Accelerated chromatin biochemistry using DNA-barcoded nucleosome libraries.
ABSTRACT: Elucidating the molecular details of how chromatin-associated factors deposit, remove and recognize histone post-translational modification (PTM) signatures remains a daunting task in the epigenetics field. We introduce a versatile platform that greatly accelerates biochemical investigations into chromatin recognition and signaling. This technology is based on the streamlined semisynthesis of DNA-barcoded nucleosome libraries with distinct combinations of PTMs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of these libraries, once they have been treated with purified chromatin effectors or the combined chromatin recognizing and modifying activities of the nuclear proteome, is followed by multiplexed DNA-barcode sequencing. This ultrasensitive workflow allowed us to collect thousands of biochemical data points revealing the binding preferences of various nuclear factors for PTM patterns and how preexisting PTMs, alone or synergistically, affect further PTM deposition via cross-talk mechanisms. We anticipate that the high throughput and sensitivity of the technology will help accelerate the decryption of the diverse molecular controls that operate at the level of chromatin.
Project description:Post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones are an essential feature in the dynamic regulation of chromatin. One of these modifications, ubiquitylation, has been speculated to directly influence the stability of the nucleosome, which represents the basic building block of chromatin. Here we report a strategy for the semisynthesis of site-specifically ubiquitylated histone H2A (uH2A). This branched protein was generated through a three-piece expressed protein ligation approach including a traceless ligation at valine. uH2A could be efficiently incorporated into nucleosomes, thereby opening the way to detailed biochemical and biophysical studies on the function of this PTM. Accordingly, we used uH2A, as well as a previously generated ubiquitylated H2B, in chaperone-coupled nucleosome stability assays to demonstrate that the direct effect of ubiquitylated histones on nucleosomal stability is in fact modest.
Project description:Histone proteins are subject to a host of posttranslational modifications (PTMs) that modulate chromatin structure and function. Such control is achieved by the direct alteration of the intrinsic physical properties of the chromatin fiber or by regulating the recruitment and activity of a host of trans-acting nuclear factors. The sheer number of histone PTMs presents a formidable barrier to understanding the molecular mechanisms at the heart of epigenetic regulation of eukaryotic genomes. One aspect of this multifarious problem, namely how to access homogeneously modified chromatin for biochemical studies, is well suited to the sensibilities of the organic chemist. Indeed, recent years have witnessed a critical role for synthetic protein chemistry methods in generating the raw materials needed for studying how histone PTMs regulate chromatin biochemistry. This review focuses on what is arguably the most powerful, and widely employed, of these chemical strategies, namely histone semisynthesis via the chemical ligation of peptide fragments.
Project description:Semisynthetic proteins engineered to contain non-coded elements such as post-translational modifications (PTMs) represent a powerful class of tools for interrogating biological processes. Here, we introduce a one-pot, chemoenzymatic method that allows broad access to chemically modified proteins. The approach involves a tandem transamidation reaction cascade that integrates intein-mediated protein splicing with enzyme-mediated peptide ligation. We show that this approach can be used to introduce PTMs and biochemical probes into a range of proteins including Cas9 nuclease and the transcriptional regulator MeCP2, which causes Rett syndrome when mutated. The versatility of the approach is further illustrated through the chemical tailoring of histone proteins within a native chromatin setting. We expect our approach will extend the scope of semisynthesis in protein engineering.
