The embryonic linker histone dBigH1 alters the functional state of active chromatin.
ABSTRACT: Linker histones H1 are principal chromatin components, whose contribution to the epigenetic regulation of chromatin structure and function is not fully understood. In metazoa, specific linker histones are expressed in the germline, with female-specific H1s being normally retained in the early-embryo. Embryonic H1s are present while the zygotic genome is transcriptionally silent and they are replaced by somatic variants upon activation, suggesting a contribution to transcriptional silencing. Here we directly address this question by ectopically expressing dBigH1 in Drosophila S2 cells, which lack dBigH1. We show that dBigH1 binds across chromatin, replaces somatic dH1 and reduces nucleosome repeat length (NRL). Concomitantly, dBigH1 expression down-regulates gene expression by impairing RNApol II binding and histone acetylation. These effects depend on the acidic N-terminal ED-domain of dBigH1 since a truncated form lacking this domain binds across chromatin and replaces dH1 like full-length dBigH1, but it does not affect NRL either transcription. In vitro reconstitution experiments using Drosophila preblastodermic embryo extracts corroborate these results. Altogether these results suggest that the negatively charged N-terminal tail of dBigH1 alters the functional state of active chromatin compromising transcription.
Project description:Linker histones (H1s) are conserved and ubiquitous structural components of eukaryotic chromatin. Multiple non-allelic variants of H1, which differ in their DNA/nucleosome binding properties, co-exist in animal and plant cells and have been implicated in the control of genetic programs during development and differentiation. Studies in mammals and Drosophila have revealed diverse post-translational modifications of H1s, most of which are of unknown function. So far, it is not known how this pattern compares with that of H1s from other major lineages of multicellular Eukaryotes. Here, we show that the two main H1variants of a model flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana are subject to a rich and diverse array of post-translational modifications. The distribution of these modifications in the H1 molecule, especially in its globular domain (GH1), resembles that occurring in mammalian H1s, suggesting that their functional significance is likely to be conserved. While the majority of modifications detected in Arabidopsis H1s, including phosphorylation, acetylation, mono- and dimethylation, formylation, crotonylation and propionylation, have also been reported in H1s of other species, some others have not been previously identified in histones.
Project description:Human linker histones (H1s) are important in chromatin packaging and condensation. The central globular domain of H1 anchors the protein to the nucleosome. The nucleosomal binding modes of different H1 globular domains may affect nucleosomal DNA accessibility in distinct ways. The globular domain structures of human linker histones H1.0 (GH1.0), H1.4 (GH1.4), H1t (GH1t) and H1oo (GH1oo) were homology modelled and energy minimized. A docking algorithm [validated by re-docking GH5 from the GH5-chromatosome crystal structure (PDB: 4QLC) to the nucleosome] was used to dock the modelled domains to the same nucleosome template. In addition, GH1 (PDB: 1GHC) and a protein consisting of the N-terminal and globular domains of H1x (NGH1x) were also docked using this algorithm. Models of these docked structures are presented here in the form of PDB files. The models can be used to gain more insight with regards to the nucleosomal binding modes of H1s and their individual influence on chromatin compaction.
Project description:Eukaryotic cells condense their genetic material in the nucleus in the form of chromatin, a macromolecular complex made of DNA and multiple proteins. The structure of chromatin is intimately connected to the regulation of all eukaryotic organisms, from amoebas to humans, but its organization remains largely unknown. The nucleosome repeat length (NRL) and the concentration of linker histones (?LH) are two structural parameters that vary among cell types and cell cycles; the NRL is the number of DNA basepairs wound around each nucleosome core plus the number of basepairs linking successive nucleosomes. Recent studies have found a linear empirical relationship between the variation of these two properties for different cells, but its underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here we apply our established mesoscale chromatin model to explore the mechanisms responsible for this relationship, by investigating chromatin fibers as a function of NRL and ?LH combinations. We find that a threshold of linker histone concentration triggers the compaction of chromatin into well-formed 30-nm fibers; this critical value increases linearly with NRL, except for long NRLs, where the fibers remain disorganized. Remarkably, the interaction patterns between core histone tails and chromatin elements are highly sensitive to the NRL and ?LH combination, suggesting a molecular mechanism that could have a key role in regulating the structural state of the fibers in the cell. An estimate of the minimized work and volume associated with storage of chromatin fibers in the nucleus further suggests factors that could spontaneously regulate the NRL as a function of linker histone concentration. Both the tail interaction map and DNA packing considerations support the empirical NRL/?LH relationship and offer a framework to interpret experiments for different chromatin conditions in the cell.
Project description:Linker histones (H1s) are a primary component of metazoan chromatin, fulfilling numerous functions, both in vitro and in vivo, including stabilizing the wrapping of DNA around the nucleosome, promoting folding and assembly of higher order chromatin structures, influencing nucleosome spacing on DNA, and regulating specific gene expression. However, many molecular details of how H1 binds to nucleosomes and recognizes unique structural features on the nucleosome surface remain undefined. Numerous, confounding studies are complicated not only by experimental limitations, but the use of different linker histone isoforms and nucleosome constructions. This review summarizes the decades of research that has resulted in several models of H1 association with nucleosomes, with a focus on recent advances that suggest multiple modes of H1 interaction in chromatin, while highlighting the remaining questions.
