bims-crepig Biomed News
on Chromatin regulation and epigenetics in cell fate and cancer
Issue of 2024‒06‒02
29 papers selected by
Connor Rogerson, University of Cambridge

  1. Mol Cell. 2024 May 20. pii: S1097-2765(24)00396-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Facilitates chromatin transcription (FACT) is a histone chaperone that supports transcription through chromatin in vitro, but its functional roles in vivo remain unclear. Here, we analyze the in vivo functions of FACT with the use of multi-omics analysis after rapid FACT depletion from human cells. We show that FACT depletion destabilizes chromatin and leads to transcriptional defects, including defective promoter-proximal pausing and elongation, and increased premature termination of RNA polymerase II. Unexpectedly, our analysis revealed that promoter-proximal pausing depends not only on the negative elongation factor (NELF) but also on the +1 nucleosome, which is maintained by FACT.
    Keywords:  FACT; RNA polymerase II; chromatin; nucleosome; promoter-proximal pausing; transcription
  2. Nat Genet. 2024 May 30.
      Catalytic activity of the imitation switch (ISWI) family of remodelers is critical for nucleosomal organization and DNA binding of certain transcription factors, including the insulator protein CTCF. Here we define the contribution of individual subcomplexes by deriving a panel of isogenic mouse stem cell lines, each lacking one of six ISWI accessory subunits. Individual deletions of subunits of either CERF, RSF, ACF, WICH or NoRC subcomplexes only moderately affect the chromatin landscape, while removal of the NURF-specific subunit BPTF leads to a strong reduction in chromatin accessibility and SNF2H ATPase localization around CTCF sites. This affects adjacent nucleosome occupancy and CTCF binding. At a group of sites with reduced chromatin accessibility, CTCF binding persists but cohesin occupancy is reduced, resulting in decreased insulation. These results suggest that CTCF binding can be separated from its function as an insulator in nuclear organization and identify a specific role for NURF in mediating SNF2H localization and chromatin opening at bound CTCF sites.
  3. Mol Cell. 2024 May 27. pii: S1097-2765(24)00400-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK7), part of the general transcription factor TFIIH, promotes gene transcription by phosphorylating the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II (RNA Pol II). Here, we combine rapid CDK7 kinase inhibition with multi-omics analysis to unravel the direct functions of CDK7 in human cells. CDK7 inhibition causes RNA Pol II retention at promoters, leading to decreased RNA Pol II initiation and immediate global downregulation of transcript synthesis. Elongation, termination, and recruitment of co-transcriptional factors are not directly affected. Although RNA Pol II, initiation factors, and Mediator accumulate at promoters, RNA Pol II complexes can also proceed into gene bodies without promoter-proximal pausing while retaining initiation factors and Mediator. Further downstream, RNA Pol II phosphorylation increases and initiation factors and Mediator are released, allowing recruitment of elongation factors and an increase in RNA Pol II elongation velocity. Collectively, CDK7 kinase activity promotes the release of initiation factors and Mediator from RNA Pol II, facilitating RNA Pol II escape from the promoter.
    Keywords:  CDK7; CTD; Mediator; RNA polymerase II; analog sensitive; gene regulation; pre-initiation complex; promoter escape; transcription; transcription initiation
  4. Nat Commun. 2024 May 29. 15(1): 4561
      The mammalian SWI/SNF-like BAF complexes play critical roles during animal development and pathological conditions. Previous gene deletion studies and characterization of human gene mutations implicate that the complexes both repress and activate a large number of genes. However, the direct function of the complexes in cells remains largely unclear due to the relatively long-term nature of gene deletion or natural mutation. Here we generate a mouse line by knocking in the auxin-inducible degron tag (AID) to the Smarca4 gene, which encodes BRG1, the essential ATPase subunit of the BAF complexes. We show that the tagged BRG1 can be efficiently depleted by osTIR1 expression and auxin treatment for 6 to 10 h in CD4 + T cells, hepatocytes, and fibroblasts isolated from the knock-in mice. The acute depletion of BRG1 leads to decreases in nascent RNAs and RNA polymerase II binding at a large number of genes, which are positively correlated with the loss of BRG1. Further, these changes are correlated with diminished accessibility at DNase I Hypersensitive Sites (DHSs) and p300 binding. The acute BRG1 depletion results in three major patterns of nucleosome shifts leading to narrower nucleosome spacing surrounding transcription factor motifs and at enhancers and transcription start sites (TSSs), which are correlated with loss of BRG1, decreased chromatin accessibility and decreased nascent RNAs. Acute depletion of BRG1 severely compromises the Trichostatin A (TSA) -induced histone acetylation, suggesting a substantial interplay between the chromatin remodeling activity of BRG1 and histone acetylation. Our data suggest BRG1 mainly plays a direct positive role in chromatin accessibility, RNAPII binding, and nascent RNA production by regulating nucleosome positioning and facilitating transcription factor binding to their target sites.
