Two epigenetic pathways of transcriptional repression, DNA methylation and Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) are known to regulate neuronal development and function. However, their respective contributions to brain maturation are unknown. We found that conditional loss of the de novo DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a in mouse excitatory neurons altered expression of synapse-related genes, stunted synapse maturation, and impaired working memory and social interest. At the genomic level, loss of Dnmt3a abolished postnatal accumulation of CG and non-CG DNA methylation, leaving adult neurons with an unmethylated, fetal-like epigenomic pattern at ~222,000 genomic regions. The PRC2-associated histone modification, H3K27me3, increased at many of these sites. Our data support a dynamic interaction between two fundamental modes of epigenetic repression during postnatal maturation of excitatory neurons, which together confer robustness on neuronal regulation.
All sequencing data are available in the Gene Expression Omnibus under accession GSE141587. A genome browser displaying the sequencing data is available at https://brainome.ucsd.edu/annoj_private/mm_dnmt3a_ko/
Transcriptomic and epigenetic disruptions in excitatory neurons in Dnmt3a conditional knockout mouseNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE141587.
Global epigenomic reconfiguration during mammalian brain developmentNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE47966.
- Joseph R Ecker
- Eran A Mukamel
- M Margarita Behrens
- Antonio Pinto-Duarte
- Susan B Powell
- M Margarita Behrens
- Joseph R Ecker
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal procedures were conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care and were approved by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Protocol number 18-00006).
- Anne E West, Duke University, United States
© 2022, Li 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.
Spermatogenesis in the Drosophila male germline proceeds through a unique transcriptional program controlled both by germline-specific transcription factors and by testis-specific versions of core transcriptional machinery. This program includes the activation of genes on the heterochromatic Y chromosome, and reduced transcription from the X chromosome, but how expression from these sex chromosomes is regulated has not been defined. To resolve this, we profiled active chromatin features in the testes from wildtype and meiotic arrest mutants and integrate this with single-cell gene expression data from the Fly Cell Atlas. These data assign the timing of promoter activation for genes with germline-enriched expression throughout spermatogenesis, and general alterations of promoter regulation in germline cells. By profiling both active RNA polymerase II and histone modifications in isolated spermatocytes, we detail widespread patterns associated with regulation of the sex chromosomes. Our results demonstrate that the X chromosome is not enriched for silencing histone modifications, implying that sex chromosome inactivation does not occur in the Drosophila male germline. Instead, a lack of dosage compensation in spermatocytes accounts for the reduced expression from this chromosome. Finally, profiling uncovers dramatic ubiquitinylation of histone H2A and lysine-16 acetylation of histone H4 across the Y chromosome in spermatocytes that may contribute to the activation of this heterochromatic chromosome.
The conserved family of Transcription Intermediary Factors (TIF1) proteins consists of key transcriptional regulators that control transcription of target genes by modulating chromatin state. Unlike mammals that have four TIF1 members, Drosophila only encodes one member of the family, Bonus. Bonus has been implicated in embryonic development and organogenesis and shown to regulate several signaling pathways, however, its targets and mechanism of action remained poorly understood. We found that knockdown of Bonus in early oogenesis results in severe defects in ovarian development and in ectopic expression of genes that are normally repressed in the germline, demonstrating its essential function in the ovary. Recruitment of Bonus to chromatin leads to silencing associated with accumulation of the repressive H3K9me3 mark. We show that Bonus associates with the histone methyltransferase SetDB1 and the chromatin remodeler NuRD and depletion of either component releases Bonus-induced repression. We further established that Bonus is SUMOylated at a single site at its N-terminus that is conserved among insects and this modification is indispensable for Bonus’s repressive activity. SUMOylation influences Bonus’s subnuclear localization, its association with chromatin and interaction with SetDB1. Finally, we showed that Bonus SUMOylation is mediated by the SUMO E3-ligase Su(var)2–10, revealing that although SUMOylation of TIF1 proteins is conserved between insects and mammals, both the mechanism and specific site of modification is different in the two taxa. Together, our work identified Bonus as a regulator of tissue-specific gene expression and revealed the importance of SUMOylation as a regulator of complex formation in the context of transcriptional repression.