Partners in crime: The role of tandem modules in gene transcription.
ABSTRACT: Histones and their modifications play an important role in the regulation of gene transcription. Numerous modifications, such as acetylation, phosphorylation, methylation, ubiquitination, and SUMOylation, have been described. These modifications almost always co-occur and thereby increase the combinatorial complexity of post-translational modification detection. The domains that recognize these histone modifications often occur in tandem in the context of larger proteins and complexes. The presence of multiple modifications can positively or negatively regulate the binding of these tandem domains, influencing downstream cellular function. Alternatively, these tandem domains can have novel functions from their independent parts. Here we summarize structural and functional information known about major tandem domains and their histone binding properties. An understanding of these interactions is key for the development of epigenetic therapy.
Project description:Proteins with domains that recognize and bind post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones are collectively termed epigenetic readers. Numerous interactions between specific reader protein domains and histone PTMs and their regulatory outcomes have been reported, but little is known about how reader proteins may in turn be modulated by these interactions. Tripartite motif-containing protein 24 (TRIM24) is a histone reader aberrantly expressed in multiple cancers. Here, our investigation revealed functional cross-talk between histone acetylation and TRIM24 SUMOylation. Binding of TRIM24 to chromatin via its tandem PHD-bromodomain, which recognizes unmethylated lysine 4 and acetylated lysine 23 of histone H3 (H3K4me0/K23ac), led to TRIM24 SUMOylation at lysine residues 723 and 741. Inactivation of the bromodomain, either by mutation or with a small-molecule inhibitor, IACS-9571, abolished TRIM24 SUMOylation. Conversely, inhibition of histone deacetylation markedly increased TRIM24's interaction with chromatin and its SUMOylation. Of note, gene expression profiling of MCF7 cells expressing WT versus SUMO-deficient TRIM24 identified cell adhesion as the major pathway regulated by the cross-talk between chromatin acetylation and TRIM24 SUMOylation. In conclusion, our findings establish a new link between histone H3 acetylation and SUMOylation of the reader protein TRIM24, a functional connection that may bear on TRIM24's oncogenic function and may inform future studies of PTM cross-talk between histones and epigenetic regulators.
Project description:Multiple covalent modifications on a histone tail are often recognized by linked histone reader modules. UHRF1 [ubiquitin-like, containing plant homeodomain (PHD) and really interesting new gene (RING) finger domains 1], an essential factor for maintenance of DNA methylation, contains linked two-histone reader modules, a tandem Tudor domain and a PHD finger, tethered by a 17-aa linker, and has been implicated to link histone modifications and DNA methylation. Here, we present the crystal structure of the linked histone reader modules of UHRF1 in complex with the amino-terminal tail of histone H3. Our structural and biochemical data provide the basis for combinatorial readout of unmodified Arg-2 (H3-R2) and methylated Lys-9 (H3-K9) by the tandem tudor domain and the PHD finger. The structure reveals that the intermodule linker plays an essential role in the formation of a histone H3-binding hole between the reader modules by making extended contacts with the tandem tudor domain. The histone H3 tail fits into the hole by adopting a compact fold harboring a central helix, which allows both of the reader modules to simultaneously recognize the modification states at H3-R2 and H3-K9. Our data also suggest that phosphorylation of a linker residue can modulate the relative position of the reader modules, thereby altering the histone H3-binding mode. This finding implies that the linker region plays a role as a functional switch of UHRF1 involved in multiple regulatory pathways such as maintenance of DNA methylation and transcriptional repression.
Project description:Histone post-translational modifications regulate chromatin structure and function largely through interactions with effector proteins that often contain multiple histone-binding domains. While significant progress has been made characterizing individual effector domains, the role of paired domains and how they function in a combinatorial fashion within chromatin are poorly defined. Here we show that the linked tandem Tudor and plant homeodomain (PHD) of UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like PHD and RING finger domain-containing protein 1) operates as a functional unit in cells, providing a defined combinatorial readout of a heterochromatin signature within a single histone H3 tail that is essential for UHRF1-directed epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation. These findings provide critical support for the "histone code" hypothesis, demonstrating that multivalent histone engagement plays a key role in driving a fundamental downstream biological event in chromatin.
Project description:Allosteric effects of mutations, ligand binding, or post-translational modifications on protein function occur through changes to the protein's shape, or conformation. In a cell, there are many copies of the same protein, all experiencing these perturbations in a dynamic fashion and fluctuating through different conformations and activity states. According to the "conformational selection and population shift" theory, ligand binding selects a particular conformation. This perturbs the ensemble and induces a population shift. In a new PLOS Biology paper, Melacini and colleagues describe a novel model of protein regulation, the "Double-Conformational Selection Model", which demonstrates how two tandem ligand-binding domains interact to regulate protein function. Here we explain how tandem domains with tuned interactions-but not single domains-can provide a blueprint for sensitive activation sensors within a narrow window of ligand concentration, thereby promoting signaling control.