  5. Sci Adv. 2024 May 31. 10(22): eadm9449
      Pediatric cancers are frequently driven by genomic alterations that result in aberrant transcription factor activity. Here, we used functional genomic screens to identify multiple genes within the transcriptional coactivator Spt-Ada-Gcn5-acetyltransferase (SAGA) complex as selective dependencies for MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma, a disease of dysregulated development driven by an aberrant oncogenic transcriptional program. We characterized the DNA recruitment sites of the SAGA complex in neuroblastoma and the consequences of loss of SAGA complex lysine acetyltransferase (KAT) activity on histone acetylation and gene expression. We demonstrate that loss of SAGA complex KAT activity is associated with reduced MYCN binding on chromatin, suppression of MYC/MYCN gene expression programs, and impaired cell cycle progression. Further, we showed that the SAGA complex is pharmacologically targetable in vitro and in vivo with a KAT2A/KAT2B proteolysis targeting chimeric. Our findings expand our understanding of the histone-modifying complexes that maintain the oncogenic transcriptional state in this disease and suggest therapeutic potential for inhibitors of SAGA KAT activity in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
  6. Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 May 30. pii: gkae449. [Epub ahead of print]
      Methylation of histone H3 at lysine 36 (H3K36me3) marks active chromatin. The mark is interpreted by epigenetic readers that assist transcription and safeguard the integrity of the chromatin fiber. The chromodomain protein MSL3 binds H3K36me3 to target X-chromosomal genes in male Drosophila for dosage compensation. The PWWP-domain protein JASPer recruits the JIL1 kinase to active chromatin on all chromosomes. Unexpectedly, depletion of K36me3 had variable, locus-specific effects on the interactions of those readers. This observation motivated a systematic and comprehensive study of K36 methylation in a defined cellular model. Contrasting prevailing models, we found that K36me1, K36me2 and K36me3 each contribute to distinct chromatin states. A gene-centric view of the changing K36 methylation landscape upon depletion of the three methyltransferases Set2, NSD and Ash1 revealed local, context-specific methylation signatures. Set2 catalyzes K36me3 predominantly at transcriptionally active euchromatin. NSD places K36me2/3 at defined loci within pericentric heterochromatin and on weakly transcribed euchromatic genes. Ash1 deposits K36me1 at regions with enhancer signatures. The genome-wide mapping of MSL3 and JASPer suggested that they bind K36me2 in addition to K36me3, which was confirmed by direct affinity measurement. This dual specificity attracts the readers to a broader range of chromosomal locations and increases the robustness of their actions.
  7. Elife. 2024 May 30. pii: RP89353. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Silencing pathways prevent transposable element (TE) proliferation and help to maintain genome integrity through cell division. Silenced genomic regions can be classified as either euchromatic or heterochromatic, and are targeted by genetically separable epigenetic pathways. In plants, the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway targets mostly euchromatic regions, while CMT DNA methyltransferases are mainly associated with heterochromatin. However, many epigenetic features - including DNA methylation patterning - are largely indistinguishable between these regions, so how the functional separation is maintained is unclear. The linker histone H1 is preferentially localized to heterochromatin and has been proposed to restrict RdDM from encroachment. To test this hypothesis, we followed RdDM genomic localization in an h1 mutant by performing ChIP-seq on the largest subunit, NRPE1, of the central RdDM polymerase, Pol V. Loss of H1 resulted in NRPE1 enrichment predominantly in heterochromatic TEs. Increased NRPE1 binding was associated with increased chromatin accessibility in h1, suggesting that H1 restricts NRPE1 occupancy by compacting chromatin. However, RdDM occupancy did not impact H1 localization, demonstrating that H1 hierarchically restricts RdDM positioning. H1 mutants experience major symmetric (CG and CHG) DNA methylation gains, and by generating an h1/nrpe1 double mutant, we demonstrate these gains are largely independent of RdDM. However, loss of NRPE1 occupancy from a subset of euchromatic regions in h1 corresponded to the loss of methylation in all sequence contexts, while at ectopically bound heterochromatic loci, NRPE1 deposition correlated with increased methylation specifically in the CHH context. Additionally, we found that H1 similarly restricts the occupancy of the methylation reader, SUVH1, and polycomb-mediated H3K27me3. Together, the results support a model whereby H1 helps maintain the exclusivity of heterochromatin by preventing encroachment from other competing pathways.
