The repeating subunit of chromatin, the nucleosome, includes two copies of each of the four core histones, and recent studies have reported that asymmetrically-modified nucleosomes occur at regulatory elements in vivo. To probe the mechanisms by which histone modifications are read , we designed an obligate pair of H3 heterodimers, termed H3X and H3Y, which we extensively validated genetically and biochemically. Comparing effects of asymmetric histone tail point mutants with those of symmetric double mutants revealed that a single methylated H3K36 per nucleosome was sufficient to silence cryptic transcription in vivo. We demonstrate the utility of this system for analysis of histone modification crosstalk, using mass spectrometry to separately identify modifications on each H3 molecule within asymmetric nucleosomes. The ability to generate asymmetric nucleosomes in vivo and in vitro provides a powerful and generalizable tool to probe the mechanisms by which H3 tails are read by effector proteins in the cell.
- Yuichi Ichikawa
- Caitlin F Connelly
- Hsin-Jung Chou
- Hsuiyi V Chen
- Oliver J Rando
- Paul D Kaufman
- Alon Appleboim
- Hadas Jacobi
- Nir Friedman
- Nebiyu A Abshiru
- Yupeng Zheng
- Paul M Thomas
- Neil L Kelleher
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Jerry L Workman, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, United States
© 2017, Ichikawa et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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APOBEC3B (A3B)-catalyzed DNA cytosine deamination contributes to the overall mutational landscape in breast cancer. Molecular mechanisms responsible for A3B upregulation in cancer are poorly understood. Here, we show that a single E2F cis-element mediates repression in normal cells and that expression is activated by its mutational disruption in a reporter construct or the endogenous A3B gene. The same E2F site is required for A3B induction by polyomavirus T antigen indicating a shared molecular mechanism. Proteomic and biochemical experiments demonstrate binding of wildtype but not mutant E2F promoters by repressive PRC1.6/E2F6 and DREAM/E2F4 complexes. Knockdown and overexpression studies confirm involvement of these repressive complexes in regulating A3B expression. Altogether, these studies demonstrate that A3B expression is suppressed in normal cells by repressive E2F complexes and that viral or mutational disruption of this regulatory network triggers overexpression in breast cancer and provides fuel for tumor evolution.
Lysine 27-to-methionine (K27M) mutations in the H3.1 or H3.3 histone genes are characteristic of pediatric diffuse midline gliomas (DMGs). These oncohistone mutations dominantly inhibit histone H3K27 trimethylation and silencing, but it is unknown how oncohistone type affects gliomagenesis. We show that the genomic distributions of H3.1 and H3.3 oncohistones in human patient-derived DMG cells are consistent with the DNAreplication-coupled deposition of histone H3.1 and the predominant replication-independent deposition of histone H3.3. Although H3K27 trimethylation is reduced for both oncohistone types, H3.3K27M-bearing cells retain some domains, and only H3.1K27M-bearing cells lack H3K27 trimethylation. Neither oncohistone interferes with PRC2 binding. Using Drosophila as a model, we demonstrate that inhibition of H3K27 trimethylation occurs only when H3K27M oncohistones are deposited into chromatin and only when expressed in cycling cells. We propose that oncohistones inhibit the H3K27 methyltransferase as chromatin patterns are being duplicated in proliferating cells, predisposing them to tumorigenesis.