Independent regulation of gene expression level and noise by histone modifications.
ABSTRACT: The inherent stochasticity generates substantial gene expression variation among isogenic cells under identical conditions, which is frequently referred to as gene expression noise or cell-to-cell expression variability. Similar to (average) expression level, expression noise is also subject to natural selection. Yet it has been observed that noise is negatively correlated with expression level, which manifests as a potential constraint for simultaneous optimization of both. Here, we studied expression noise in human embryonic cells with computational analysis on single-cell RNA-seq data and in yeast with flow cytometry experiments. We showed that this coupling is overcome, to a certain degree, by a histone modification strategy in multiple embryonic developmental stages in human, as well as in yeast. Importantly, this epigenetic strategy could fit into a burst-like gene expression model: promoter-localized histone modifications (such as H3K4 methylation) are associated with both burst size and burst frequency, which together influence expression level, while gene-body-localized ones (such as H3K79 methylation) are more associated with burst frequency, which influences both expression level and noise. We further knocked out the only "writer" of H3K79 methylation in yeast, and observed that expression noise is indeed increased. Consistently, dosage sensitive genes, such as genes in the Wnt signaling pathway, tend to be marked with gene-body-localized histone modifications, while stress responding genes, such as genes regulating autophagy, tend to be marked with promoter-localized ones. Our findings elucidate that the "division of labor" among histone modifications facilitates the independent regulation of expression level and noise, extend the "histone code" hypothesis to include expression noise, and shed light on the optimization of transcriptome in evolution.
Project description:Post-translational modifications of histone proteins have a crucial role in regulating gene expression. If efficiently re-established after chromosome duplication, histone modifications could help propagate gene expression patterns in dividing cells by epigenetic mechanisms. We used an integrated approach to investigate the dynamics of the conserved methylation of histone H3 Lys 79 (H3K79) by Dot1. Our results show that methylation of H3K79 progressively changes after histone deposition, which is incompatible with a rapid copy mechanism. Instead, methylation accumulates on ageing histones, providing the cell with a timer mechanism to directly couple cell-cycle length to changes in chromatin modification on the nucleosome core.
Project description:Epigenetic marks such as histone modifications play roles in various chromosome dynamics in mitosis and meiosis. Methylation of histones H3 at positions K4 and K79 is involved in the initiation of recombination and the recombination checkpoint, respectively, during meiosis in the budding yeast. Set1 promotes H3K4 methylation while Dot1 promotes H3K79 methylation. In this study, we carried out detailed analyses of meiosis in mutants of the SET1 and DOT1 genes as well as methylation-defective mutants of histone H3. We confirmed the role of Set1-dependent H3K4 methylation in the formation of double-strand breaks (DSBs) in meiosis for the initiation of meiotic recombination, and we showed the involvement of Dot1 (H3K79 methylation) in DSB formation in the absence of Set1-dependent H3K4 methylation. In addition, we showed that the histone H3K4 methylation-defective mutants are defective in SC elongation, although they seem to have moderate reduction of DSBs. This suggests that high levels of DSBs mediated by histone H3K4 methylation promote SC elongation.
Project description:The vitamin folate is required for methionine homeostasis in all organisms. In addition to its role in protein synthesis, methionine is the precursor to S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM), which is used in myriad cellular methylation reactions, including all histone methylation reactions. Here, we demonstrate that folate and methionine deficiency led to reduced methylation of lysine 4 of histone H3 (H3K4) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The effect of nutritional deficiency on H3K79 methylation was less pronounced, but was exacerbated in S. cerevisiae carrying a hypomorphic allele of Dot1, the enzyme responsible for H3K79 methylation. This result suggested a hierarchy of epigenetic modifications in terms of their susceptibility to nutritional limitations. Folate deficiency caused changes in gene transcription that mirrored the effect of complete loss of H3K4 methylation. Histone methylation was also found to respond to nutritional deficiency in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and in human cells in culture.
Project description:The conserved histone methyltransferase Dot1 establishes an H3K79 methylation pattern consisting of mono-, di- and trimethylation states on histone H3 via a distributive mechanism. This mechanism has been shown to be important for the regulation of the different H3K79 methylation states in yeast. Dot1 enzymes in yeast, Trypanosoma brucei (TbDot1A and TbDot1B, which methylate H3K76) and human (hDot1L) generate very divergent methylation patterns. To understand how these species-specific methylation patterns are generated, the methylation output of the Dot1 enzymes was compared by expressing them in yeast at various expression levels. Computational simulations based on these data showed that the Dot1 enzymes have highly distinct catalytic properties, but share a distributive mechanism. The mechanism of methylation and the distinct rate constants have implications for the regulation of H3K79/K76 methylation. A mathematical model of H3K76 methylation during the trypanosome cell cycle suggests that temporally-regulated consecutive action of TbDot1A and TbDot1B is required for the observed regulation of H3K76 methylation states.
Project description:H2B monoubiquitylation (H2Bub1), which is required for multiple methylations of both H3K4 and H3K79, has been implicated in gene expression in numerous organisms ranging from yeast to human. However, the molecular crosstalk between H2Bub1 and other modifications, especially the methylations of H3K4 and H3K79, remains unclear in vertebrates. To better understand the functional role of H2Bub1, we measured genome-wide histone modification patterns in human cells. Our results suggest that H2Bub1 has dual roles, one that is H3 methylation dependent, and another that is H3 methylation independent. First, H2Bub1 is a 5'-enriched active transcription mark and co-occupies with H3K79 methylations in actively transcribed regions. Second, this study shows for the first time that H2Bub1 plays a histone H3 methylations-independent role in chromatin architecture. Furthermore, the results of this work indicate that H2Bub1 is largely positioned at the exon-intron boundaries of highly expressed exons, and it demonstrates increased occupancy in skipped exons compared with flanking exons in the human and mouse genomes. Our findings collectively suggest that a potentiating mechanism links H2Bub1 to both H3K79 methylations in actively transcribed regions and the exon-intron structure of highly expressed exons via the regulation of nucleosome dynamics during transcription elongation.
