DNA methylation, repressive histone modifications, and PIWI-interacting RNAs are essential for controlling retroelement silencing in mammalian germ lines. Dysregulation of retroelement silencing is associated with male sterility. Although retroelement silencing mechanisms have been extensively studied in mouse germ cells, little progress has been made in humans. Here, we show that the Krüppel-associated box domain zinc finger proteins (KRAB-ZFPs) are associated with DNA methylation of retroelements in human primordial germ cells (hPGCs). Further, we show that the hominoid-specific retroelement SINE-VNTR-Alus (SVA) is subjected to transcription-directed de novo DNA methylation during human spermatogenesis. The degree of de novo DNA methylation in SVAs varies among human individuals, which confers significant inter-individual epigenetic variation in sperm. Collectively, our results highlight potential molecular mechanisms for the regulation of retroelements in human male germ cells.
All reads from amplicon-seq in this study have been submitted to the Gene Expression Omnibus under accession number GSE174562.
Amplicon-seq of SVA methylation in human spermNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE174562.
ChIP-exo of human KRAB-ZNFs transduced in HEK 293T cells and KAP1 in hES H1 cellsNCBI Gene Expression OmnibusGSE78099.
The Transcriptome and DNA Methylome Landscapes of Human Primordial Germ CellsNCBI Gene Expression OmnibusGSE63818.
Chromatin and Transcription Transitions of Mammalian Adult Germline Stem Cells and SpermatogenesisNCBI Gene Expression OmnibusGSE49624.
Genome-Wide Analysis of DNA Methylation Dynamics during Early Human Developmentthe Japanese Genotype-phenotype Archive, JGAS00000000006.
Neonatal and adult human testis defined at the single-cell levelNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus,GSE124263.
- Yoichi Shinkai
- Kei Fukuda
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: This study was approved by the ethics committees of RIKEN, Tokyo University, and Ichikawa General Hospital.All study participants were briefed about the aims of the study and the parameters to be measured, and consent was obtained.
- Deborah Bourc'his, Institut Curie, France
© 2022, Fukuda 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.
Asynchronous replication of chromosome domains during S phase is essential for eukaryotic genome function, but the mechanisms establishing which domains replicate early versus late in different cell types remain incompletely understood. Intercalary heterochromatin domains replicate very late in both diploid chromosomes of dividing cells and in endoreplicating polytene chromosomes where they are also underrelicated. Drosophila SNF2-related factor SUUR imparts locus-specific underreplication of polytene chromosomes. SUUR negatively regulates DNA replication fork progression; however, its mechanism of action remains obscure. Here we developed a novel method termed MS-Enabled Rapid protein Complex Identification (MERCI) to isolate a stable stoichiometric native complex SUMM4 that comprises SUUR and a chromatin boundary protein Mod(Mdg4)-67.2. Mod(Mdg4) stimulates SUUR ATPase activity and is required for a normal spatiotemporal distribution of SUUR in vivo. SUUR and Mod(Mdg4)-67.2 together mediate the activities of gypsy insulator that prevent certain enhancer-promoter interactions and establish euchromatin-heterochromatin barriers in the genome. Furthermore, SuUR or mod(mdg4) mutations reverse underreplication of intercalary heterochromatin. Thus, SUMM4 can impart late replication of intercalary heterochromatin by attenuating the progression of replication forks through euchromatin/heterochromatin boundaries. Our findings implicate a SNF2 family ATP-dependent motor protein SUUR in the insulator function, reveal that DNA replication can be delayed by a chromatin barrier and uncover a critical role for architectural proteins in replication control. They suggest a mechanism for the establishment of late replication that does not depend on an asynchronous firing of late replication origins.
Alternative polyadenylation yields many mRNA isoforms whose 3' termini occur disproportionately in clusters within 3' UTRs. Previously, we showed that profiles of poly(A) site usage are regulated by the rate of transcriptional elongation by RNA polymerase (Pol) II (Geisberg et., 2020). Pol II derivatives with slow elongation rates confer an upstream-shifted poly(A) profile, whereas fast Pol II strains confer a downstream-shifted poly(A) profile. Within yeast isoform clusters, these shifts occur steadily from one isoform to the next across nucleotide distances. In contrast, the shift between clusters from the last isoform of one cluster to the first isoform of the next - is much less pronounced, even over large distances. GC content in a region 13-30 nt downstream from isoform clusters correlates with their sensitivity to Pol II elongation rate. In human cells, the upstream shift caused by a slow Pol II mutant also occurs continuously at the nucleotide level within clusters, but not between them. Pol II occupancy increases just downstream of the most speed-sensitive poly(A) sites, suggesting a linkage between reduced elongation rate and cluster formation. These observations suggest that 1) Pol II elongation speed affects the nucleotide-level dwell time allowing polyadenylation to occur, 2) poly(A) site clusters are linked to the local elongation rate and hence do not arise simply by intrinsically imprecise cleavage and polyadenylation of the RNA substrate, 3) DNA sequence elements can affect Pol II elongation and poly(A) profiles, and 4) the cleavage/polyadenylation and Pol II elongation complexes are spatially, and perhaps physically, coupled so that polyadenylation occurs rapidly upon emergence of the nascent RNA from the Pol II elongation complex.