    Keywords:  A. thaliana; DNA methylation; RdDM; epigenetics; plant biology
  8. Nat Commun. 2024 May 28. 15(1): 4526
      One elusive aspect of the chromosome architecture is how it constrains the DNA topology. Nucleosomes stabilise negative DNA supercoils by restraining a DNA linking number difference (∆Lk) of about -1.26. However, whether this capacity is uniform across the genome is unknown. Here, we calculate the ∆Lk restrained by over 4000 nucleosomes in yeast cells. To achieve this, we insert each nucleosome in a circular minichromosome and perform Topo-seq, a high-throughput procedure to inspect the topology of circular DNA libraries in one gel electrophoresis. We show that nucleosomes inherently restrain distinct ∆Lk values depending on their genomic origin. Nucleosome DNA topologies differ at gene bodies (∆Lk = -1.29), intergenic regions (∆Lk = -1.23), rDNA genes (∆Lk = -1.24) and telomeric regions (∆Lk = -1.07). Nucleosomes near the transcription start and termination sites also exhibit singular DNA topologies. Our findings demonstrate that nucleosome DNA topology is imprinted by its native chromatin context and persists when the nucleosome is relocated.
  9. Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 May 29. pii: gkae457. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cohesin plays a crucial role in the organization of topologically-associated domains (TADs), which influence gene expression and DNA replication timing. Whether epigenetic regulators may affect TADs via cohesin to mediate DNA replication remains elusive. Here, we discover that the histone demethylase PHF2 associates with RAD21, a core subunit of cohesin, to regulate DNA replication in mouse neural stem cells (NSC). PHF2 loss impairs DNA replication due to the activation of dormant replication origins in NSC. Notably, the PHF2/RAD21 co-bound genomic regions are characterized by CTCF enrichment and epigenomic features that resemble efficient, active replication origins, and can act as boundaries to separate adjacent domains. Accordingly, PHF2 loss weakens TADs and chromatin loops at the co-bound loci due to reduced RAD21 occupancy. The observed topological and DNA replication defects in PHF2 KO NSC support a cohesin-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the PHF2/RAD21 complex exerts little effect on gene regulation, and that PHF2's histone-demethylase activity is dispensable for normal DNA replication and proliferation of NSC. We propose that PHF2 may serve as a topological accessory to cohesin for cohesin localization to TADs and chromatin loops, where cohesin represses dormant replication origins directly or indirectly, to sustain DNA replication in NSC.
  10. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2024 May 29.
      Dysregulation and enhanced expression of MYC transcription factors (TFs) including MYC and MYCN contribute to the majority of human cancers. For example, MYCN is amplified up to several hundredfold in high-risk neuroblastoma. The resulting overexpression of N-myc aberrantly activates genes that are not activated at low N-myc levels and drives cell proliferation. Whether increasing N-myc levels simply mediates binding to lower-affinity binding sites in the genome or fundamentally changes the activation process remains unclear. One such activation mechanism that could become important above threshold levels of N-myc is the formation of aberrant transcriptional condensates through phase separation. Phase separation has recently been linked to transcriptional regulation, but the extent to which it contributes to gene activation remains an open question. Here we characterized the phase behavior of N-myc and showed that it can form dynamic condensates that have transcriptional hallmarks. We tested the role of phase separation in N-myc-regulated transcription by using a chemogenetic tool that allowed us to compare non-phase-separated and phase-separated conditions at equivalent N-myc levels, both of which showed a strong impact on gene expression compared to no N-myc expression. Interestingly, we discovered that only a small percentage (<3%) of N-myc-regulated genes is further modulated by phase separation but that these events include the activation of key oncogenes and the repression of tumor suppressors. Indeed, phase separation increases cell proliferation, corroborating the biological effects of the transcriptional changes. However, our results also show that >97% of N-myc-regulated genes are not affected by N-myc phase separation, demonstrating that soluble complexes of TFs with the transcriptional machinery are sufficient to activate transcription.