Project description:DOT1L methylates histone H3K79 and is aberrantly regulated in MLL-rearranged leukemia. Inhibitors have been developed to target DOT1L activity in leukemia, but cellular mechanisms that regulate DOT1L are still poorly understood. We have identified the histone deacetylase Rpd3 as a negative regulator of budding yeast Dot1. At its target genes, the transcriptional repressor Rpd3 restricts H3K79 methylation, explaining the absence of H3K79me3 at a subset of genes in the yeast genome. Similar to the crosstalk in yeast, inactivation of the murine Rpd3 homolog HDAC1 in thymocytes led to an increase in H3K79 methylation. Thymic lymphomas that arise upon genetic deletion of Hdac1 retained the increased H3K79 methylation and were sensitive to reduced DOT1L dosage. Furthermore, cell lines derived from Hdac1Δ/Δ thymic lymphomas were sensitive to a DOT1L inhibitor, which induced apoptosis. In summary, we identified an evolutionarily conserved crosstalk between HDAC1 and DOT1L with impact in murine thymic lymphoma development.
Project description:Influenza virus stablishes a network of virus-host functional interactions, which depends on chromatin dynamic and therefore on epigenetic modifications. Using an unbiased search, we analyzed the epigenetic changes at DNA methylation and post-translational histone modification levels induced by the infection. DNA methylation was unaltered, while we found a general decrease on histone acetylation, which correlates with transcriptional inactivation and may cooperate with the impairment of cellular transcription that causes influenza virus infection. A particular increase in H3K79 methylation was observed and the use of an inhibitor of the specific H3K79 methylase, Dot1L enzyme, or its silencing, increased influenza virus replication. The antiviral response was reduced in conditions of Dot1L downregulation, since decreased nuclear translocation of NF-kB complex, and IFN-?, Mx1 and ISG56 expression was detected. The data suggested a control of antiviral signaling by methylation of H3K79 and consequently, influenza virus replication was unaffected in IFN pathway-compromised, Dot1L-inhibited cells. H3K79 methylation also controlled replication of another potent interferon-inducing virus such as vesicular stomatitis virus, but did not modify amplification of respiratory syncytial virus that poorly induces interferon signaling. Epigenetic methylation of H3K79 might have an important role in controlling interferon-induced signaling against viral pathogens.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Methylation of histone H3 lysine 79 (H3K79) by Dot1 is highly conserved among species and has been associated with both gene repression and activation. To eliminate indirect effects and examine the direct consequences of Dot1 binding and H3K79 methylation, we investigated the effects of targeting Dot1 to different positions in the yeast genome. RESULTS: Targeting Dot1 did not activate transcription at a euchromatic locus. However, chromatin-bound Dot1 derepressed heterochromatin-mediated gene silencing over a considerable distance. Unexpectedly, Dot1-mediated derepression was established by both a H3K79 methylation-dependent and a methylation-independent mechanism; the latter required the histone acetyltransferase Gcn5. By monitoring the localization of a fluorescently tagged telomere in living cells, we found that the targeting of Dot1, but not its methylation activity, led to the release of a telomere from the repressive environment at the nuclear periphery. This probably contributes to the activity-independent derepression effect of Dot1. CONCLUSIONS: Targeting of Dot1 promoted gene expression by antagonizing gene repression through both histone methylation and chromatin relocalization. Our findings show that binding of Dot1 to chromatin can positively affect local gene expression by chromatin rearrangements over a considerable distance.
Project description:Brain development is a complex process, which is controlled in a temporo-spatial manner by gradients of morphogens and different transcriptional programs. Additionally, epigenetic chromatin modifications, like histone methylation, have an important role for establishing and maintaining specific cell fates within this process. The vast majority of histone methylation occurs on the flexible histone tail, which is accessible to histone modifiers, erasers, and histone reader proteins. In contrast, H3K79 methylation is located in the globular domain of histone 3 and is implicated in different developmental functions. H3K79 methylation is evolutionarily conserved and can be found in a wide range of species from Homo sapiens to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The modification occurs in different cell populations within organisms, including neural progenitors. The location of H3K79 methylation in the globular domain of histone 3 makes it difficult to assess. Here, we present methods to isolate and culture cortical progenitor cells (CPCs) from embryonic cortical brain tissue (E11.5-E14.5) or cerebellar granular neuron progenitors (CGNPs) from postnatal tissue (P5-P7), and to efficiently immunoprecipitate H3K79me2 for quantitative PCR (qPCR) and genome-wide sequencing.
Project description:Methylation of histone 3 on lysine 79 (H3K79) is broadly associated with active gene expression in eukaryotes, and the H3K79 methyltransferase DOT1L is indispensable for specific leukemia subtypes like those with MLL-translocations. We found that suppression of the histone deacetylase SIRT1 rescued MLL-AF9 leukemia cells from their dependence on DOT1L. We show that upon DOT1L inhibition, SIRT1 is required for the acquisition of a repressive chromatin state consistent with facultative heterochromatin around MLL-AF9 target genes in leukemia and other genes possess an H3K79me2(hi), H3K9ac(hi), H3K9me2(low) histone modification profile in normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Examination of histone modifications and a chromatin modifier with and without drug treatment and RNA interference.