A Degenerate Peptide Library Approach to Reveal Sequence Determinants of Methyllysine-Driven Protein Interactions.
ABSTRACT: 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:Lysine methylation is the most versatile covalent posttranslational modification (PTM) found in histones and non-histone proteins. Over the past decade a number of methyllysine-specific readers have been discovered and their interactions with histone tails have been structurally and biochemically characterized. More recently innovative experimental approaches have emerged that allow for studying reader interactions in the context of the full nucleosome and nucleosomal arrays.In this review we give a brief overview of the known mechanisms of histone lysine methylation readout, summarize progress recently made in exploring interactions with methylated nucleosomes, and discuss the latest advances in the development of small molecule inhibitors of the methyllysine-specific readers.New studies reveal various reader-nucleosome contacts outside the methylated histone tail, thus offering a better model for association of histone readers to chromatin and broadening our understanding of the functional implications of these interactions. In addition, some progress has been made in the design of antagonists of these interactions.Specific lysine methylation patterns are commonly associated with certain chromatin states and genomic elements, and are linked to distinct biological outcomes such as transcription activation or repression. Disruption of patterns of histone modifications is associated with a number of diseases, and there is tremendous therapeutic potential in targeting histone modification pathways. Thus, investigating binding of readers of these modifications is not only important for elucidating fundamental mechanisms of chromatin regulation, but also necessary for the design of targeted therapeutics. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Molecular mechanisms of histone modification function.
Project description:Histone lysine methylation (Kme) encodes essential information modulating many biological processes including gene expression and transcriptional regulation. However, the atomic-level recognition mechanisms of methylated histones by their respective adaptor proteins are still elusive. For instance, it is unclear how L3MBTL1, a methyl-lysine histone code reader, recognizes equally well both mono- and dimethyl marks but ignores unmodified and trimethylated lysine residues. We made use of molecular dynamics (MD) and free energy perturbation (FEP) techniques in order to investigate the energetics and dynamics of the methyl-lysine recognition. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) was employed to experimentally validate the computational findings. Both computational and experimental methods were applied to a set of designed "biophysical" probes that mimic the shape of a single lysine residue and reproduce the binding affinities of cognate histone peptides. Our results suggest that, besides forming favorable interactions, the L3MBTL1 binding pocket energetically penalizes both methylation states and has most probably evolved as a "compromise" that nonoptimally fits to both mono- and dimethyl-lysine marks.
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:The chromatin-binding E3 ubiquitin ligase ubiquitin-like with PHD and RING finger domains 1 (UHRF1) contributes to the maintenance of aberrant DNA methylation patterning in cancer cells through multivalent histone and DNA recognition. The tandem Tudor domain (TTD) of UHRF1 is well-characterized as a reader of lysine 9 di- and tri-methylation on histone H3 (H3K9me2/me3) and, more recently, lysine 126 di- and tri-methylation on DNA ligase 1 (LIG1K126me2/me3). However, the functional significance and selectivity of these interactions remain unclear. In this study, we used protein domain microarrays to search for additional readers of LIG1K126me2, the preferred methyl state bound by the UHRF1 TTD. We show that the UHRF1 TTD binds LIG1K126me2 with high affinity and selectivity compared to other known methyllysine readers. Notably, and unlike H3K9me2/me3, the UHRF1 plant homeodomain (PHD) and its N-terminal linker (L2) do not contribute to multivalent LIG1K126me2 recognition along with the TTD. To test the functional significance of this interaction, we designed a LIG1K126me2 cell-penetrating peptide (CPP). Consistent with LIG1 knockdown, uptake of the CPP had no significant effect on the propagation of DNA methylation patterning across the genomes of bulk populations from high-resolution analysis of several cancer cell lines. Further, we did not detect significant changes in DNA methylation patterning from bulk cell populations after chemical or genetic disruption of lysine methyltransferase activity associated with LIG1K126me2 and H3K9me2. Collectively, these studies identify UHRF1 as a selective reader of LIG1K126me2 in vitro and further implicate the histone and non-histone methyllysine reader activity of the UHRF1 TTD as a dispensable domain function for cancer cell DNA methylation maintenance.