  11. Nat Commun. 2024 May 28. 15(1): 4521
      Topologically associated domains (TADs) restrict promoter-enhancer interactions, thereby maintaining the spatiotemporal pattern of gene activity. However, rearrangements of the TADs boundaries do not always lead to significant changes in the activity pattern. Here, we investigated the consequences of the TAD boundaries deletion on the expression of developmentally important genes encoding tyrosine kinase receptors: Kit, Kdr, Pdgfra. We used genome editing in mice to delete the TADs boundaries at the Kit locus and characterized chromatin folding and gene expression in pure cultures of fibroblasts, mast cells, and melanocytes. We found that although Kit is highly active in both mast cells and melanocytes, deletion of the TAD boundary between the Kit and Kdr genes results in ectopic activation only in melanocytes. Thus, the epigenetic landscape, namely the mutual arrangement of enhancers and actively transcribing genes, is important for predicting the consequences of the TAD boundaries removal. We also found that mice without a TAD border between the Kit and Kdr genes have a phenotypic manifestation of the mutation - a lighter coloration. Thus, the data obtained shed light on the principles of interaction between the 3D chromatin organization and epigenetic marks in the regulation of gene activity.
  12. Genes Cells. 2024 May 29.
      DNA methyltransferases and Ten-Eleven Translocation (TET) proteins regulate the DNA methylation and demethylation cycles during mouse embryonic development. Although DNMT1 mainly plays a role in the maintenance of DNA methylation after DNA replication, it is also reported to possess de novo methyltransferase capacity. However, its physiological significance remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that full-length DNMT1 (FL) and a mutant lacking the N-terminus necessary for its maintenance activity (602) confer the differentiation potential of mouse Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, and Dnmt3b (Dnmts-TKO) embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Both FL and 602 inhibit the spontaneous differentiation of Dnmts-TKO ESCs in the undifferentiated state. Dnmts-TKO ESCs showed loss of DNA methylation and de-repression of primitive endoderm-related genes, but these defects were partially restored in Dnmts-TKO + FL and Dnmts-TKO + 602 ESCs. Upon differentiation, Dnmts-TKO + FL ESCs show increased 5mC and 5hmC levels across chromosomes, including pericentromeric regions. In contrast, Dnmts-TKO + 602 ESCs didn't accumulate 5mC, and sister chromatids showed 5hmC asynchronously. Furthermore, in comparison with DNMT1_602, DNMT1_FL effectively promoted commitment to the epiblast-like cells and beyond, driving cell-autonomous mesendodermal and germline differentiation through embryoid body-based methods. With precise target selectivity achieved by its N-terminal region, DNMT1 may play a role in gene regulation leading to germline development.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; Dnmt1; embryonic stem cells; epigenetics
  13. iScience. 2024 Jun 21. 27(6): 109914
      RNA polymerase II (Pol II) has a C-terminal domain (CTD) that is unstructured, consisting of a large number of heptad repeats, and whose precise function remains unclear. Here, we investigate how altering the CTD's length and fusing it with protein tags affects transcriptional output on a genome-wide scale in mammalian cells at single-cell resolution. While transcription generally appears to occur in burst-like fashion, where RNA is predominantly made during short bursts of activity that are interspersed with periods of transcriptional silence, the CTD's role in shaping these dynamics seems gene-dependent; global patterns of bursting appear mostly robust to CTD alterations. Introducing protein tags with defined structures to the N terminus cause transcriptome-wide effects, however. We find the type of tag to dominate characteristics of the resulting transcriptomes. This is possibly due to Pol II-interacting factors, including non-coding RNAs, whose expression correlates with the tags. Proteins involved in liquid-liquid phase separation appear prominently.
