A General TR-FRET Assay Platform for High-Throughput Screening and Characterizing Inhibitors of Methyl-Lysine Reader Proteins.
ABSTRACT: Chromatin regulatory complexes localize to specific sites via recognition of posttranslational modifications (PTMs) on N-terminal tails of histone proteins (e.g., methylation, acetylation, and phosphorylation). Molecular recognition of modified histones is mediated by "reader" protein subunits. The recruited complexes govern processes such as gene transcription, DNA replication, and chromatin remodeling. Dysregulation of histone modifications and consequent downstream effects have been associated with a variety of disease states, leading to an interest in developing small-molecule inhibitors of reader proteins. Herein, we describe a generalized time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay for a panel of methyl-lysine (Kme) reader proteins. These assays are facile, robust, and reproducible. Importantly, this plug-and-play assay can be used for high-throughput screening (HTS) campaigns, generation of structure-activity relationships (SARs), and evaluation of inhibitor selectivity. Successful demonstration of this assay format for compound screening is highlighted with a pilot screen of a focused compound set with CBX2. This assay platform enables the discovery and characterization of chemical probes that can potently and selectively inhibit Kme reader proteins to ultimately accelerate studies of chromatin reader proteins in normal biology and disease states.
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:Lysine methylation facilitates protein-protein interactions through the activity of methyllysine (Kme) "reader" proteins. Functions of Kme readers have historically been studied in the context of histone interactions, where readers aid in chromatin-templated processes such as transcription, DNA replication and repair. However, there is growing evidence that Kme readers also function through interactions with non-histone proteins. To facilitate expanded study of Kme reader activities, we developed a high-throughput binding assay to reveal the sequence determinants of Kme-driven protein interactions. The assay queries a degenerate methylated lysine-oriented peptide library (Kme-OPL) to identify the key residues that modulate reader binding. The assay recapitulated methyl order and amino acid sequence preferences associated with histone Kme readers. The assay also revealed methylated sequences that bound Kme readers with higher affinity than histones. Proteome-wide scoring was applied to assay results to help prioritize future study of Kme reader interactions. The platform was also used to design sequences that directed specificity among closely related reader domains, an application which may have utility in the development of peptidomimetic inhibitors. Furthermore, we used the platform to identify binding determinants of site-specific histone Kme antibodies and surprisingly revealed that only a few amino acids drove epitope recognition. Collectively, these studies introduce and validate a rapid, unbiased, and high-throughput binding assay for Kme readers, and we envision its use as a resource for expanding the study of Kme-driven protein interactions.
Project description: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:We describe the discovery of UNC1215, a potent and selective chemical probe for the methyllysine (Kme) reading function of L3MBTL3, a member of the malignant brain tumor (MBT) family of chromatin-interacting transcriptional repressors. UNC1215 binds L3MBTL3 with a K(d) of 120 nM, competitively displacing mono- or dimethyllysine-containing peptides, and is greater than 50-fold more potent toward L3MBTL3 than other members of the MBT family while also demonstrating selectivity against more than 200 other reader domains examined. X-ray crystallography identified a unique 2:2 polyvalent mode of interaction between UNC1215 and L3MBTL3. In cells, UNC1215 is nontoxic and directly binds L3MBTL3 via the Kme-binding pocket of the MBT domains. UNC1215 increases the cellular mobility of GFP-L3MBTL3 fusion proteins, and point mutants that disrupt the Kme-binding function of GFP-L3MBTL3 phenocopy the effects of UNC1215 on localization. Finally, UNC1215 was used to reveal a new Kme-dependent interaction of L3MBTL3 with BCLAF1, a protein implicated in DNA damage repair and apoptosis.