Project description: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:Methyllysine post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones create binding sites for evolutionarily conserved reader domains that link nuclear host proteins and chromatin-modifying complexes to specific genomic regions. In the context of these events, adjacent histone PTMs are capable of altering the binding activity of readers toward their target marks. This provides a mechanism of "combinatorial readout" of PTMs that can enhance, decrease, or eliminate the association of readers with chromatin. In this Perspective, we focus on recent studies describing the impact of dynamic phospho-serine/threonine/tyrosine marks on the interaction of methyllysine readers with histones, summarize mechanistic aspects of the phospho/methyl readout, and highlight the significance of crosstalk between these PTMs. We also demonstrate that in addition to inhibiting binding and serving as a true switch, promoting dissociation of the methyllysine readers from chromatin, the phospho/methyl combination can act together in a cooperative manner--thus adding a new layer of regulatory information that can be encoded in these dual histone PTMs.
Project description:Methyllysine histone code readers constitute a new promising group of potential drug targets. For instance, L3MBTL1, a malignant brain tumor (MBT) protein, selectively binds mono- and di-methyllysine epigenetic marks (KMe, KMe(2) ) that eventually results in the negative regulation of multiple genes through the E2F/Rb oncogenic pathway. There is a pressing need in potent and selective small-molecule probes that would enable further target validation and might become therapeutic leads. Such an endeavor would require efficient tools to assess the free energy of protein-ligand binding. However, due to an unparalleled function of the MBT binding pocket (i.e., selective binding to KMe/KMe(2) ) and because of its distinctive structure representing a small aromatic "cage," an accurate assessment of its binding affinity to a ligand appears to be a challenging task. Here, we report a comparative analysis of computationally affordable affinity predictors applied to a set of seven small-molecule ligands interacting with L3MBTL1. The analysis deals with novel ligands and targets, but applies widespread computational approaches and intuitive comparison metrics that makes this study compatible with and incremental to earlier large scale accounts on the efficiency of affinity predictors. Ultimately, this study has revealed three top performers, far ahead of the other techniques, including two scoring functions, PMF04 and PLP, along with a simulation-based method MM-PB/SA. We discuss why some methods may perform better than others on this target class, the limits of their application, as well as how the efficiency of the most CPU-demanding techniques could be optimized.
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:Efforts to develop strategies for small-molecule chemical probe discovery against the readers of the methyl-lysine (Kme) post-translational modification have been met with limited success. Targeted disruption of these protein-protein interactions via peptidomimetic inhibitor optimization is a promising alternative to small-molecule hit discovery; however, recognition of identical peptide motifs by multiple Kme reader proteins presents a unique challenge in the development of selective Kme reader chemical probes. These selectivity challenges are exemplified by the Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) chemical probe, UNC3866, which demonstrates submicromolar off-target affinity toward the non-PRC1 chromodomains CDYL2 and CDYL. Moreover, since peptidomimetics are challenging subjects for structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies, traditional optimization of UNC3866 would prove costly and time-consuming. Herein, we report a broadly applicable strategy for the affinity-based, target-class screening of chromodomains via the repurposing of UNC3866 in an efficient, combinatorial peptide library. A first-generation library yielded UNC4991, a UNC3866 analogue that exhibits a distinct selectivity profile while maintaining submicromolar affinity toward the CDYL chromodomains. Additionally, in vitro pull-down experiments from HeLa nuclear lysates further demonstrate the selectivity and utility of this compound for future elucidation of CDYL protein function.
Project description:A large number of structurally diverse epigenetic reader proteins specifically recognize methylated lysine residues on histone proteins. Here we describe comparative thermodynamic, structural and computational studies on recognition of the positively charged natural trimethyllysine and its neutral analogues by reader proteins. This work provides experimental and theoretical evidence that reader proteins predominantly recognize trimethyllysine via a combination of favourable cation-? interactions and the release of the high-energy water molecules that occupy the aromatic cage of reader proteins on the association with the trimethyllysine side chain. These results have implications in rational drug design by specifically targeting the aromatic cage of readers of trimethyllysine.