Project description:The inactive X chromosome (Xi) in female mammals adopts an atypical higher-order chromatin structure, manifested as a global loss of local topologically associated domains (TADs), A/B compartments and formation of two mega-domains. Here we demonstrate that the non-canonical SMC family protein, SmcHD1, which is important for gene silencing on Xi, contributes to this unique chromosome architecture. Specifically, allelic mapping of the transcriptome and epigenome in SmcHD1 mutant cells reveals the appearance of sub-megabase domains defined by gene activation, CpG hypermethylation and depletion of Polycomb-mediated H3K27me3. These domains, which correlate with sites of SmcHD1 enrichment on Xi in wild-type cells, additionally adopt features of active X chromosome higher-order chromosome architecture, including A/B compartments and partial restoration of TAD boundaries. Xi chromosome architecture changes also occurred following SmcHD1 knockout in a somatic cell model, but in this case, independent of Xi gene derepression. We conclude that SmcHD1 is a key factor in defining the unique chromosome architecture of Xi.
Project description:X chromosome inactivation involves multiple levels of chromatin modification, established progressively and in a stepwise manner during early development. The chromosomal protein Smchd1 was recently shown to play an important role in DNA methylation of CpG islands (CGIs), a late step in the X inactivation pathway that is required for long-term maintenance of gene silencing. Here we show that inactive X chromosome (Xi) CGI methylation can occur via either Smchd1-dependent or -independent pathways. Smchd1-dependent CGI methylation, the primary pathway, is acquired gradually over an extended period, whereas Smchd1-independent CGI methylation occurs rapidly after the onset of X inactivation. The de novo methyltransferase Dnmt3b is required for methylation of both classes of CGI, whereas Dnmt3a and Dnmt3L are dispensable. Xi CGIs methylated by these distinct pathways differ with respect to their sequence characteristics and immediate chromosomal environment. We discuss the implications of these results for understanding CGI methylation during development.
Project description:The chromosomal protein SMCHD1 plays an important role in epigenetic silencing at diverse loci, including the inactive X chromosome, imprinted genes, and the facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy locus. Although homology with canonical SMC family proteins suggests a role in chromosome organization, the mechanisms underlying SMCHD1 function and target site selection remain poorly understood. Here we show that SMCHD1 forms an active GHKL-ATPase homodimer, contrasting with canonical SMC complexes, which exist as tripartite ring structures. Electron microscopy analysis demonstrates that SMCHD1 homodimers structurally resemble prokaryotic condensins. We further show that the principal mechanism for chromatin loading of SMCHD1 involves an LRIF1-mediated interaction with HP1? at trimethylated histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3)-modified chromatin sites on the chromosome arms. A parallel pathway accounts for chromatin loading at a minority of sites, notably the inactive X chromosome. Together, our results provide key insights into SMCHD1 function and target site selection.
Project description:X-chromosome inactivation triggers fusion of A/B compartments to inactive X (Xi)-specific structures known as S1 and S2 compartments. SMCHD1 then merges S1/S2s to form the Xi super-structure. Here, we ask how S1/S2 compartments form and reveal that Xist RNA drives their formation via recruitment of Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1). Ablating Smchd1 in post-XCI cells unveils S1/S2 structures. Loss of SMCHD1 leads to trapping Xist in the S1 compartment, impairing RNA spreading into S2. On the other hand, depleting Xist, PRC1, or HNRNPK precludes re-emergence of S1/S2 structures, and loss of S1/S2 compartments paradoxically strengthens the partition between Xi megadomains. Finally, Xi-reactivation in post-XCI cells can be enhanced by depleting both SMCHD1 and DNA methylation. We conclude that Xist, PRC1, and SMCHD1 collaborate in an obligatory, sequential manner to partition, fuse, and direct self-association of Xi compartments required for proper spreading of Xist RNA.
Project description:The Smchd1 gene encodes a large protein with homology to the SMC family of proteins involved in chromosome condensation and cohesion. Previous studies have found that Smchd1 has an important role in CpG island (CGI) methylation on the inactive X chromosome (Xi) and in stable silencing of some Xi genes. In this study, using genome-wide expression analysis, we showed that Smchd1 is required for the silencing of around 10% of the genes on Xi, apparently independent of CGI hypomethylation, and, moreover, that these genes nonrandomly occur in clusters. Additionally, we found that Smchd1 is required for CpG island methylation and silencing at a cluster of four imprinted genes in the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) locus on chromosome 7 and genes from the protocadherin-alpha and -beta clusters. All of the affected autosomal loci display developmentally regulated brain-specific methylation patterns which are lost in Smchd1 homozygous mutants. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the function of Smchd1 in epigenetic regulation of gene expression.
