Reading More than Histones: The Prevalence of Nucleic Acid Binding among Reader Domains.
ABSTRACT: The eukaryotic genome is packaged into the cell nucleus in the form of chromatin, a complex of genomic DNA and histone proteins. Chromatin structure regulation is critical for all DNA templated processes and involves, among many things, extensive post-translational modification of the histone proteins. These modifications can be "read out" by histone binding subdomains known as histone reader domains. A large number of reader domains have been identified and found to selectively recognize an array of histone post-translational modifications in order to target, retain, or regulate chromatin-modifying and remodeling complexes at their substrates. Interestingly, an increasing number of these histone reader domains are being identified as also harboring nucleic acid binding activity. In this review, we present a summary of the histone reader domains currently known to bind nucleic acids, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms of binding and the interplay between DNA and histone recognition. Additionally, we highlight the functional implications of nucleic acid binding in chromatin association and regulation. We propose that nucleic acid binding is as functionally important as histone binding, and that a significant portion of the as yet untested reader domains will emerge to have nucleic acid binding capabilities.
Project description:Chromatin plays an important role in gene transcription control, cell cycle progression, recombination, DNA replication and repair. The fundamental unit of chromatin, the nucleosome, is formed by a DNA duplex wrapped around an octamer of histones. Histones are susceptible to various post-translational modifications, covalent alterations that change the chromatin status. Lysine methylation is one of the major post-translational modifications involved in the regulation of chromatin function. The PWWP domain is a member of the Royal superfamily that functions as a chromatin methylation reader by recognizing both DNA and histone methylated lysines. The PWWP domain three-dimensional structure is based on an N-terminal hydrophobic ?-barrel responsible for histone methyl-lysine binding, and a C-terminal ?-helical domain. In this review, we set out to discuss the most recent literature on PWWP domains, focusing on their structural features and the mechanisms by which they specifically recognize DNA and histone methylated lysines at the level of the nucleosome.
Project description:Histone post-translational modifications contribute to chromatin function largely through the recruitment of effector proteins that contain specialized "reader" domains. While a significant number of reader domains have been characterized for their histone binding specificities, many of these domains remain poorly characterized. Peptide microarrays have been widely employed for the characterization of histone readers, as well as modifying enzymes and histone antibodies. While powerful, this platform has limitations in terms of its sensitivity and they frequently miss low affinity reader domain interactions. Here, we provide several technical changes that improve reader domain detection of low-affinity interactions. We show that 1% non-fat milk in 1X PBST as the blocking reagent during incubation improved reader-domain interaction results. Further, coupling this with post-binding high-salt washes and a brief, low-percentage formaldehyde cross-linking step prior to the high-salt washes provided the optimal balance between resolving specific low-affinity interactions and minimizing background or spurious signals. We expect this improved methodology will lead to the elucidation of previously unreported reader-histone interactions that will be important for chromatin function.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>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.<h4>Results</h4>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.<h4>Conclusions</h4>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:Chromatin structure and function, and consequently cellular phenotype, is regulated in part by a network of chromatin-modifying enzymes that place post-translational modifications (PTMs) on histone tails. These marks serve as recruitment sites for other chromatin regulatory complexes that 'read' these PTMs. High-quality chemical probes that can block reader functions of proteins involved in chromatin regulation are important tools to improve our understanding of pathways involved in chromatin dynamics. Insight into the intricate system of chromatin PTMs and their context within the epigenome is also therapeutically important as misregulation of this complex system is implicated in numerous human diseases. Using computational methods, along with structure-based knowledge, we have designed and constructed a focused DNA-Encoded Library (DEL) containing approximately 60,000 compounds targeting bi-valent methyl-lysine (Kme) reader domains. Additionally, we have constructed DNA-barcoded control compounds to allow optimization of selection conditions using a model Kme reader domain. We anticipate that this target-class focused approach will serve as a new method for rapid discovery of inhibitors for multivalent chromatin reader domains.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plant homeodomain (PHD) fingers are central "readers" of histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) with >?100 PHD finger-containing proteins encoded by the human genome. Many of the PHDs studied to date bind to unmodified or methylated states of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4). Additionally, many of these domains, and the proteins they are contained in, have crucial roles in the regulation of gene expression and cancer development. Despite this, the majority of PHD fingers have gone uncharacterized; thus, our understanding of how these domains contribute to chromatin biology remains incomplete. RESULTS:We expressed and screened 123 of the annotated human PHD fingers for their histone binding preferences using reader domain microarrays. A subset (31) of these domains showed strong preference for the H3 N-terminal tail either unmodified or methylated at H3K4. These H3 readers were further characterized by histone peptide microarrays and/or AlphaScreen to comprehensively define their H3 preferences and PTM cross-talk. CONCLUSIONS:The high-throughput approaches utilized in this study establish a compendium of binding information for the PHD reader family with regard to how they engage histone PTMs and uncover several novel reader domain-histone PTM interactions (i.e., PHRF1 and TRIM66). This study highlights the usefulness of high-throughput analyses of histone reader proteins as a means of understanding how chromatin engagement occurs biochemically.