    Keywords:  Biophysics; Molecular biology; Transcriptomics
  14. Nat Commun. 2024 May 30. 15(1): 4622
      The 5'-end capping of nascent pre-mRNA represents the initial step in RNA processing, with evidence demonstrating that guanosine addition and 2'-O-ribose methylation occur in tandem with early steps of transcription by RNA polymerase II, especially at the pausing stage. Here, we determine the cryo-EM structures of the paused elongation complex in complex with RNGTT, as well as the paused elongation complex in complex with RNGTT and CMTR1. Our findings show the simultaneous presence of RNGTT and the NELF complex bound to RNA polymerase II. The NELF complex exhibits two conformations, one of which shows a notable rearrangement of NELF-A/D compared to that of the paused elongation complex. Moreover, CMTR1 aligns adjacent to RNGTT on the RNA polymerase II stalk. Our structures indicate that RNGTT and CMTR1 directly bind the paused elongation complex, illuminating the mechanism by which 5'-end capping of pre-mRNA during transcriptional pausing.
  15. Elife. 2024 May 29. pii: RP94869. [Epub ahead of print]13
      The yeast SWR1C chromatin remodeling enzyme catalyzes the ATP-dependent exchange of nucleosomal histone H2A for the histone variant H2A.Z, a key variant involved in a multitude of nuclear functions. How the 14-subunit SWR1C engages the nucleosomal substrate remains largely unknown. Studies on the ISWI, CHD1, and SWI/SNF families of chromatin remodeling enzymes have demonstrated key roles for the nucleosomal acidic patch for remodeling activity, however a role for this nucleosomal epitope in nucleosome editing by SWR1C has not been tested. Here, we employ a variety of biochemical assays to demonstrate an essential role for the acidic patch in the H2A.Z exchange reaction. Utilizing asymmetrically assembled nucleosomes, we demonstrate that the acidic patches on each face of the nucleosome are required for SWR1C-mediated dimer exchange, suggesting SWR1C engages the nucleosome in a 'pincer-like' conformation, engaging both patches simultaneously. Loss of a single acidic patch results in loss of high affinity nucleosome binding and nucleosomal stimulation of ATPase activity. We identify a conserved arginine-rich motif within the Swc5 subunit that binds the acidic patch and is key for dimer exchange activity. In addition, our cryoEM structure of a Swc5-nucleosome complex suggests that promoter proximal, histone H2B ubiquitylation may regulate H2A.Z deposition. Together these findings provide new insights into how SWR1C engages its nucleosomal substrate to promote efficient H2A.Z deposition.
    Keywords:  H2A.Z; S. cerevisiae; SWR1C; biochemistry; chemical biology; chromatin; nucleosome; transcription; yeast
  16. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2024 Jun 04. 121(23): e2318740121
      Repressor element-1 silencing transcription factor (REST) is required for the formation of mature neurons. REST dysregulation underlies a key mechanism of neurodegeneration associated with neurological disorders. However, the mechanisms leading to alterations of REST-mediated silencing of key neurogenesis genes are not known. Here, we show that BRCA1 Associated ATM Activator 1 (BRAT1), a gene linked to neurodegenerative diseases, is required for the activation of REST-responsive genes during neuronal differentiation. We find that INTS11 and INTS9 subunits of Integrator complex interact with BRAT1 as a distinct trimeric complex to activate critical neuronal genes during differentiation. BRAT1 depletion results in persistence of REST residence on critical neuronal genes disrupting the differentiation of NT2 cells into astrocytes and neuronal cells. We identified BRAT1 and INTS11 co-occupying the promoter region of these genes and pinpoint a role for BRAT1 in recruiting INTS11 to their promoters. Disease-causing mutations in BRAT1 diminish its association with INTS11/INTS9, linking the manifestation of disease phenotypes with a defect in transcriptional activation of key neuronal genes by BRAT1/INTS11/INTS9 complex. Finally, loss of Brat1 in mouse embryonic stem cells leads to a defect in neuronal differentiation assay. Importantly, while reconstitution with wild-type BRAT1 restores neuronal differentiation, the addition of a BRAT1 mutant is unable to associate with INTS11/INTS9 and fails to rescue the neuronal phenotype. Taken together, our study highlights the importance of BRAT1 association with INTS11 and INTS9 in the development of the nervous system.
