Histones are a principal constituent of chromatin in eukaryotes and fundamental to our understanding of eukaryotic gene regulation. In archaea, histones are widespread but not universal: several lineages have lost histone genes. What prompted or facilitated these losses and how archaea without histones organize their chromatin remains largely unknown. Here, we elucidate primary chromatin architecture in an archaeon without histones, Thermoplasma acidophilum, which harbours a HU family protein (HTa) that protects part of the genome from micrococcal nuclease digestion. Charting HTa-based chromatin architecture in vitro, in vivo and in an HTa-expressing E. coli strain, we present evidence that HTa is an archaeal histone analog. HTa preferentially binds to GC-rich sequences, exhibits invariant positioning throughout the growth cycle, and shows archaeal histone-like oligomerization behaviour. Our results suggest that HTa, a DNA-binding protein of bacterial origin, has converged onto an architectural role filled by histones in other archaea.
- Tobias Warnecke
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Joseph Thomas Wade, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, United States
© 2019, Hocher 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.
Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)
Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)
Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)
Histone modifications deposited by the Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) play a critical role in the control of growth, development, and adaptation to environmental fluctuations of most multicellular eukaryotes. The catalytic activity of PRC2 is counteracted by Jumonji-type (JMJ) histone demethylases, which shapes the genomic distribution of H3K27me3. Here, we show that two JMJ histone demethylases in Arabidopsis, EARLY FLOWERING 6 (ELF6) and RELATIVE OF EARLY FLOWERING 6 (REF6), play distinct roles in H3K27me3 and H3K27me1 homeostasis. We show that failure to reset these chromatin marks during sexual reproduction results in the transgenerational inheritance of histone marks, which cause a loss of DNA methylation at heterochromatic loci and transposon activation. Thus, Jumonji-type histone demethylases play a dual role in plants by helping to maintain transcriptional states through development and safeguard genome integrity during sexual reproduction.
The templating RNA is the core of the telomerase reverse transcriptase. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the complex life cycle and maturation of telomerase includes a cytoplasmic stage. However, timing and reason for this cytoplasmic passage are poorly understood. Here, we use inducible RNA tagging experiments to show that immediately after transcription, newly synthesized telomerase RNAs undergo one round of nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling. Their export depends entirely on Crm1/Xpo1, whereas re-import is mediated by Kap122 plus redundant, kinetically less efficient import pathways. Strikingly, Mex67 is essential to stabilize newly transcribed RNA before Xpo1-mediated nuclear export. The results further show that the Sm7 complex associates with and stabilizes the telomerase RNA in the cytoplasm and promotes its nuclear re-import. Remarkably, after this cytoplasmic passage, the nuclear stability of telomerase RNA no longer depends on Mex67. These results underscore the utility of inducible RNA tagging and challenge current models of telomerase maturation.