Characterization of the plant homeodomain (PHD) reader family for their histone tail interactions.
ABSTRACT: 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:Recognition of modified histone species by distinct structural domains within 'reader' proteins plays a critical role in the regulation of gene expression. Readers that simultaneously recognize histones with multiple marks allow transduction of complex chromatin modification patterns into specific biological outcomes. Here we report that chromatin regulator tripartite motif-containing 24 (TRIM24) functions in humans as a reader of dual histone marks by means of tandem plant homeodomain (PHD) and bromodomain (Bromo) regions. The three-dimensional structure of the PHD-Bromo region of TRIM24 revealed a single functional unit for combinatorial recognition of unmodified H3K4 (that is, histone H3 unmodified at lysine 4, H3K4me0) and acetylated H3K23 (histone H3 acetylated at lysine 23, H3K23ac) within the same histone tail. TRIM24 binds chromatin and oestrogen receptor to activate oestrogen-dependent genes associated with cellular proliferation and tumour development. Aberrant expression of TRIM24 negatively correlates with survival of breast cancer patients. The PHD-Bromo of TRIM24 provides a structural rationale for chromatin activation through a non-canonical histone signature, establishing a new route by which chromatin readers may influence cancer pathogenesis.
Project description:Plant homeodomain (PHD) finger-containing proteins are implicated in fundamental biological processes, including transcriptional activation and repression, DNA damage repair, cell differentiation, and survival. The PHD finger functions as an epigenetic reader that binds to posttranslationally modified or unmodified histone H3 tails, recruiting catalytic writers and erasers and other components of the epigenetic machinery to chromatin. Despite the critical role of the histone-PHD interaction in normal and pathological processes, selective inhibitors of this association have not been well developed. Here we demonstrate that macrocyclic calixarenes can disrupt binding of PHD fingers to methylated lysine 4 of histone H3 in vitro and in vivo. The inhibitory activity relies on differences in binding affinities of the PHD fingers for H3K4me and the methylation state of the histone ligand, whereas the composition of the aromatic H3K4me-binding site of the PHD fingers appears to have no effect. Our approach provides a novel tool for studying the biological roles of methyllysine readers in epigenetic signaling.
Project description:The chromodomain, helicase, DNA-binding protein 5 (CHD5) is a chromatin remodeling enzyme which is implicated in tumor suppression. In this study, we demonstrate the ability of the CHD5 PHD fingers to specifically recognize the unmodified N-terminus of histone H3. We use two distinct modified peptide-library platforms (beads and glass slides) to determine the detailed histone binding preferences of PHD(1) and PHD(2) alone and the tandem PHD(1-2) construct. Both domains displayed similar binding preferences for histone H3, where modification (e.g., methylation, acetylation, and phosphorylation) at H3R2, H3K4, H3T3, H3T6, and H3S10 disrupts high-affinity binding, and the three most N-terminal amino acids (ART) are crucial for binding. The tandem CHD5-PHD(1-2) displayed similar preferences to those displayed by each PHD finger alone. Using NMR, surface plasmon resonance, and two novel biochemical assays, we demonstrate that CHD5-PHD(1-2) simultaneously engages two H3 N-termini and results in a 4-11-fold increase in affinity compared with either PHD finger alone. These studies provide biochemical evidence for the utility of tandem PHD fingers to recruit protein complexes at targeted genomic loci and provide the framework for understanding how multiple chromatin-binding modules function to interpret the combinatorial PTM capacity written in chromatin.
Project description:Plant homeodomain (PHD) fingers are often present in chromatin-binding proteins and have been shown to bind histone H3 N-terminal tails. Mutations in the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) protein, which harbours two PHD fingers, cause a rare monogenic disease, autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED). AIRE activates the expression of tissue-specific antigens by directly binding through its first PHD finger (AIRE-PHD1) to histone H3 tails non-methylated at K4 (H3K4me0). Here, we present the solution structure of AIRE-PHD1 in complex with H3K4me0 peptide and show that AIRE-PHD1 is a highly specialized non-modified histone H3 tail reader, as post-translational modifications of the first 10 histone H3 residues reduce binding affinity. In particular, H3R2 dimethylation abrogates AIRE-PHD1 binding in vitro and reduces the in vivo activation of AIRE target genes in HEK293 cells. The observed antagonism by R2 methylation on AIRE-PHD1 binding is unique among the H3K4me0 histone readers and represents the first case of epigenetic negative cross-talk between non-methylated H3K4 and methylated H3R2. Collectively, our results point to a very specific histone code responsible for non-modified H3 tail recognition by AIRE-PHD1 and describe at atomic level one crucial step in the molecular mechanism responsible for antigen expression in the thymus.
Project description:Plant homeodomain (PHD) zinc fingers are histone reader domains that are often associated with human diseases. Despite this, they constitute a poorly targeted class of readers, suggesting low ligandability. Here, we describe a successful fragment-based campaign targeting PHD fingers from the proteins BAZ2A and BAZ2B as model systems. We validated a pool of in silico fragments both biophysically and structurally and solved the first crystal structures of PHD zinc fingers in complex with fragments bound to an anchoring pocket at the histone binding site. The best-validated hits were found to displace a histone H3 tail peptide in competition assays. This work identifies new chemical scaffolds that provide suitable starting points for future ligand optimization using structure-guided approaches. The demonstrated ligandability of the PHD reader domains could pave the way for the development of chemical probes to drug this family of epigenetic readers.