Project description:Precise control of sister chromatid separation during mitosis is pivotal to maintaining genomic integrity. Yet, the regulatory mechanisms involved are not well understood. Remarkably, we discovered that linker histone H1 phosphorylated at S/T18 decorated the inter-chromatid axial DNA on mitotic chromosomes. Sister chromatid resolution during mitosis required the eviction of such H1S/T18ph by the chaperone SET, with this process being independent of and most likely downstream of arm-cohesin dissociation. SET also directed the disassembly of Shugoshins in a polo-like kinase 1-augmented manner, aiding centromere resolution. SET ablation compromised mitotic fidelity as evidenced by unresolved sister chromatids with marked accumulation of H1S/T18ph and centromeric Shugoshin. Thus, chaperone-assisted eviction of linker histones and Shugoshins is a fundamental step in mammalian mitotic progression. Our findings also elucidate the functional implications of the decades-old observation of mitotic linker histone phosphorylation, serving as a paradigm to explore the role of linker histones in bio-signaling processes.
Project description:Linker histones (H1s) are key structural components of the chromatin of higher eukaryotes. However, the mechanisms by which the intrinsically disordered linker histone carboxy-terminal domain (H1 CTD) influences chromatin structure and gene regulation remain unclear. We previously demonstrated that the CTD of H1.0 undergoes a significant condensation (reduction of end-to-end distance) upon binding to nucleosomes, consistent with a transition to an ordered structure or ensemble of structures. Here, we show that deletion of the H3 N-terminal tail or the installation of acetylation mimics or bona fide acetylation within H3 N-terminal tail alters the condensation of the nucleosome-bound H1 CTD. Additionally, we present evidence that the H3 N-tail influences H1 CTD condensation through direct protein-protein interaction, rather than alterations in linker DNA trajectory. These results support an emerging hypothesis wherein the H1 CTD serves as a nexus for signaling in the nucleosome.
Project description:Despite the presence of linker histone in all eukaryotes, the primary function(s) of this histone have been difficult to clarify. Knock-out experiments indicate that H1s play a role in regulation of only a small subset of genes but are an essential component in mouse development. Here, we show that linker histone (H1) is involved in the global regulation of DNA replication in Physarum polycephalum. We find that genomic DNA of H1 knock-down cells is more rapidly replicated, an effect due at least in part to disruption of the native timing of replication fork firing. Immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrate that H1 is transiently lost from replicating chromatin via a process facilitated by phosphorylation. Our results suggest that linker histones generate a chromatin environment refractory to replication and that their transient removal via protein phosphorylation during S phase is a critical step in the epigenetic regulation of replication timing.
Project description:H1 linker histones are key chromatin architectural proteins facilitating the formation of higher order chromatin structures. The H1 family constitutes the most heterogeneous group of histone proteins, with eleven non-allelic H1 variants in mammals. H1 variants differ in their biochemical properties and exhibit significant sequence divergence from one another, yet most of them are highly conserved during evolution from mouse to human. H1 variants are differentially regulated during development and their cellular compositions undergo dramatic changes in embryogenesis, gametogenesis, tissue maturation and cellular differentiation. As a group, H1 histones are essential for mouse development and proper stem cell differentiation. Here we summarize our current knowledge on the expression and functions of H1 variants in mammalian development and stem cell differentiation. Their diversity, sequence conservation, complex expression and distinct functions suggest that H1s mediate chromatin reprogramming and contribute to the large variations and complexity of chromatin structure and gene expression in the mammalian genome.
Project description:Linker histones are an integral component of chromatin but how these proteins promote assembly of chromatin fibers and higher order structures and regulate gene expression remains an open question. Using Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) approaches we find that association of a linker histone with oligonucleosomal arrays induces condensation of the intrinsically disordered H1 CTD in a manner consistent with adoption of a defined fold or ensemble of folds in the bound state. However, H1 CTD structure when bound to nucleosomes in arrays is distinct from that induced upon H1 association with mononucleosomes or bare double stranded DNA. Moreover, the H1 CTD becomes more condensed upon condensation of extended nucleosome arrays to the contacting zig-zag form found in moderate salts, but does not detectably change during folding to fully compacted chromatin fibers. We provide evidence that linker DNA conformation is a key determinant of H1 CTD structure and that constraints imposed by neighboring nucleosomes cause linker DNAs to adopt distinct trajectories in oligonucleosomes compared to H1-bound mononucleosomes. Finally, inter-molecular FRET between H1s within fully condensed nucleosome arrays suggests a regular spatial arrangement for the H1 CTD within the 30 nm chromatin fiber.
Project description:Complex transitions in chromatin structure produce changes in genome function during development in metazoa. Linker histones, the last component of nucleosomes to be assembled into chromatin, comprise considerably divergent subtypes as compared with core histones. In all metazoa studied, their composition changes dramatically during early embryogenesis concomitant with zygotic gene activation, leading to distinct functional changes that are still poorly understood. Here, we show that early embryonic linker histone B4, which is maternally expressed, is functionally different from somatic histone H1 in influencing chromatin structure and dynamics. We developed a chromatin assembly system with nucleosome assembly protein-1 as a linker histone chaperone. This assay system revealed that maternal histone B4 allows chromatin to be remodeled by ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factor, whereas somatic histone H1 prevents this remodeling. Structural analysis shows that histone B4 does not significantly restrict the accessibility of linker DNA. These findings define the functional significance of developmental changes in linker histone variants. We propose a model that holds that maternally expressed linker histones are key molecules specifying nuclear dynamics with respect to embryonic totipotency.