Project description:Modifications of histone proteins have essential roles in normal development and human disease. Recognition of modified histones by 'reader' proteins is a key mechanism that mediates the function of histone modifications, but how the dysregulation of these readers might contribute to disease remains poorly understood. We previously identified the ENL protein as a reader of histone acetylation via its YEATS domain, linking it to the expression of cancer-driving genes in acute leukaemia1. Recurrent hotspot mutations have been found in the ENL YEATS domain in Wilms tumour2,3, the most common type of paediatric kidney cancer. Here we show, using human and mouse cells, that these mutations impair cell-fate regulation by conferring gain-of-function in chromatin recruitment and transcriptional control. ENL mutants induce gene-expression changes that favour a premalignant cell fate, and, in an assay for nephrogenesis using murine cells, result in undifferentiated structures resembling those observed in human Wilms tumour. Mechanistically, although bound to largely similar genomic loci as the wild-type protein, ENL mutants exhibit increased occupancy at a subset of targets, leading to a marked increase in the recruitment and activity of transcription elongation machinery that enforces active transcription from target loci. Furthermore, ectopically expressed ENL mutants exhibit greater self-association and form discrete and dynamic nuclear puncta that are characteristic of biomolecular hubs consisting of local high concentrations of regulatory factors. Such mutation-driven ENL self-association is functionally linked to enhanced chromatin occupancy and gene activation. Collectively, our findings show that hotspot mutations in a chromatin-reader domain drive self-reinforced recruitment, derailing normal cell-fate control during development and leading to an oncogenic outcome.
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:Expression of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) in filamentous fungi is highly regulated by epigenetic remodeling of chromatin structure. Two classes of histone modifying proteins, writers (which place modifications on histone tails) and erasers (which remove the modifications), have been used extensively to activate cryptic BGCs in fungi. Here, for the first time, we present activation of a cryptic BGC by a third category of histone modifying proteins, reader proteins that recognize histone tail modifications and commonly mediate writer and eraser activity. Loss of the reader SntB (? sntB) resulted in the synthesis of two cryptic cyclic hexa-depsipeptides, aspergillicin A and aspergillicin F, in the fungus Aspergillus flavus. Liquid chromatography, high resolution mass spectrometry, and NMR analysis coupled with bioinformatic analysis and gene deletion experiments revealed that a six adenylation (A) domain nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS, called AgiA) and O-methyltransferase (AgiB) were required for metabolite formation. A proposed biosynthetic scheme illustrates the requirement for unusual NRPS domains, such as a starting condensation domain and a thiolesterase domain proposed to cyclize the depsipeptides. This latter activity has only been found in bacterial but not fungal NRPS. The agi BGC-unique to A. flavus and some closely related species (e.g., A. oryzae, A. arachidicola)-is located next to a conserved Aspergillus siderophore BGC syntenic to other fungi.
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:Site-specific lysine acetylation and methylation on histones are critical post-translational modifications (PTMs) that govern ordered gene transcription in chromatin. Mis-regulation of these histone PTM-mediated processes has been shown to be associated with human diseases. Since the 2010 landmark reports of small molecules (+)-JQ1 and I-BET762 that target the acetyl-lysine 'reader' Bromodomain and Extra Terminal domain (BET) proteins, there have been relentless efforts to develop epigenetic therapy with small molecules to modulate molecular interactions of epigenome reader domain proteins with PTMs. In addition to BET, the other emerging targets include non-BET acetyl-lysine and methyl-lysine reader domains. This review covers the key chemical modulators of the aforementioned epigenome reader proteins.
Project description:Epigenetic regulatory mechanisms are central to the development and survival of all eukaryotic organisms. These mechanisms critically depend on the marking of chromatin domains with distinctive histone tail modifications (PTMs) and their recognition by effector protein complexes. Here we used quantitative proteomic approaches to unveil interactions between PTMs and associated reader protein complexes of Plasmodium falciparum, a unicellular parasite causing malaria. Histone peptide pull-downs with the most prominent and/or parasite-specific PTMs revealed the binding preference for 14 putative and novel reader proteins. Amongst others, they highlighted the acetylation-level-dependent recruitment of the BDP1/BDP2 complex and identified an PhD-finger protein (PHD 1, PF3D7_1008100) that could mediate a cross-talk between H3K4me2/3 and H3K9ac marks. Tagging and interaction proteomics of 12 identified proteins unveiled the composition of 5 major epigenetic complexes, including the elusive TBP-associated-factor complex as well as two distinct GCN5/ADA2 complexes. Furthermore, it has highlighted a remarkable degree of interaction between these five (sub)complexes. Collectively, this study provides an extensive inventory of PTM-reader interactions and composition of epigenetic complexes. It will not only fuel further explorations of gene regulation amongst ancient eukaryotes, but also provides a stepping stone for exploration of PTM-reader interactions for antimalarial drug development.