Project description:Enhancer elements control mammalian transcription largely in a cell-type-specific manner. The genome-wide identification of enhancer elements and their activity status in a cellular context is therefore fundamental to understanding cell identity and function. We determined enhancer activity in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells using chromatin modifications and characterised their global properties. Specifically, we first grouped enhancers into 5 groups using multiple H3K4me1, H3K27ac, and H3K27me3 modification data sets. Active enhancers (simultaneous presence of H3K4me1 and H3K27ac) were enriched for binding of pluripotency factors and were found near pluripotency-related genes. Although both H3K4me1-only and active enhancers were enriched for super-enhancers and a TATA box like motif, active enhancers were preferentially bound by RNA polII (s2) and were enriched for bidirectional transcription, while H3K4me1-only enhancers were enriched for RNA polII (8WG16) suggesting they were likely poised. Bivalent enhancers (simultaneous presence of H3K4me1 and H3K27me3) were preferentially in the vicinity of bivalent genes. They were enriched for binding of components of polycomb complex as well as Tcf3 and Oct4. Moreover, a 'CTTTCTC' de-novo motif was enriched at bivalent enhancers, previously identified at bivalent promoters in ES cells. Taken together, 3 histone modifications successfully demarcated active, bivalent, and poised enhancers with distinct sequence and binding features.
Project description:In embryonic stem cells, promoters of key lineage-specific differentiation genes are found in a bivalent state, having both activating H3K4me3 and repressive H3K27me3 histone marks, making them poised for transcription upon loss of H3K27me3. Whether cancer-initiating cells (C-ICs) have similar epigenetic mechanisms that prevent lineage commitment is unknown. Here we show that colorectal C-ICs (CC-ICs) are maintained in a stem-like state through a bivalent epigenetic mechanism. Disruption of the bivalent state through inhibition of the H3K27 methyltransferase EZH2, resulted in decreased self-renewal of patient-derived C-ICs. Epigenomic analyses revealed that the promoter of Indian Hedgehog (IHH), a canonical driver of normal colonocyte differentiation, exists in a bivalent chromatin state. Inhibition of EZH2 resulted in de-repression of IHH, decreased self-renewal, and increased sensitivity to chemotherapy in vivo. Our results reveal an epigenetic block to differentiation in CC-ICs and demonstrate the potential for epigenetic differentiation therapy of a solid tumour through EZH2 inhibition.
Project description:Chromatin-state analysis is widely applied in the studies of development and diseases. However, existing methods operate at a single length scale, and therefore cannot distinguish large domains from isolated elements of the same type. To overcome this limitation, we present a hierarchical hidden Markov model, diHMM, to systematically annotate chromatin states at multiple length scales. We apply diHMM to analyse a public ChIP-seq data set. diHMM not only accurately captures nucleosome-level information, but identifies domain-level states that vary in nucleosome-level state composition, spatial distribution and functionality. The domain-level states recapitulate known patterns such as super-enhancers, bivalent promoters and Polycomb repressed regions, and identify additional patterns whose biological functions are not yet characterized. By integrating chromatin-state information with gene expression and Hi-C data, we identify context-dependent functions of nucleosome-level states. Thus, diHMM provides a powerful tool for investigating the role of higher-order chromatin structure in gene regulation.
Project description:Recent studies have suggested that, in ES cells, inactive genes encoding early developmental regulators possess bivalent histone modification domains and are therefore poised for activation. However, bivalent domains were not observed at typical tissue-specific genes. Here, we show that windows of unmethylated CpG dinucleotides and putative pioneer factor interactions mark enhancers for at least some tissue-specific genes in ES cells. The unmethylated windows expand in cells that express the gene and contract, disappear, or remain unchanged in nonexpressing tissues. However, in ES cells, they do not always coincide with common histone modifications. Genomic footprinting and chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated that transcription factor binding underlies the unmethylated windows at enhancers for the Ptcra and Alb1 genes. After stable integration of premethylated Ptcra enhancer constructs into the ES cell genome, the unmethylated windows readily appeared. In contrast, the premethylated constructs remained fully methylated and silent after introduction into Ptcra-expressing thymocytes. These findings provide initial functional support for a model in which pioneer factor interactions in ES cells promote the assembly of a chromatin structure that is permissive for subsequent activation, and in which differentiated tissues lack the machinery required for gene activation when these ES cell marks are absent. The enhancer marks may therefore represent important features of the pluripotent state.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The histone variant H2A.Z has been implicated in nucleosome exchange, transcriptional activation and Polycomb repression. However, the relationships among these seemingly disparate functions remain obscure. RESULTS: We mapped H2A.Z genome-wide in mammalian ES cells and neural progenitors. H2A.Z is deposited promiscuously at promoters and enhancers, and correlates strongly with H3K4 methylation. Accordingly, H2A.Z is present at poised promoters with bivalent chromatin and at active promoters with H3K4 methylation, but is absent from stably repressed promoters that are specifically enriched for H3K27 trimethylation. We also characterized post-translational modification states of H2A.Z, including a novel species dually-modified by ubiquitination and acetylation that is enriched at bivalent chromatin. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings associate H2A.Z with functionally distinct genomic elements, and suggest that post-translational modifications may reconcile its contrasting locations and roles.
