific sequences. Specific H3 variants approximately 15 kDa or 20 kDa in length are selectively targeted by post-translational modifications. We found that only the 15 kDa H3 variants including H3.3 and H3.5, accumulate in the early developing macronucleus, and these also occur in mature macronuclei. H3.7 is a 20 kDa variant that specifically becomes enriched in macronuclear anlagen during chromosome polytenization. H3.7, acetylated at lysine-32 (probably equivalent to lysine-36 of most H3 variants), is specifically associated with a sequence class that is retained in the mature macronucleus and therefore does not undergo developmental DNA elimination. H3.8 is another 20 kDa variant that is restricted to the micronucleus. H3.8 is selectively targeted by lysine methylation and by serine or threonine phosphorylation. Intriguingly, the expression and chromatin localization of the histone variant H3.3 was impaired during macronuclear differentiation after RNA interference knock-down of Piwi expression. CONCLUSIONS: Differential deposition of H3 variants into chromatin strongly correlates with the functional distinction of genomic sequence classes on the chromatin level, thus helping to determine the fate of specific DNA sequences during sexual reproduction in Stylonychia. Consequently, H3 variants are selectively targeted by post-translational modifications, possibly as a result of deviations within the recognition motifs, which allow binding of effector proteins. We propose that differential assembly of histone variants into chromatin of various nuclear types could contribute to nuclear identity, for example, during differential development of either new micronuclei or a macronuclear anlage from mitosis products of the zygote nucleus (synkaryon). The observation that the Piwi-non-coding RNA (ncRNA) pathway influences the expression and deposition of H3.3 in macronuclear anlagen indicates for the first time that selective histone variant assembly into chromatin might possibly depend on ncRNA.
Project description:Stylonychia lemnae is a classical model single-celled eukaryote, and a quintessential ciliate typified by dimorphic nuclei: A small, germline micronucleus and a massive, vegetative macronucleus. The genome within Stylonychia's macronucleus has a very unusual architecture, comprised variably and highly amplified "nanochromosomes," each usually encoding a single gene with a minimal amount of surrounding noncoding DNA. As only a tiny fraction of the Stylonychia genes has been sequenced, and to promote research using this organism, we sequenced its macronuclear genome. We report the analysis of the 50.2-Mb draft S. lemnae macronuclear genome assembly, containing in excess of 16,000 complete nanochromosomes, assembled as less than 20,000 contigs. We found considerable conservation of fundamental genomic properties between S. lemnae and its close relative, Oxytricha trifallax, including nanochromosomal gene synteny, alternative fragmentation, and copy number. Protein domain searches in Stylonychia revealed two new telomere-binding protein homologs and the presence of linker histones. Among the diverse histone variants of S. lemnae and O. trifallax, we found divergent, coexpressed variants corresponding to four of the five core nucleosomal proteins (H1.2, H2A.6, H2B.4, and H3.7) suggesting that these ciliates may possess specialized nucleosomes involved in genome processing during nuclear differentiation. The assembly of the S. lemnae macronuclear genome demonstrates that largely complete, well-assembled highly fragmented genomes of similar size and complexity may be produced from one library and lane of Illumina HiSeq 2000 shotgun sequencing. The provision of the S. lemnae macronuclear genome sets the stage for future detailed experimental studies of chromatin-mediated, RNA-guided developmental genome rearrangements.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Histone variants establish structural and functional diversity of chromatin by affecting nucleosome stability and histone-protein interactions. H3.3 is an H3 histone variant that is incorporated into chromatin outside of S-phase in various eukaryotes. In animals, H3.3 is associated with active transcription and possibly maintenance of transcriptional memory. Plant H3 variants, which evolved independently of their animal counterparts, are much less well understood. RESULTS: We profile the H3.3 distribution in Arabidopsis at mono-nucleosomal resolution using native chromatin immunoprecipitation. This results in the precise mapping of H3.3-containing nucleosomes, which are not only enriched in gene bodies as previously reported, but also at a subset of promoter regions and downstream of the 3' ends of active genes. While H3.3 presence within transcribed regions is strongly associated with transcriptional activity, H3.3 at promoters is often independent of transcription. In particular, promoters with GA motifs carry H3.3 regardless of the gene expression levels. H3.3 on promoters of inactive genes is associated with H3K27me3 at gene bodies. In addition, H3.3-enriched plant promoters often contain RNA Pol II considerably upstream of the transcriptional start site. H3.3 and RNA Pol II are found on active as well as on inactive promoters and are enriched at strongly regulated genes. CONCLUSIONS: In animals and plants, H3.3 organizes chromatin in transcribed regions and in promoters. The results suggest a function of H3.3 in transcriptional regulation and support a model that a single ancestral H3 evolved into H3 variants with similar sub-functionalization patterns in plants and animals.
