Single-Cell Quantification of Cytosine Modifications by Hyperspectral Dark-Field Imaging.
ABSTRACT: Epigenetic modifications on DNA, especially on cytosine, play a critical role in regulating gene expression and genome stability. It is known that the levels of different cytosine derivatives are highly dynamic and are regulated by a variety of factors that act on the chromatin. Here we report an optical methodology based on hyperspectral dark-field imaging (HSDFI) using plasmonic nanoprobes to quantify the recently identified cytosine modifications on DNA in single cells. Gold (Au) and silver (Ag) nanoparticles (NPs) functionalized with specific antibodies were used as contrast-generating agents due to their strong local surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) properties. With this powerful platform we have revealed the spatial distribution and quantity of 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC) at the different stages in cell cycle and demonstrated that 5caC was a stably inherited epigenetic mark. We have also shown that the regional density of 5caC on a single chromosome can be mapped due to the spectral sensitivity of the nanoprobes in relation to the interparticle distance. Notably, HSDFI enables an efficient removal of the scattering noises from nonspecifically aggregated nanoprobes, to improve accuracy in the quantification of different cytosine modifications in single cells. Further, by separating the LSPR fingerprints of AuNPs and AgNPs, multiplex detection of two cytosine modifications was also performed. Our results demonstrate HSDFI as a versatile platform for spatial and spectroscopic characterization of plasmonic nanoprobe-labeled nuclear targets at the single-cell level for quantitative epigenetic screening.
Project description:The prevalent DNA modification in higher organisms is the methylation of cytosine to 5-methylcytosine (5mC), which is partially converted to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) by the Tet (ten eleven translocation) family of dioxygenases. Despite their importance in epigenetic regulation, it is unclear how these cytosine modifications are reversed. Here, we demonstrate that 5mC and 5hmC in DNA are oxidized to 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC) by Tet dioxygenases in vitro and in cultured cells. 5caC is specifically recognized and excised by thymine-DNA glycosylase (TDG). Depletion of TDG in mouse embyronic stem cells leads to accumulation of 5caC to a readily detectable level. These data suggest that oxidation of 5mC by Tet proteins followed by TDG-mediated base excision of 5caC constitutes a pathway for active DNA demethylation.
Project description:The dynamic DNA methylation-demethylation process plays critical roles in gene expression control and cell development. The oxidation derivatives of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) generated by Tet dioxygenases in the demethylation pathway, namely 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC), and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC), could impact biological functions by altering DNA properties or recognition by potential reader proteins. Hence, in addition to the fifth base 5mC, 5hmC, 5fC, and 5caC have been considered as the sixth, seventh, and eighth bases of the genome. How these modifications would alter DNA and be specifically recognized remain unclear, however. Here we report that formyl- and carboxyl-modifications on cytosine induce the geometry alteration of the DNA minor groove by solving two high-resolution structures of a dsDNA decamer containing fully symmetric 5fC and 5caC. The alterations are recognized distinctively by thymine DNA glycosylase TDG via its finger residue R275, followed by subsequent preferential base excision and DNA repair. These observations suggest a mechanism by which reader proteins distinguish highly similar cytosine modifications for potential differential demethylation in order to achieve downstream biological functions.
Project description:DNA methylation at selective cytosine residues (5-methylcytosine (5mC)) and their removal by TET-mediated DNA demethylation are critical for setting up pluripotent states in early embryonic development. TET enzymes successively convert 5mC to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC), and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC), with 5fC and 5caC subject to removal by thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) in conjunction with base excision repair. Early reports indicate that 5fC and 5caC could be stably detected on enhancers, promoters and gene bodies, with distinct effects on gene expression, but the mechanisms have remained elusive. Here we determined the X-ray crystal structure of yeast elongating RNA polymerase II (Pol II) in complex with a DNA template containing oxidized 5mCs, revealing specific hydrogen bonds between the 5-carboxyl group of 5caC and the conserved epi-DNA recognition loop in the polymerase. This causes a positional shift for incoming nucleoside 5'-triphosphate (NTP), thus compromising nucleotide addition. To test the implication of this structural insight in vivo, we determined the global effect of increased 5fC/5caC levels on transcription, finding that such DNA modifications indeed retarded Pol II elongation on gene bodies. These results demonstrate the functional impact of oxidized 5mCs on gene expression and suggest a novel role for Pol II as a specific and direct epigenetic sensor during transcription elongation.
Project description:DNA cytosine methylation is a key epigenetic mark that is required for normal mammalian development. Iterative oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) by the TET family of DNA dioxygenases generates three oxidized nucleotides: 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC). Recent advances in genomic mapping techniques have suggested that these oxidized cytosines not only function in the process of active reversal of 5mC but also may possess unique regulatory functions in the mammalian genome.