Project description:The plant homeodomain (PHD) fingers are among the largest family of epigenetic domains, first characterized as readers of methylated H3K4. Readout of histone post-translational modifications by PHDs has been the subject of intense investigation; however, less is known about the recognition of secondary structure features within the histone tail itself. We solved the crystal structure of the PHD finger of the bromodomain adjacent to zinc finger 2A [BAZ2A, also known as TIP5 (TTF-I/interacting protein 5)] in complex with unmodified N-terminal histone H3 tail. The peptide is bound in a helical folded-back conformation after K4, induced by an acidic patch on the protein surface that prevents peptide binding in an extended conformation. Structural bioinformatics analyses identify a conserved Asp/Glu residue that we name 'acidic wall', found to be mutually exclusive with the conserved Trp for K4Me recognition. Neutralization or inversion of the charges at the acidic wall patch in BAZ2A, and homologous BAZ2B, weakened H3 binding. We identify simple mutations on H3 that strikingly enhance or reduce binding, as a result of their stabilization or destabilization of H3 helicity. Our work unravels the structural basis for binding of the helical H3 tail by PHD fingers and suggests that molecular recognition of secondary structure motifs within histone tails could represent an additional layer of regulation in epigenetic processes.
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:Histone methylation is crucial for regulating chromatin structure, gene transcription and the epigenetic state of the cell. LSD1 is a lysine-specific histone demethylase that represses transcription by demethylating histone H3 on lysine 4 (ref. 1). The LSD1 complex contains a number of proteins, all of which have been assigned roles in events upstream of LSD1-mediated demethylation apart from BHC80 (also known as PHF21A), a plant homeodomain (PHD) finger-containing protein. Here we report that, in contrast to the PHD fingers of the bromodomain PHD finger transcription factor (BPTF) and inhibitor of growth family 2 (ING2), which bind methylated H3K4 (H3K4me3), the PHD finger of BHC80 binds unmethylated H3K4 (H3K4me0), and this interaction is specifically abrogated by methylation of H3K4. The crystal structure of the PHD finger of BHC80 bound to an unmodified H3 peptide has revealed the structural basis of the recognition of H3K4me0. Knockdown of BHC80 by RNA inhibition results in the de-repression of LSD1 target genes, and this repression is restored by the reintroduction of wild-type BHC80 but not by a PHD-finger mutant that cannot bind H3. Chromatin immunoprecipitation showed that BHC80 and LSD1 depend reciprocally on one another to associate with chromatin. These findings couple the function of BHC80 to that of LSD1, and indicate that unmodified H3K4 is part of the 'histone code'. They further raise the possibility that the generation and recognition of the unmodified state on histone tails in general might be just as crucial as post-translational modifications of histone for chromatin and transcriptional regulation.
Project description:PHD fingers represent one of the largest families of epigenetic readers capable of decoding post-translationally modified or unmodified histone H3 tails. Because of their direct involvement in human pathologies they are increasingly considered as a potential therapeutic target. Several PHD/histone-peptide structures have been determined, however relatively little information is available on their dynamics. Studies aiming to characterize the dynamic and energetic determinants driving histone peptide recognition by epigenetic readers would strongly benefit from computational studies. Herein we focus on the dynamic and energetic characterization of the PHD finger subclass specialized in the recognition of histone H3 peptides unmodified in position K4 (H3K4me0). As a case study we focused on the first PHD finger of autoimmune regulator protein (AIRE-PHD1) in complex with H3K4me0. PCA analysis of the covariance matrix of free AIRE-PHD1 highlights the presence of a "flapping" movement, which is blocked in an open conformation upon binding to H3K4me0. Moreover, binding free energy calculations obtained through Molecular Mechanics/Poisson-Boltzmann Surface Area (MM/PBSA) methodology are in good qualitative agreement with experiments and allow dissection of the energetic terms associated with native and alanine mutants of AIRE-PHD1/H3K4me0 complexes. MM/PBSA calculations have also been applied to the energetic analysis of other PHD fingers recognizing H3K4me0. In this case we observe excellent correlation between computed and experimental binding free energies. Overall calculations show that H3K4me0 recognition by PHD fingers relies on compensation of the electrostatic and polar solvation energy terms and is stabilized by non-polar interactions.
Project description:A direct effect of post-translational modifications (PTMs) on nucleosomes is the formation of a dynamic platform able to assemble the transcriptional machinery and to recruit chromatin modifiers. The histone code hypothesis suggests that histone PTMs can act as binding sites for chromatin readers and effector proteins, such as the bromodomains, that selectively interact with acetylated lysines, or the "Royal family" and the PHD finger domains, which are able to recognize methylated arginines and lysines. In this review we will discuss recent data describing the function of WD40 proteins as a new class of histone readers, with particular emphasis on the ones able to recognize methylated arginine and lysine residues. We will discuss how WDR5, a classical seven-bladed WD40 propeller, is able to bind with similar affinities both the catalytic subunit of the Trithorax-like complexes, and the histone H3 tail either unmodified or symmetrically dimethylated on arginine 2 (H3R2me2s). Furthermore, we will speculate on how these mutually exclusive interactions of WDR5 may play a role in mediating different degrees of H3K4 methylations at both promoters and distal regulatory sites. Finally, we will summarize recent literature elucidating how other WD40 proteins such as NURF55, EED and LRWD1 recognize methylated histone tails, highlighting similarities and differences among them.