Project description:Nucleosomes package eukaryotic DNA and are composed of four different histone proteins, designated H3, H4, H2A, and H2B. Histone H3 has two main variants, H3.1 and H3.3, which show different genomic localization patterns in animals. We profiled H3.1 and H3.3 variants in the genome of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana and found that the localization of these variants shows broad similarity in plants and animals, along with some unique features. H3.1 was enriched in silent areas of the genome, including regions containing the repressive chromatin modifications H3 lysine 27 methylation, H3 lysine 9 methylation, and DNA methylation. In contrast, H3.3 was enriched in actively transcribed genes, especially peaking at the 3' end of genes, and correlated with histone modifications associated with gene activation, such as histone H3 lysine 4 methylation and H2B ubiquitylation, as well as RNA Pol II occupancy. Surprisingly, both H3.1 and H3.3 were enriched on defined origins of replication, as was overall nucleosome density, suggesting a novel characteristic of plant origins. Our results are broadly consistent with the hypothesis that H3.1 acts as the canonical histone that is incorporated during DNA replication, whereas H3.3 acts as the replacement histone that can be incorporated outside of S-phase during chromatin-disrupting processes like transcription.
Project description:Histone variants can effect nucleosome stability or affect histone of DNA modifications. H3.3 is a major H3 histone variant that is incorporated into chromatin outside of S-phase in various eukaryotes. In animals, H3.3 is associated with active transcription and possibly maintenance of transcriptional memory. Plant H3.3, which evolved independently of animal H3.3, is much less well understood. We performed ChIP-chip using chromatin from rosette leaves of 35S:H3.3-YFP plants.
Project description:The macronucleus of the hypotrichous ciliate Stylonychia lemnae contains a 1218 bp long DNA molecule which becomes highly amplified during vegetative growth due to a continuous overreplication over a long time range. The region which is located upstream the open reading frame of the overamplified 1.2kbp Stylonychia DNA molecule enabled plasmids containing an inefficiently transcribed thymidine kinase gene to persist and amplify upon transfection into mouse L fibroblasts under selective conditions. This region contains long AT-rich stretches. The AT-rich sequences interact with a previously characterized HMG-I like protein from mouse Ehrlich ascites tumour cells. A binding activity for AT-rich stretches could also be identified in macronuclear extracts from Stylonychia lemnae. We suggest a common mechanism for overamplification in Stylonychia macronuclei during vegetative growth and amplification of plasmid DNA in heterologous mouse cells under the influence of a common element.
Project description:Histone chaperones prevent promiscuous histone interactions before chromatin assembly. They guarantee faithful deposition of canonical histones and functionally specialized histone variants into chromatin in a spatial- and temporally-restricted manner. Here, we identify the binding partners of the primate-specific and H3.3-related histone variant H3.Y using several quantitative mass spectrometry approaches, and biochemical and cell biological assays. We find the HIRA, but not the DAXX/ATRX, complex to recognize H3.Y, explaining its presence in transcriptionally active euchromatic regions. Accordingly, H3.Y nucleosomes are enriched in the transcription-promoting FACT complex and depleted of repressive post-translational histone modifications. H3.Y mutational gain-of-function screens reveal an unexpected combinatorial amino acid sequence requirement for histone H3.3 interaction with DAXX but not HIRA, and for H3.3 recruitment to PML nuclear bodies. We demonstrate the importance and necessity of specific H3.3 core and C-terminal amino acids in discriminating between distinct chaperone complexes. Further, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing experiments reveal that in contrast to euchromatic HIRA-dependent deposition sites, human DAXX/ATRX-dependent regions of histone H3 variant incorporation are enriched in heterochromatic H3K9me3 and simple repeat sequences. These data demonstrate that H3.Y's unique amino acids allow a functional distinction between HIRA and DAXX binding and its consequent deposition into open chromatin.