Project description:Cytosine DNA bases can be methylated by DNA methyltransferases and subsequently oxidized by TET proteins. The resulting 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC), and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC) are considered demethylation intermediates as well as stable epigenetic marks. To dissect the contributions of these cytosine modifying enzymes, we generated combinations of Tet knockout (KO) embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and systematically measured protein and DNA modification levels at the transition from naive to primed pluripotency. Whereas the increase of genomic 5-methylcytosine (5mC) levels during exit from pluripotency correlated with an upregulation of the de novo DNA methyltransferases DNMT3A and DNMT3B, the subsequent oxidation steps turned out to be far more complex. The strong increase of oxidized cytosine bases (5hmC, 5fC, and 5caC) was accompanied by a drop in TET2 levels, yet the analysis of KO cells suggested that TET2 is responsible for most 5fC formation. The comparison of modified cytosine and enzyme levels in Tet KO cells revealed distinct and differentiation-dependent contributions of TET1 and TET2 to 5hmC and 5fC formation arguing against a processive mechanism of 5mC oxidation. The apparent independent steps of 5hmC and 5fC formation suggest yet to be identified mechanisms regulating TET activity that may constitute another layer of epigenetic regulation.
Project description:DNA methylation at the C-5 position of cytosine (5mC) is one of the best-studied epigenetic modifications and plays important roles in diverse biological processes. Iterative oxidation of 5mC by the ten-eleven translocation (Tet) family of proteins generates 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC), and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC). 5fC and 5caC are selectively recognized and excised by thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG), leading to DNA demethylation. Functional characterization of Tet proteins has been complicated by the redundancy between the three family members. Using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, we generated mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) deficient for all three Tet proteins (Tet triple knockout [TKO]). Whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) analysis revealed that Tet-mediated DNA demethylation mainly occurs at distally located enhancers and fine-tunes the transcription of genes associated with these regions. Functional characterization of Tet TKO ESCs revealed a role for Tet proteins in regulating the two-cell embryo (2C)-like state under ESC culture conditions. In addition, Tet TKO ESCs exhibited increased telomere-sister chromatid exchange and elongated telomeres. Collectively, our study reveals a role for Tet proteins in not only DNA demethylation at enhancers but also regulating the 2C-like state and telomere homeostasis.
Project description:Active DNA demethylation in mammals involves TET-mediated iterative oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC)/5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) and subsequent excision repair of highly oxidized cytosine bases 5-formylcytosine (5fC)/5-carboxylcytosine (5caC) by thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG). However, quantitative and high-resolution analysis of active DNA demethylation activity remains challenging. Here, we describe M.SssI methylase-assisted bisulfite sequencing (MAB-seq), a method that directly maps 5fC/5caC at single-base resolution. Genome-wide MAB-seq allows systematic identification of 5fC/5caC in Tdg-depleted embryonic stem cells, thereby generating a base-resolution map of active DNA demethylome. A comparison of 5fC/5caC and 5hmC distribution maps indicates that catalytic processivity of TET enzymes correlates with local chromatin accessibility. MAB-seq also reveals strong strand asymmetry of active demethylation within palindromic CpGs. Integrating MAB-seq with other base-resolution mapping methods enables quantitative measurement of cytosine modification states at key transitioning steps of the active DNA demethylation cascade and reveals a regulatory role of 5fC/5caC excision repair in this step-wise process.
Project description:DNA methylation in the form of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) is a key epigenetic regulator in mammals, and the dynamic balance between methylation and demethylation impacts various processes from development to disease. The recent discovery of the enzymatic generation and removal of the oxidized derivatives of 5mC, namely 5-hydroxymethylcysotine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC), and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC) in mammalian cells has led to a paradigm shift in our understanding of the demethylation process. Interestingly, emerging evidence indicates that these DNA demethylation intermediates are dynamic and could themselves carry regulatory functions. Here, we discuss 5hmC, 5fC, and 5caC as new epigenetic DNA modifications that could have distinct regulatory functions in conjunction with potential protein partners.
Project description:The identification and discrimination of four epigenetic modifications to cytosine in the proposed active demethylation cycle is demonstrated at the single-molecule level, without the need for chemical pretreatment or labeling. The wild-type protein nanopore ?-hemolysin is used to capture individual DNA duplexes containing a single cytosine-cytosine mismatch. The mismatch is held at the latch constriction of ?-hemolysin, which is used to monitor the kinetics of base-flipping at the mismatch site. Base-flipping and the subsequent interactions between the DNA and the protein are dramatically altered when one of the cytosine bases is replaced with methyl-, hydroxymethyl-, formyl-, or carboxylcytosine. As well as providing a route to single-molecule analysis of important epigenetic markers in DNA, our results provide important insights into how the introduction of biologically relevant, but poorly understood, modifications to cytosine affect the local conformational dynamics of a DNA duplex in a confined environment.
Project description:Human thymine DNA glycosylase (hTDG) efficiently excises 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC), a key oxidation product of 5-methylcytosine in genomic DNA, in a recently discovered cytosine demethylation pathway. We present here the crystal structures of the hTDG catalytic domain in complex with duplex DNA containing either 5caC or a fluorinated analog. These structures, together with biochemical and computational analyses, reveal that 5caC is specifically recognized in the active site of hTDG, supporting the role of TDG in mammalian 5-methylcytosine demethylation.