In Caenorhabditis elegans, mutations in WDR-5 and other components of the COMPASS H3K4 methyltransferase complex extend lifespan and enable its inheritance. Here we show that wdr-5 mutant longevity is itself a transgenerational trait that corresponds with a global enrichment of the heterochromatin factor H3K9me2 over twenty generations. In addition, we find that the transgenerational aspects of wdr-5 mutant longevity require the H3K9me2 methyltransferase MET-2, and can be recapitulated by removal of the putative H3K9me2 demethylase JHDM-1. Finally, we show that the transgenerational acquisition of longevity in jhdm-1 mutants is associated with accumulating genomic H3K9me2 that is inherited by their long-lived wild-type descendants at a subset of loci. These results suggest that heterochromatin facilitates the transgenerational establishment and inheritance of a complex trait. Based on these results, we propose that transcription-coupled H3K4me via COMPASS limits lifespan by encroaching upon domains of heterochromatin in the genome.
Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession code GSE129928.
H3K9me2 protects lifespan against the transgenerational burden of germline transcription in C. elegansNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE129928.
- Teresa W Lee
- Brandon Scott Carpenter
- David John Katz
- Amanda Kathryn Engstrom
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Matt Kaeberlein, University of Washington, United States
© 2019, Lee 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.
Chromatin accessibility is modulated in a variety of ways to create open and closed chromatin states, both of which are critical for eukaryotic gene regulation. At the single molecule level, how accessibility is regulated of the chromatin fiber composed of canonical or variant nucleosomes is a fundamental question in the field. Here, we developed a single-molecule tracking method where we could analyze thousands of canonical H3 and centromeric variant nucleosomes imaged by high-speed atomic force microscopy. This approach allowed us to investigate how changes in nucleosome dynamics in vitro inform us about transcriptional potential in vivo. By high-speed atomic force microscopy, we tracked chromatin dynamics in real time and determined the mean square displacement and diffusion constant for the variant centromeric CENP-A nucleosome. Furthermore, we found that an essential kinetochore protein CENP-C reduces the diffusion constant and mobility of centromeric nucleosomes along the chromatin fiber. We subsequently interrogated how CENP-C modulates CENP-A chromatin dynamics in vivo. Overexpressing CENP-C resulted in reduced centromeric transcription and impaired loading of new CENP-A molecules. From these data, we speculate that factors altering nucleosome mobility in vitro, also correspondingly alter transcription in vivo. Subsequently, we propose a model in which variant nucleosomes encode their own diffusion kinetics and mobility, and where binding partners can suppress or enhance nucleosome mobility.
The cohesin complex plays essential roles in chromosome segregation, 3D genome organisation, and DNA damage repair through its ability to modify DNA topology. In higher eukaryotes, meiotic chromosome function, and therefore fertility, requires cohesin complexes containing meiosis-specific kleisin subunits: REC8 and RAD21L in mammals and REC-8 and COH-3/4 in Caenorhabditis elegans. How these complexes perform the multiple functions of cohesin during meiosis and whether this involves different modes of DNA binding or dynamic association with chromosomes is poorly understood. Combining time-resolved methods of protein removal with live imaging and exploiting the temporospatial organisation of the C. elegans germline, we show that REC-8 complexes provide sister chromatid cohesion (SCC) and DNA repair, while COH-3/4 complexes control higher-order chromosome structure. High-abundance COH-3/4 complexes associate dynamically with individual chromatids in a manner dependent on cohesin loading (SCC-2) and removal (WAPL-1) factors. In contrast, low-abundance REC-8 complexes associate stably with chromosomes, tethering sister chromatids from S-phase until the meiotic divisions. Our results reveal that kleisin identity determines the function of meiotic cohesin by controlling the mode and regulation of cohesin–DNA association, and are consistent with a model in which SCC and DNA looping are performed by variant cohesin complexes that coexist on chromosomes.