Project description:Upon fertilization, reprogramming of gene expression is required for embryo development. This step is marked by DNA demethylation and changes in histone variant composition. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms causing these changes and their impact on histone modifications. We examined the global deposition of the DNA replication-dependent histone H3.1 and H3.2 variants and the DNA replication-independent H3.3 variant after fertilization in mice. We showed that H3.3, a euchromatic marker of gene activity, transiently disappears from the maternal genome, suggesting erasure of the oocyte-specific modifications carried by H3.3. After fertilization, H3.2 is incorporated into the transcriptionally silent heterochromatin, whereas H3.1 and H3.3 occupy unusual heterochromatic and euchromatin locations, respectively. After the two-cell stage, H3.1 and H3.3 variants resume their usual respective locations on heterochromatin and euchromatin. Preventing the incorporation of H3.1 and H3.2 by knockdown of the histone chaperone CAF-1 induces a reciprocal increase in H3.3 deposition and impairs heterochromatin formation. We propose that the deposition of different H3 variants influences the functional organization of chromatin. Taken together, these findings suggest that dynamic changes in the deposition of H3 variants are critical for chromatin reorganization during epigenetic reprogramming.
Project description:The process of cellular senescence generates a repressive chromatin environment, however, the role of histone variants and histone proteolytic cleavage in senescence remains unclear. Here, using models of oncogene-induced and replicative senescence, we report novel histone H3 tail cleavage events mediated by the protease Cathepsin L. We find that cleaved forms of H3 are nucleosomal and the histone variant H3.3 is the preferred cleaved form of H3. Ectopic expression of H3.3 and its cleavage product (H3.3cs1), which lacks the first 21 amino acids of the H3 tail, is sufficient to induce senescence. Further, H3.3cs1 chromatin incorporation is mediated by the HUCA histone chaperone complex. Genome-wide transcriptional profiling revealed that H3.3cs1 facilitates transcriptional silencing of cell cycle regulators including RB/E2F target genes, likely via the permanent removal of H3K4me3. Collectively, our study identifies histone H3.3 and its proteolytically processed forms as key regulators of cellular senescence.
Project description:Maintenance of chromatin homeostasis involves proper delivery of histone variants to the genome. The interplay between different chaperones regulating the supply of histone variants to distinct chromatin domains remains largely undeciphered. We report a role of promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein in the routing of histone variant H3.3 to chromatin and in the organization of megabase-size heterochromatic PML-associated domains that we call PADs. Loss of PML alters the heterochromatic state of PADs by shifting the histone H3 methylation balance from K9me3 to K27me3. Loss of PML impairs deposition of H3.3 by ATRX and DAXX in PADs but preserves the H3.3 loading function of HIRA in these regions. Our results unveil an unappreciated role of PML in the large-scale organization of chromatin and demonstrate a PML-dependent role of ATRX/DAXX in the deposition of H3.3 in PADs. Our data suggest that H3.3 loading by HIRA and ATRX-dependent H3K27 trimethylation constitute mechanisms ensuring maintenance of heterochromatin when the integrity of these domains is compromised.
Project description:Regulation of gene expression requires selective incorporation of histone H3 variant H3.3 into chromatin. Histone H3.3 has several subsidiary variants but their functions are unclear. Here we characterize the function of histone H3.3 sub-variant, H3mm7, which is expressed in skeletal muscle satellite cells. H3mm7 knockout mice demonstrate an essential role of H3mm7 in skeletal muscle regeneration. Chromatin analysis reveals that H3mm7 facilitates transcription by forming an open chromatin structure around promoter regions including those of myogenic genes. The crystal structure of the nucleosome containing H3mm7 reveals that, unlike the S57 residue of other H3 proteins, the H3mm7-specific A57 residue cannot form a hydrogen bond with the R40 residue of the cognate H4 molecule. Consequently, the H3mm7 nucleosome is unstable in vitro and exhibited higher mobility in vivo compared with the H3.3 nucleosome. We conclude that the unstable H3mm7 nucleosome may be required for proper skeletal muscle differentiation.