Characterization of two different Asf1 histone chaperones with distinct cellular localizations and functions in Trypanosoma brucei.
ABSTRACT: The anti-silencing function protein 1 (Asf1) is a chaperone that forms a complex with histones H3 and H4 facilitating dimer deposition and removal from chromatin. Most eukaryotes possess two different Asf1 chaperones but their specific functions are still unknown. Trypanosomes, a group of early-diverged eukaryotes, also have two, but more divergent Asf1 paralogs than Asf1 of higher eukaryotes. To unravel possible different functions, we characterized the two Asf1 proteins in Trypanosoma brucei. Asf1A is mainly localized in the cytosol but translocates to the nucleus in S phase. In contrast, Asf1B is predominantly localized in the nucleus, as described for other organisms. Cytosolic Asf1 knockdown results in accumulation of cells in early S phase of the cell cycle, whereas nuclear Asf1 knockdown arrests cells in S/G2 phase. Overexpression of cytosolic Asf1 increases the levels of histone H3 and H4 acetylation. In contrast to cytosolic Asf1, overexpression of nuclear Asf1 causes less pronounced growth defects in parasites exposed to genotoxic agents, prompting a function in chromatin remodeling in response to DNA damage. Only the cytosolic Asf1 interacts with recombinant H3/H4 dimers in vitro. These findings denote the early appearance in evolution of distinguishable functions for the two Asf1 chaperons in trypanosomes.
Project description:Sexual reproduction in flowering plants is distinct from that in animals since gametogenesis requires production of haploid spores, which divide and differentiate into specialised gametophyte structures. Anti-Silencing Function 1 (ASF1) is a histone H3/H4 chaperone involved in chromatin remodeling during cell division, which we have found plays a critical role in gametophyte development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using mutant alleles for the two ASF1 homologs, asf1a and asf1b, we show that ASF1 is required for successful development of gametophytes and acquisition of fertilisation competency. On the female side, reproductive failure is caused by aberrant development of ovules, leading to gamete degeneration. On the male side, we show both in vitro and in vivo that asf1 mutant pollen tube growth is stunted, limiting fertilisation to ovules nearest the stigma. Consistent with ASF1 importance in gametogenesis, we show that ASF1A and ASF1B are expressed throughout female and male gametogenesis. We show that the gametogenesis defects can be corrected by ASF1A and ASF1B transgenes, and that ASF1A and ASF1B act redundantly. Thus, in contrast to the role of ASF1 in sporophytic cell cycle progression, our data indicate that during reproduction, ASF1 is required for the precise nuclei differentiation necessary for gametophyte maturation and fertilisation.
Project description:Mammalian cells possess two isoforms of the histone H3-H4 chaperone anti-silencing function 1 (Asf1), Asf1a and Asf1b. However to date, whether they have individual physiological roles has remained elusive. Here, we aim to elucidate the functional importance of Asf1 isoforms concerning both basic and applied aspects. First, we reveal a specific proliferation-dependent expression of human Asf1b unparalleled by Asf1a. Strikingly, in cultured cells, both mRNA and protein corresponding to Asf1b decrease upon cell cycle exit. Depletion of Asf1b severely compromises proliferation, leads to aberrant nuclear structures and a distinct transcriptional signature. Second, a major physiological implication is found in the applied context of tissue samples derived from early stage breast tumours in which we examined Asf1a/b levels. We reveal that overexpression of Asf1b mRNA correlate with clinical data and disease outcome. Together, our results highlight a distribution of tasks between the distinct Asf1 isoforms, which emphasizes a specialized function of Asf1b required for proliferation capacity. We discuss the implications of these results for breast cancer diagnosis and prognosis.
Project description:Histone chaperones have been implicated in nucleosome assembly and disassembly as well as histone modification. ASF1 is a highly conserved histone H3/H4 chaperone that synergizes in vitro with two other histone chaperones, chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF-1) and histone repression A factor (HIRA), in DNA synthesis-coupled and DNA synthesis-independent nucleosome assembly. Here, we identify mutants of histones H3.1 and H3.3 that are unable to interact with human ASF1A and ASF1B isoforms but that are still competent to bind CAF-1 and HIRA, respectively. We show that these mutant histones are inefficiently deposited into chromatin in vivo. Furthermore, we found that both ASF1A and ASF1B participate in the DNA synthesis-independent deposition of H3.3 in HeLa cells, thus highlighting an unexpected role for ASF1B in this pathway. This pathway does not require interaction of ASF1 with HIRA. We provide the first direct determination that ASF1A and ASF1B play a role in the efficiency of nucleosome assembly in vivo in human cells.