    Keywords:  BRAT1; Integrator; REST; neuronal differentiation; transcription
  17. PLoS Genet. 2024 May 28. 20(5): e1011278
      Chromatin organization plays a crucial role in gene regulation by controlling the accessibility of DNA to transcription machinery. While significant progress has been made in understanding the regulatory role of clock proteins in circadian rhythms, how chromatin organization affects circadian rhythms remains poorly understood. Here, we employed ATAC-seq (Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin with Sequencing) on FAC-sorted Drosophila clock neurons to assess genome-wide chromatin accessibility at dawn and dusk over the circadian cycle. We observed significant oscillations in chromatin accessibility at promoter and enhancer regions of hundreds of genes, with enhanced accessibility either at dusk or dawn, which correlated with their peak transcriptional activity. Notably, genes with enhanced accessibility at dusk were enriched with E-box motifs, while those more accessible at dawn were enriched with VRI/PDP1-box motifs, indicating that they are regulated by the core circadian feedback loops, PER/CLK and VRI/PDP1, respectively. Further, we observed a complete loss of chromatin accessibility rhythms in per01 null mutants, with chromatin consistently accessible at both dawn and dusk, underscoring the critical role of Period protein in driving chromatin compaction during the repression phase at dawn. Together, this study demonstrates the significant role of chromatin organization in circadian regulation, revealing how the interplay between clock proteins and chromatin structure orchestrates the precise timing of biological processes throughout the day. This work further implies that variations in chromatin accessibility might play a central role in the generation of diverse circadian gene expression patterns in clock neurons.
  18. Mol Cell. 2024 May 18. pii: S1097-2765(24)00395-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Whether and how histone post-translational modifications and the proteins that bind them drive 3D genome organization remains unanswered. Here, we evaluate the contribution of H3K9-methylated constitutive heterochromatin to 3D genome organization in Drosophila tissues. We find that the predominant organizational feature of wild-type tissues is the segregation of euchromatic chromosome arms from heterochromatic pericentromeres. Reciprocal perturbation of HP1a⋅H3K9me binding, using a point mutation in the HP1a chromodomain or replacement of the replication-dependent histone H3 with H3K9R mutant histones, revealed that HP1a binding to methylated H3K9 in constitutive heterochromatin is required to limit contact frequency between pericentromeres and chromosome arms and regulate the distance between arm and pericentromeric regions. Surprisingly, the self-association of pericentromeric regions is largely preserved despite the loss of H3K9 methylation and HP1a occupancy. Thus, the HP1a⋅H3K9 interaction contributes to but does not solely drive the segregation of euchromatin and heterochromatin inside the nucleus.
    Keywords:  3D genome organization; HP1; heterochromatin; histone H3K9
  19. Nat Genet. 2024 May 29.
      Cis-regulatory elements (CREs) interact with trans regulators to orchestrate gene expression, but how transcriptional regulation is coordinated in multi-gene loci has not been experimentally defined. We sought to characterize the CREs controlling dynamic expression of the adjacent costimulatory genes CD28, CTLA4 and ICOS, encoding regulators of T cell-mediated immunity. Tiling CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) screens in primary human T cells, both conventional and regulatory subsets, uncovered gene-, cell subset- and stimulation-specific CREs. Integration with CRISPR knockout screens and assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing (ATAC-seq) profiling identified trans regulators influencing chromatin states at specific CRISPRi-responsive elements to control costimulatory gene expression. We then discovered a critical CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) boundary that reinforces CRE interaction with CTLA4 while also preventing promiscuous activation of CD28. By systematically mapping CREs and associated trans regulators directly in primary human T cell subsets, this work overcomes longstanding experimental limitations to decode context-dependent gene regulatory programs in a complex, multi-gene locus critical to immune homeostasis.
  20. Sci Rep. 2024 05 30. 14(1): 12477
      Dysregulated Wnt/β-catenin signaling is a common feature of colorectal cancer (CRC). The T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor (TCF/LEF; hereafter, TCF) family of transcription factors are critical regulators of Wnt/β-catenin target gene expression. Of the four TCF family members, TCF7L1 predominantly functions as a transcriptional repressor. Although TCF7L1 has been ascribed an oncogenic role in CRC, only a few target genes whose expression it regulates have been characterized in this cancer. Through transcriptome analyses of TCF7L1 regulated genes, we noted enrichment for those associated with cellular migration. By silencing and overexpressing TCF7L1 in CRC cell lines, we demonstrated that TCF7L1 promoted migration, invasion, and adhesion. We localized TCF7L1 binding across the CRC genome and overlapped enriched regions with transcriptome data to identify candidate target genes. The growth arrest-specific 1 (GAS1) gene was among these and we demonstrated that GAS1 is a critical mediator of TCF7L1-dependent CRC cell migratory phenotypes. Together, these findings uncover a novel role for TCF7L1 in repressing GAS1 expression to enhance migration and invasion of CRC cells.