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:Bromodomain-containing proteins are often part of chromatin-modifying complexes, and their activity can lead to altered expression of genes that drive cancer, inflammation and neurological disorders in humans. Bromodomain-PHD finger protein 1 (BRPF1) is part of the MOZ (monocytic leukemic zinc-finger protein) HAT (histone acetyltransferase) complex, which is associated with chromosomal translocations known to contribute to the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). BRPF1 contains a unique combination of chromatin reader domains including two plant homeodomain (PHD) fingers separated by a zinc knuckle (PZP domain), a bromodomain, and a proline-tryptophan-tryptophan-proline (PWWP) domain. BRPF1 is known to recruit the MOZ HAT complex to chromatin by recognizing acetylated lysine residues on the N-terminal histone tail region through its bromodomain. However, histone proteins can contain several acetylation modifications on their N-terminus, and it is unknown how additional marks influence bromodomain recruitment to chromatin. Here, we identify the BRPF1 bromodomain as a selective reader of di-acetyllysine modifications on histone H4. We used ITC assays to characterize the binding of di-acetylated histone ligands to the BRPF1 bromodomain and found that the domain binds preferentially to histone peptides H4K5acK8ac and H4K5acK12ac. Analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) experiments revealed that the monomeric state of the BRPF1 bromodomain coordinates di-acetylated histone ligands. NMR chemical shift perturbation studies, along with binding and mutational analyses, revealed non-canonical regions of the bromodomain-binding pocket that are important for histone tail recognition. Together, our findings provide critical information on how the combinatorial action of post-translational modifications can modulate BRPF1 bromodomain binding and specificity.
Project description:Elucidation of interactions involving DNA and histone post-translational-modifications (PTMs) is essential for providing insights into complex biological functions. Reader assemblies connected by flexible linkages facilitate avidity and increase affinity; however, little is known about the contribution to the recognition process of multiple PTMs because of rigidity in the absence of conformational flexibility. Here, we resolve the crystal structure of the triple reader module (PHD-BRD-PWWP) of ZMYND8, which forms a stable unit capable of simultaneously recognizing multiple histone PTMs while presenting a charged platform for association with DNA. Single domain disruptions destroy the functional network of interactions initiated by ZMYND8, impairing recruitment to sites of DNA damage. Our data establish a proof of principle that rigidity can be compensated by concomitant DNA and histone PTM interactions, maintaining multivalent engagement of transient chromatin states. Thus, our findings demonstrate an important role for rigid multivalent reader modules in nucleosome binding and chromatin function.
Project description:Histones comprise the major protein component of chromatin, the scaffold in which the eukaryotic genome is packaged, and are subject to many types of post-translational modifications (PTMs), especially on their flexible tails. These modifications may constitute a 'histone code' and could be used to manage epigenetic information that helps extend the genetic message beyond DNA sequences. This proposed code, read in part by histone PTM-binding 'effector' modules and their associated complexes, is predicted to define unique functional states of chromatin and/or regulate various chromatin-templated processes. A wealth of structural and functional data show how chromatin effector modules target their cognate covalent histone modifications. Here we summarize key features in molecular recognition of histone PTMs by a diverse family of 'reader pockets', highlighting specific readout mechanisms for individual marks, common themes and insights into the downstream functional consequences of the interactions. Changes in these interactions may have far-reaching implications for human biology and disease, notably cancer.
Project description:Histone tail peptides comprise the flexible portion of chromatin, the substance which serves as the packaging for the eukaryotic genome. According to the histone code hypothesis, reader protein domains (chromodomains) can recognize modifications of amino acid residues within these peptides, regulating the expression of genes. We have performed simulations on models of chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 1 complexed with a variety of histone H3 modifications. Binding free energies for both the overall complexes and the individual residues within the protein and peptides were computed with molecular mechanics-generalized Born surface area. The simulation results agree well with experimental data and identify several chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 1 residues that play key roles in the interaction with each of the H3 modifications. We identified one class of protein residues that bind to H3 in all of the complexes (generally interacting hydrophobically), and a second class of residues that bind only to particular H3 modifications (generally interacting electrostatically). Additionally, we found that modifications of H3R2 and H3T3 have a dominant effect on the binding affinity; methylation of H3K4 has little effect on the interaction strength when H3R2 or H3T3 is modified. Our findings with regard to the specificity shown by the latter class of protein residues in their binding affinity to certain modifications of H3 support the histone code hypothesis.