Project description:Around implantation, the epiblast (Epi) transits from naïve to primed pluripotency, before giving rise to the three germ layers. How chromatin is reconfigured during this developmental window remains poorly understood. We performed a genome-wide investigation of chromatin landscapes during this period. We find that enhancers in ectoderm are already pre-accessible in embryonic day 6.5 (E6.5) Epi when cells enter a primed pluripotent state. Unexpectedly, strong trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 4 (H3K4me3) emerges at developmental gene promoters in E6.5 Epi and positively correlates with H3K27me3, thus establishing bivalency. These genes also show enhanced spatial interactions. Both the strong bivalency and spatial clustering are virtually absent in preimplantation embryos and are markedly reduced in fate-committed lineages. Finally, we show that KMT2B is essential for establishing bivalent H3K4me3 at E6.5 but becomes partially dispensable later. Its deficiency leads to impaired activation of developmental genes and subsequent embryonic lethality. Thus, our data characterize lineage-specific chromatin reconfiguration and a unique chromatin state for primed pluripotency.
Project description:Key regulatory genes, suppressed by Polycomb and H3K27me3, become active during normal differentiation and induced reprogramming. Using the well-characterized enhancer/promoter pair of MYOD1 as a model, we have identified a critical role for enhancers in reprogramming. We observed an unexpected nucleosome-depleted region (NDR) at the H3K4me1-enriched enhancer at which transcriptional regulators initially bind, leading to subsequent changes in the chromatin at the cognate promoter. Exogenous Myod1 activates its own transcription by binding first at the enhancer, leading to an NDR and transcription-permissive chromatin at the associated MYOD1 promoter. Exogenous OCT4 also binds first to the permissive MYOD1 enhancer but has a different effect on the cognate promoter, where the monovalent H3K27me3 marks are converted to the bivalent state characteristic of stem cells. Genome-wide, a high percentage of Polycomb targets are associated with putative enhancers in permissive states, suggesting that they may provide a widespread avenue for the initiation of cell-fate reprogramming.
Project description:The SWI/SNF complex is a critical regulator of pluripotency in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and individual subunits have varied and specific roles during development and in diseases. The core subunit SMARCB1 is required for early embryonic survival, and mutations can give rise to atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (AT/RTs) in the pediatric central nervous system. We report that in contrast to other studied systems, SMARCB1 represses bivalent genes in hESCs and antagonizes chromatin accessibility at super-enhancers. Moreover, and consistent with its established role as a CNS tumor suppressor, we find that SMARCB1 is essential for neural induction but dispensable for mesodermal or endodermal differentiation. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that SMARCB1 is essential for hESC super-enhancer silencing in neural differentiation conditions. This genomic assessment of hESC chromatin regulation by SMARCB1 reveals a novel positive regulatory function at super-enhancers and a unique lineage-specific role in regulating hESC differentiation.
Project description:Empirical assessments of human accelerated noncoding DNA frgaments have delineated presence of many cis-regulatory elements. Enhancers make up an important category of such accelerated cis-regulatory elements that efficiently control the spatiotemporal expression of many developmental genes. Establishing plausible reasons for accelerated enhancer sequence divergence in Homo sapiens has been termed significant in various previously published studies. This acceleration by including closely related primates and archaic human data has the potential to open up evolutionary avenues for deducing present-day brain structure. This study relied on empirically confirmed brain exclusive enhancers to avoid any misjudgments about their regulatory status and categorized among them a subset of enhancers with an exceptionally accelerated rate of lineage specific divergence in humans. In this assorted set, 13 distinct transcription factor binding sites were located that possessed unique existence in humans. Three of 13 such sites belonging to transcription factors SOX2, RUNX1/3, and FOS/JUND possessed single nucleotide variants that made them unique to H. sapiens upon comparisons with Neandertal and Denisovan orthologous sequences. These variants modifying the binding sites in modern human lineage were further substantiated as single nucleotide polymorphisms via exploiting 1000 Genomes Project Phase3 data. Long range haplotype based tests laid out evidence of positive selection to be governing in African population on two of the modern human motif modifying alleles with strongest results for SOX2 binding site. In sum, our study acknowledges acceleration in noncoding regulatory landscape of the genome and highlights functional parts within it to have undergone accelerated divergence in present-day human population.