Project description:Mammalian chromosomes are partitioned into A/B compartments and topologically associated domains (TADs). The inactive X (Xi) chromosome, however, adopts a distinct conformation without evident compartments or TADs. Here, through exploration of an architectural protein, structural-maintenance-of-chromosomes hinge domain containing 1 (SMCHD1), we probe how the Xi is reconfigured during X chromosome inactivation. A/B compartments are first fused into "S1" and "S2" compartments, coinciding with Xist spreading into gene-rich domains. SMCHD1 then binds S1/S2 compartments and merges them to create a compartment-less architecture. Contrary to current views, TADs remain on the Xi but in an attenuated state. Ablating SMCHD1 results in a persistent S1/S2 organization and strengthening of TADs. Furthermore, loss of SMCHD1 causes regional defects in Xist spreading and erosion of heterochromatic silencing. We present a stepwise model for Xi folding, where SMCHD1 attenuates a hidden layer of Xi architecture to facilitate Xist spreading.
Project description:We sought to examine whether the non-canonical SMC protein Smchd1 plays a role in chromosome conformation. We used in situ Hi-C to analyse chromosome conformation changes upon deletion of the epigenetic regulator Smchd1 in female neural stem cells. In parallel, we analysed nucleosome accessibility using ATAC-seq, gene expression using RNA-seq, chromatin marks H3K27me3 and H3K27ac and Ctcf binding using ChIP-seq. We additionally analysed Smchd1 binding genome-wide using ChIP-seq. Together, we find that deletion of Smchd1 alters chromosome conformation at Smchd1 target genes including the inactive X chromosome, Hox genes and imprinted loc. Smchd1 deletion results in gain in Ctcf binding and activation of enhancers. We propose Smchd1 functions by limiting Ctcf-mediated chromosome looping. Overall design: n=2 Smchd1 GFP/GFP vs n=2 Smchd1+/+ female neural stem cell lines + Whole cell extract controls, to test binding of Smchd1 to the inactive X, using long sonication to release the inactive X heterochromatin. n=1 Smchd1GFP/GFP female + n=1 Smchd1 GFP/GFP male NSCs vs n=1 Smchd1+/+ female and n=1 Smchd1+/+ male neural stem cell lines plus whole cell extract controls, using MNase digestion for fragmentation, to assess autosomal binding of Smchd1.
Project description:Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is characterized by chromatin relaxation of the D4Z4 macrosatellite array on chromosome 4 and expression of the D4Z4-encoded DUX4 gene in skeletal muscle. The more common form, autosomal dominant FSHD1, is caused by contraction of the D4Z4 array, whereas the genetic determinants and inheritance of D4Z4 array contraction-independent FSHD2 are unclear. Here, we show that mutations in SMCHD1 (encoding structural maintenance of chromosomes flexible hinge domain containing 1) on chromosome 18 reduce SMCHD1 protein levels and segregate with genome-wide D4Z4 CpG hypomethylation in human kindreds. FSHD2 occurs in individuals who inherited both the SMCHD1 mutation and a normal-sized D4Z4 array on a chromosome 4 haplotype permissive for DUX4 expression. Reducing SMCHD1 levels in skeletal muscle results in D4Z4 contraction-independent DUX4 expression. Our study identifies SMCHD1 as an epigenetic modifier of the D4Z4 metastable epiallele and as a causal genetic determinant of FSHD2 and possibly other human diseases subject to epigenetic regulation.
Project description:Embryonic development is dependent on the maternal supply of proteins through the oocyte, including factors setting up the adequate epigenetic patterning of the zygotic genome. We previously reported that one such factor is the epigenetic repressor SMCHD1, whose maternal supply controls autosomal imprinted expression in mouse preimplantation embryos and mid-gestation placenta. In mouse preimplantation embryos, X chromosome inactivation is also an imprinted process. Combining genomics and imaging, we show that maternal SMCHD1 is required not only for the imprinted expression of Xist in preimplantation embryos, but also for the efficient silencing of the inactive X in both the preimplantation embryo and mid-gestation placenta. These results expand the role of SMCHD1 in enforcing the silencing of Polycomb targets. The inability of zygotic SMCHD1 to fully restore imprinted X inactivation further points to maternal SMCHD1's role in setting up the appropriate chromatin environment during preimplantation development, a critical window of epigenetic remodelling. Overall design: methylome and transcriptome analysis of mouse embryos with maternal deletions of Smchd1