Project description:T-DNA insertional mutations in Arabidopsis genes have conferred huge benefits to the research community, greatly facilitating gene function analyses. However, the insertion process can cause chromosomal rearrangements. Here, we show an example of a likely rearrangement following T-DNA insertion in the Anti-Silencing Function 1B (ASF1B) gene locus on Arabidopsis chromosome 5, so that the phenotype was not relevant to the gene of interest, ASF1B. ASF1 is a histone H3/H4 chaperone involved in chromatin remodeling in the sporophyte and during reproduction. Plants that were homozygous for mutant alleles asf1a or asf1b were developmentally normal. However, following self-fertilization of double heterozygotes (ASF1A/asf1a ASF1B/asf1b, hereafter AaBb), defects were visible in both male and female gametes. Half of the AaBb and aaBb ovules displayed arrested embryo sacs with functional megaspore identity. Similarly, half of the AaBb and aaBb pollen grains showed centromere defects, resulting in pollen abortion at the bi-cellular stage of the male gametophyte. However, inheritance of the mutant allele in a given gamete did not solely determine the abortion phenotype. Introducing functional ASF1B failed to rescue the AaBb- and aaBb- mediated abortion, suggesting that heterozygosity in the ASF1B gene causes gametophytic defects, rather than the loss of ASF1. The presence of reproductive defects in heterozygous mutants but not in homozygotes, and the characteristic all-or-nothing pollen viability within tetrads, were both indicative of commonly-observed T-DNA-mediated translocation activity for this allele. Our observations reinforce the importance of complementation tests in assigning gene function using reverse genetics.
Project description:During DNA replication, nucleosomes are rapidly assembled on newly synthesized DNA to restore chromatin organization. Asf1, a key histone H3-H4 chaperone required for this process, is phosphorylated by Tousled-like kinases (TLKs). Here, we identify TLK phosphorylation sites by mass spectrometry and dissect how phosphorylation has an impact on human Asf1 function. The divergent C-terminal tail of Asf1a is phosphorylated at several sites, and this is required for timely progression through S phase. Consistent with this, biochemical analysis of wild-type and phospho-mimetic Asf1a shows that phosphorylation enhances binding to histones and the downstream chaperones CAF-1 and HIRA. Moreover, we find that TLK phosphorylation of Asf1a is induced in cells experiencing deficiency of new histones and that TLK interaction with Asf1a involves its histone-binding pocket. We thus propose that TLK signalling promotes histone supply in S phase by targeting histone-free Asf1 and stimulating its ability to shuttle histones to sites of chromatin assembly.
Project description:We used RNAi to knock-down the two isoforms of Asf1, Asf1a and Asf1b, in human U-2-OS osteosarcoma cells. We obtained two replicates each with siRNAs against Asf1a, Asf1b, combined siRNAs against both isoforms, and two control samples. For these samples, we measured genome-wide transcription levels using Affymetrix HG-U133Plus2 oligonucleotide microarrays.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Asf1 is a well-conserved histone chaperone that regulates multiple cellular processes in different species. Two paralogous genes, Asf1a and Asf1b exist in mammals, but their role during fertilization and early embryogenesis remains to be investigated further. METHODS:We analyzed the dynamics of histone chaperone Asf1a and Asf1b in oocytes and pre-implantation embryos in mice by immunofluorescence and real-time quantitative PCR, and further investigated the role of Asf1a and Asf1b during fertilization and pre-implantation development by specific Morpholino oligos-mediated knock down approach. RESULTS:Immunofluorescence with specific antibodies revealed that both Asf1a and Asf1b were deposited in the nuclei of fully grown oocytes, accumulated abundantly in zygote and 2-cell embryonic nuclei, but turned low at 4-cell stage embryos. In contrast to the weak but definite nuclear deposition of Asf1a, Asf1b disappeared from embryonic nuclei at morula and blastocyst stages. The knockdown of Asf1a and Asf1b by specific Morpholino oligos revealed that Asf1a but not Asf1b was required for the histone H3.3 assembly in paternal pronucleus. However, knockdown of either Asf1a or Asf1b expression decreased developmental potential of pre-implantation embryos. Furthermore, while Asf1a KD severely reduced H3K56 acetylation level and the expression of Oct4 in blastocyst stage embryos, Asf1b KD almost eliminated nuclear accumulation of proliferating cell marker-PCNA in morula stage embryos. These results suggested that histone chaperone Asf1a and Asf1b play distinct roles during fertilization and pre-implantation development in mice. CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggested that both Asf1a and Asf1b are required for pre-implantation embryonic development. Asf1a regulates H3K56ac levels and Oct4 expression, while Asf1b safeguards pre-implantation embryo development by regulating cell proliferation. We also showed that Asf1a, but not Asf1b, was necessary for the assembly of histone H3.3 in paternal pronuclei after fertilization.
Project description:Asf1 is a conserved histone chaperone implicated in nucleosome assembly, transcriptional silencing, and the cellular response to DNA damage. We solved the NMR solution structure of the N-terminal functional domain of the human Asf1a isoform, and we identified by NMR chemical shift mapping a surface of Asf1a that binds the C-terminal helix of histone H3. This binding surface forms a highly conserved hydrophobic groove surrounded by charged residues. Mutations within this binding site decreased the affinity of Asf1a for the histone H3/H4 complex in vitro, and the same mutations in the homologous yeast protein led to transcriptional silencing defects, DNA damage sensitivity, and thermosensitive growth. We have thus obtained direct experimental evidence of the mode of binding between a histone and one of its chaperones and genetic data suggesting that this interaction is important in both the DNA damage response and transcriptional silencing.