  21. Nat Commun. 2024 May 31. 15(1): 4634
      The master DNA damage repair histone protein, H2AX, is essential for orchestrating the recruitment of downstream mediator and effector proteins at damaged chromatin. The phosphorylation of H2AX at S139, γH2AX, is well-studied for its DNA repair function. However, the extended C-terminal tail is not characterized. Here, we define the minimal motif on H2AX for the canonical function in activating the MDC1-RNF8-RNF168 phosphorylation-ubiquitination pathway that is important for recruiting repair proteins, such as 53BP1 and BRCA1. Interestingly, H2AX recruits 53BP1 independently from the MDC1-RNF8-RNF168 pathway through its evolved C-terminal linker region with S139 phosphorylation. Mechanistically, 53BP1 recruitment to damaged chromatin is mediated by the interaction between the H2AX C-terminal tail and the 53BP1 Oligomerization-Tudor domains. Moreover, γH2AX-linker mediated 53BP1 recruitment leads to camptothecin resistance in H2AX knockout cells. Overall, our study uncovers an evolved mechanism within the H2AX C-terminal tail for regulating DNA repair proteins at damaged chromatin.
  22. Nat Metab. 2024 May;6(5): 847-860
      Adipose tissues serve as an energy reservoir and endocrine organ, yet the mechanisms that coordinate these functions remain elusive. Here, we show that the transcriptional coregulators, YAP and TAZ, uncouple fat mass from leptin levels and regulate adipocyte plasticity to maintain metabolic homeostasis. Activating YAP/TAZ signalling in adipocytes by deletion of the upstream regulators Lats1 and Lats2 results in a profound reduction in fat mass by converting mature adipocytes into delipidated progenitor-like cells, but does not cause lipodystrophy-related metabolic dysfunction, due to a paradoxical increase in circulating leptin levels. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that YAP/TAZ-TEAD signalling upregulates leptin expression by directly binding to an upstream enhancer site of the leptin gene. We further show that YAP/TAZ activity is associated with, and functionally required for, leptin regulation during fasting and refeeding. These results suggest that adipocyte Hippo-YAP/TAZ signalling constitutes a nexus for coordinating adipose tissue lipid storage capacity and systemic energy balance through the regulation of adipocyte plasticity and leptin gene transcription.
  23. Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 May 27. pii: gkae436. [Epub ahead of print]
      The RNA polymerase II carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) consists of conserved heptapeptide repeats that can be phosphorylated to influence distinct stages of the transcription cycle, including RNA processing. Although CTD-associated proteins have been identified, phospho-dependent CTD interactions have remained elusive. Proximity-dependent biotinylation (PDB) has recently emerged as an alternative approach to identify protein-protein associations in the native cellular environment. In this study, we present a PDB-based map of the fission yeast RNAPII CTD interactome in living cells and identify phospho-dependent CTD interactions by using a mutant in which Ser2 was replaced by alanine in every repeat of the fission yeast CTD. This approach revealed that CTD Ser2 phosphorylation is critical for the association between RNAPII and the histone methyltransferase Set2 during transcription elongation, but is not required for 3' end processing and transcription termination. Accordingly, loss of CTD Ser2 phosphorylation causes a global increase in antisense transcription, correlating with elevated histone acetylation in gene bodies. Our findings reveal that the fundamental role of CTD Ser2 phosphorylation is to establish a chromatin-based repressive state that prevents cryptic intragenic transcription initiation.