Project description:Histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) are key epigenetic regulators in chromatin-based processes. Increasing evidence suggests that vast combinations of PTMs exist within chromatin histones. These complex patterns, rather than individual PTMs, are thought to define functional chromatin states. However, the ability to interrogate combinatorial histone PTM patterns at the nucleosome level has been limited by the lack of direct molecular tools.Here we demonstrate an efficient, quantitative, antibody-free, chromatin immunoprecipitation-less (ChIP-less) method for interrogating diverse epigenetic states. At the heart of the workflow are recombinant chromatin reader domains, which target distinct chromatin states with combinatorial PTM patterns. Utilizing a newly designed combinatorial histone peptide microarray, we showed that three reader domains (ATRX-ADD, ING2-PHD and AIRE-PHD) displayed greater specificity towards combinatorial PTM patterns than corresponding commercial histone antibodies. Such specific recognitions were employed to develop a chromatin reader-based affinity enrichment platform (matrix-assisted reader chromatin capture, or MARCC). We successfully applied the reader-based platform to capture unique chromatin states, which were quantitatively profiled by mass spectrometry to reveal interconnections between nucleosomal histone PTMs. Specifically, a highly enriched signature that harbored H3K4me0, H3K9me2/3, H3K79me0 and H4K20me2/3 within the same nucleosome was identified from chromatin enriched by ATRX-ADD. This newly reported PTM combination was enriched in heterochromatin, as revealed by the associated DNA.Our results suggest the broad utility of recombinant reader domains as an enrichment tool specific to combinatorial PTM patterns, which are difficult to probe directly by antibody-based approaches. The reader affinity platform is compatible with several downstream analyses to investigate the physical coexistence of nucleosomal PTM states associated with specific genomic loci. Collectively, the reader-based workflow will greatly facilitate our understanding of how distinct chromatin states and reader domains function in gene regulatory mechanisms.
Project description:Histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) contribute to chromatin accessibility due to their chemical properties and their ability to recruit enzymes responsible for DNA readout and chromatin remodeling. To date, more than 400 different histone PTMs and thousands of combinations of PTMs have been identified, the vast majority with still unknown biological function. Identification and quantification of histone PTMs has become routine in mass spectrometry (MS) but, since raising antibodies for each PTM in a study can be prohibitive, lots of potential is lost from MS datasets when uncharacterized PTMs are found to be significantly regulated. We developed an assay that uses metabolic labeling and MS to associate chromatin accessibility with histone PTMs and their combinations. The labeling is achieved by spiking in the cell media a 5x concentration of stable isotope labeled arginine and allow cells to grow for at least one cell cycle. We quantified the labeling incorporation of about 200 histone peptides with a proteomics workflow, and we confirmed that peptides carrying PTMs with extensively characterized roles in active transcription or gene silencing were in highly or poorly labeled forms, respectively. Data were further validated using next-generation sequencing to assess the transcription rate of chromatin regions modified with five selected PTMs. Furthermore, we quantified the labeling rate of peptides carrying co-existing PTMs, proving that this method is suitable for combinatorial PTMs. We focus on the abundant bivalent mark H3K27me3K36me2, showing that H3K27me3 dominantly represses histone swapping rate even in the presence of the more permissive PTM H3K36me2. Together, we envision this method will help to generate hypotheses regarding histone PTM functions and, potentially, elucidate the role of combinatorial histone codes.
Project description:Systems analysis of chromatin has been constrained by complex patterns and dynamics of histone post-translational modifications (PTMs), which represent major challenges for both mass spectrometry (MS) and immuno-based approaches (e.g., chromatin immuno-precipitation, ChIP). Here we present a proof-of-concept study demonstrating that crosstalk among PTMs and their functional significance can be revealed via systematic bioinformatic and proteomic analysis of steady-state histone PTM levels from cells under various perturbations. Using high resolution tandem MS, we quantified 53 modification states from all core histones and their conserved variants in the unicellular eukaryotic model organism Tetrahymena. By correlating histone PTM patterns across 15 different conditions, including various physiological states and mutations of key histone modifying enzymes, we identified 5 specific chromatin states with characteristic covarying histone PTMs and associated them with distinctive functions in replication, transcription, and DNA repair. In addition to providing a detailed picture on histone PTM crosstalk at global levels, this work has established a novel bioinformatic and proteomic approach, which can be adapted to other organisms and readily scaled up to allow increased resolution of chromatin states.