Project description:In nature, individual cells contain multiple isolated compartments in which cascade enzymatic reactions occur to form essential biological products with high efficiency. Here, we report a cell-inspired design of functional hydrogel particles with multiple compartments, in which different enzymes are spatially immobilized in distinct domains that enable engineered, one-pot, tandem reactions. The dense packing of different compartments in the hydrogel particle enables effective transportation of reactants to ensure that the products are generated with high efficiency. To demonstrate the advantages of micro-environmental modifications, we employ the copolymerization of acrylic acid, which leads to the formation of heterogeneous multi-compartmental hydrogel particles with different pH microenvironments. Upon the positional assembly of glucose oxidase and magnetic nanoparticles, these hydrogel particles are able to process a glucose-triggered, incompatible, multistep tandem reaction in one pot. Furthermore, based on the high cytotoxicity of hydroxyl radicals, a glucose-powered therapeutic strategy to kill cancer cells was approached.Cells contain isolated compartments where cascade enzymatic biochemical reactions occur to form essential biological products with high efficiency. Here the authors produce functional hydrogel particles with multiple compartments via microfluidics that contain spatially immobilized natural enzymes in distinct domains for one-pot, tandem reactions.
Project description:Histone modifications in chromatin regulate gene expression. A transcriptional co-repressor complex containing LSD1-CoREST-HDAC1 (termed LCH hereafter for simplicity) represses transcription by coordinately removing histone modifications associated with transcriptional activation. RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) recruits LCH to the promoters of neuron-specific genes, thereby silencing their transcription in non-neuronal tissues. ZNF198 is a member of a family of MYM-type zinc finger proteins that associate with LCH. Here, we show that ZNF198-like proteins are required for the repression of E-cadherin (a gene known to be repressed by LSD1), but not REST-responsive genes. ZNF198 binds preferentially to the intact LCH ternary complex, but not its individual subunits. ZNF198- and REST-binding to the LCH complex are mutually exclusive. ZNF198 associates with chromatin independently of LCH. Furthermore, modification of HDAC1 by small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) in vitro weakens its interaction with CoREST whereas sumoylation of HDAC1 stimulates its binding to ZNF198. Finally, we mapped the LCH- and HDAC1-SUMO-binding domains of ZNF198 to tandem repeats of MYM-type zinc fingers. Therefore, our results suggest that ZNF198, through its multiple protein-protein interaction interfaces, helps to maintain the intact LCH complex on specific, non-REST-responsive promoters and may also prevent SUMO-dependent dissociation of HDAC1.
Project description:Tandem PHD and bromodomains are often found in chromatin-associated proteins and have been shown to cooperate in gene silencing. Each domain can bind specifically modified histones: the mechanisms of cooperation between these domains are unknown. We show that the PHD domain of the KAP1 corepressor functions as an intramolecular E3 ligase for sumoylation of the adjacent bromodomain. The RING finger-like structure of the PHD domain is required for both Ubc9 binding and sumoylation and directs modification to specific lysine residues in the bromodomain. Sumoylation is required for KAP1-mediated gene silencing and functions by directly recruiting the SETDB1 histone methyltransferase and the CHD3/Mi2 component of the NuRD complex via SUMO-interacting motifs. Sumoylated KAP1 stimulates the histone methyltransferase activity of SETDB1. These data provide a mechanistic explanation for the cooperation of PHD and bromodomains in gene regulation and describe a function of the PHD domain as an intramolecular E3 SUMO ligase.
Project description:Histone post-translational modifications occur, not only in the N-terminal tail domains, but also in the core domains. While modifications in the N-terminal tail function largely through the regulation of the binding of non-histone proteins to chromatin, based on their location in the nucleosome, core domain modifications may also function through distinct mechanisms involving structural alterations to the nucleosome. This article reviews the recent developments in regards to these novel histone modifications and discusses their important role in the regulation of chromatin structure.
Project description:The nervous system of higher eukaryotes is composed of numerous types of neurons and glia that together orchestrate complex neuronal responses. However, this complex pool of cells typically poses analytical challenges in investigating gene expression profiles and their epigenetic basis for specific cell types. Here, we developed a novel method that enables cell type-specific analyses of epigenetic modifications using tandem chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (tChIP-Seq). FLAG-tagged histone H2B, a constitutive chromatin component, was first expressed in Camk2a-positive pyramidal cortical neurons and used to purify chromatin in a cell type-specific manner. Subsequent chromatin immunoprecipitation using antibodies against H3K4me3-a chromatin modification mainly associated with active promoters-allowed us to survey the histone modifications in Camk2a-positive neurons. Indeed, tChIP-Seq identified hundreds of H3K4me3 modifications in promoter regions located upstream of genes associated with neuronal functions and genes with unknown functions in cortical neurons. tChIP-Seq provides a versatile approach to investigating the epigenetic modifications of particular cell types in vivo.
Project description:Histone lysine acetylation and methylation have an important role during gene transcription in a chromatin context. Knowledge concerning the types of protein modules that can interact with acetyl-lysine has so far been limited to bromodomains. Recently, a tandem plant homeodomain (PHD) finger (PHD1-PHD2, or PHD12) of human DPF3b, which functions in association with the BAF chromatin remodelling complex to initiate gene transcription during heart and muscle development, was reported to bind histones H3 and H4 in an acetylation-sensitive manner, making it the first alternative to bromodomains for acetyl-lysine binding. Here we report the structural mechanism of acetylated histone binding by the double PHD fingers of DPF3b. Our three-dimensional solution structures and biochemical analysis of DPF3b highlight the molecular basis of the integrated tandem PHD finger, which acts as one functional unit in the sequence-specific recognition of lysine-14-acetylated histone H3 (H3K14ac). Whereas the interaction with H3 is promoted by acetylation at lysine 14, it is inhibited by methylation at lysine 4, and these opposing influences are important during transcriptional activation of the mouse DPF3b target genes Pitx2 and Jmjd1c. Binding of this tandem protein module to chromatin can thus be regulated by different histone modifications during the initiation of gene transcription.