Project description:Chromatin is a system of nuclear proteins and nucleic acids that plays a pivotal role in gene expression and cell behavior and is therefore the subject of intense study for cell development and cancer research. Biochemistry, crystallography, and reverse genetics have elucidated the macromolecular interactions that drive chromatin regulation. One of the central mechanisms is the recognition of post-translational modifications (PTMs) on histone proteins by a family of nuclear proteins known as "readers". This knowledge has launched a wave of activity around the rational design of proteins that interact with histone PTMs. Useful molecular tools have emerged from this work, enabling researchers to probe and manipulate chromatin states in live cells. Chromatin-based proteins represent a vast design space that remains underexplored. Therefore, we have developed a rapid prototyping platform to identify engineered fusion proteins that bind histone PTMs in vitro and regulate genes near the same histone PTMs in living cells. We have used our system to build gene activators with strong avidity for the gene silencing-associated histone PTM H3K27me3. Here, we describe procedures and data for cell-free production of fluorescently tagged fusion proteins, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based measurement of histone PTM binding, and a live cell assay to demonstrate that the fusion proteins modulate transcriptional activation at a site that carries the target histone PTM. This pipeline will be useful for synthetic biologists who are interested in designing novel histone PTM-binding actuators and probes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) constitute a branch of epigenetic mechanisms that can control the expression of eukaryotic genes in a heritable manner. Recent studies have identified several PTM-binding proteins containing diverse specialized domains whose recognition of specific PTM sites leads to gene activation or repression. Here, we present a high-throughput proteogenomic platform designed to characterize the nucleosomal make-up of chromatin enriched with a set of histone PTM binding proteins known as histone PTM readers. We support our findings with gene expression data correlating to PTM distribution. RESULTS:We isolated human mononucleosomes bound by the bromodomain-containing proteins Brd2, Brd3 and Brd4, and by the chromodomain-containing heterochromatin proteins HP1? and HP1?. Histone PTMs were quantified by mass spectrometry (ChIP-qMS), and their associated DNAs were mapped using deep sequencing. Our results reveal that Brd- and HP1-bound nucleosomes are enriched in histone PTMs consistent with actively transcribed euchromatin and silent heterochromatin, respectively. Data collected using RNA-Seq show that Brd-bound sites correlate with highly expressed genes. In particular, Brd3 and Brd4 are most enriched on nucleosomes located within HOX gene clusters, whose expression is reduced upon Brd4 depletion by short hairpin RNA. CONCLUSIONS:Proteogenomic mapping of histone PTM readers, alongside the characterization of their local chromatin environments and transcriptional information, should prove useful for determining how histone PTMs are bound by these readers and how they contribute to distinct transcriptional states.
Project description:The dbPTM (http://dbPTM.mbc.nctu.edu.tw/) has been maintained for over 10 years with the aim to provide functional and structural analyses for post-translational modifications (PTMs). In this update, dbPTM not only integrates more experimentally validated PTMs from available databases and through manual curation of literature but also provides PTM-disease associations based on non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs). The high-throughput deep sequencing technology has led to a surge in the data generated through analysis of association between SNPs and diseases, both in terms of growth amount and scope. This update thus integrated disease-associated nsSNPs from dbSNP based on genome-wide association studies. The PTM substrate sites located at a specified distance in terms of the amino acids encoded from nsSNPs were deemed to have an association with the involved diseases. In recent years, increasing evidence for crosstalk between PTMs has been reported. Although mass spectrometry-based proteomics has substantially improved our knowledge about substrate site specificity of single PTMs, the fact that the crosstalk of combinatorial PTMs may act in concert with the regulation of protein function and activity is neglected. Because of the relatively limited information about concurrent frequency and functional relevance of PTM crosstalk, in this update, the PTM sites neighboring other PTM sites in a specified window length were subjected to motif discovery and functional enrichment analysis. This update highlights the current challenges in PTM crosstalk investigation and breaks the bottleneck of how proteomics may contribute to understanding PTM codes, revealing the next level of data complexity and proteomic limitation in prospective PTM research.
Project description:The field of chromatin biology has been advancing at an accelerated pace. Recent discoveries of previously uncharacterized sites and types of post-translational modifications (PTMs) and the identification of new sets of proteins responsible for the deposition, removal, and reading of these marks continue raising the complexity of an already exceedingly complicated biological phenomenon. In this Perspective article we examine the biological importance of new types and sites of histone PTMs and summarize the molecular mechanisms of chromatin engagement by newly discovered epigenetic readers. We also highlight the imperative role of structural insights in understanding PTM-reader interactions and discuss future directions to enhance the knowledge of PTM readout.