  24. Nat Commun. 2024 May 25. 15(1): 4460
      In plants, the plant-specific RNA polymerase V (Pol V) transcripts non-coding RNAs and provides a docking platform for the association of accessory proteins in the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway. Various components have been uncovered that are involved in the process of DNA methylation, but it is still not clear how the transcription of Pol V is regulated. Here, we report that the conserved RNA polymerase II (Pol II) elongator, SPT6L, binds to thousands of intergenic regions in a Pol II-independent manner. The intergenic enrichment of SPT6L, interestingly, co-occupies with the largest subunit of Pol V (NRPE1) and mutation of SPT6L leads to the reduction of DNA methylation but not Pol V enrichment. Furthermore, the association of SPT6L at Pol V loci is dependent on the Pol V associated factor, SPT5L, rather than the presence of Pol V, and the interaction between SPT6L and NRPE1 is compromised in spt5l. Finally, Pol V RIP-seq reveals that SPT6L is required to maintain the amount and length of Pol V transcripts. Our findings thus uncover the critical role of a Pol II conserved elongator in Pol V mediated DNA methylation and transcription, and shed light on the mutual regulation between Pol V and II in plants.
  25. Oncogene. 2024 May 27.
      The MUC1 gene evolved in mammals for adaptation of barrier tissues in response to infections and damage. Paraspeckles are nuclear bodies formed on the NEAT1 lncRNA in response to loss of homeostasis. There is no known intersection of MUC1 with NEAT1 or paraspeckles. Here, we demonstrate that the MUC1-C subunit plays an essential role in regulating NEAT1 expression. MUC1-C activates the NEAT1 gene with induction of the NEAT1_1 and NEAT1_2 isoforms by NF-κB- and MYC-mediated mechanisms. MUC1-C/MYC signaling also induces expression of the SFPQ, NONO and FUS RNA binding proteins (RBPs) that associate with NEAT1_2 and are necessary for paraspeckle formation. MUC1-C integrates activation of NEAT1 and RBP-encoding genes by recruiting the PBAF chromatin remodeling complex and increasing chromatin accessibility of their respective regulatory regions. We further demonstrate that MUC1-C and NEAT1 form an auto-inductive pathway that drives common sets of genes conferring responses to inflammation and loss of homeostasis. Of functional significance, we find that the MUC1-C/NEAT1 pathway is of importance for the cancer stem cell (CSC) state and anti-cancer drug resistance. These findings identify a previously unrecognized role for MUC1-C in the regulation of NEAT1, RBPs, and paraspeckles that has been co-opted in promoting cancer progression.
  26. Nature. 2024 May 29.
      The prime editor system composed of Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 nickase (nSpCas9) and engineered Moloney murine leukaemia virus reverse transcriptase (M-MLV RT) collaborates with a prime editing guide RNA (pegRNA) to facilitate a wide variety of precise genome edits in living cells1. However, owing to a lack of structural information, the molecular mechanism of pegRNA-guided reverse transcription by the prime editor remains poorly understood. Here we present cryo-electron microscopy structures of the SpCas9-M-MLV RTΔRNaseH-pegRNA-target DNA complex in multiple states. The termination structure, along with our functional analysis, reveals that M-MLV RT extends reverse transcription beyond the expected site, resulting in scaffold-derived incorporations that cause undesired edits at the target loci. Furthermore, structural comparisons among the pre-initiation, initiation and elongation states show that M-MLV RT remains in a consistent position relative to SpCas9 during reverse transcription, whereas the pegRNA-synthesized DNA heteroduplex builds up along the surface of SpCas9. On the basis of our structural insights, we rationally engineered pegRNA variants and prime-editor variants in which M-MLV RT is fused within SpCas9. Collectively, our findings provide structural insights into the stepwise mechanism of prime editing, and will pave the way for the development of a versatile prime editing toolbox.
  27. J Biol Chem. 2024 May 23. pii: S0021-9258(24)01912-4. [Epub ahead of print] 107411
      The myocyte enhancer factor (MEF2) family of transcription factors, originally discovered for its pivotal role in muscle development and function, has emerged as an essential regulator in various aspects of brain development and neuronal plasticity. The MEF2 transcription factors are known to regulate numerous important genes in the nervous system, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a small secreted neurotrophin responsible for promoting the survival, growth, and differentiation of neurons. The expression of the Bdnf gene is spatiotemporally controlled by various transcription factors binding to both its proximal and distal regulatory regions. While previous studies have investigated the connection between MEF2 transcription factors and Bdnf, the endogenous function of MEF2 factors in the transcriptional regulation of Bdnf remains largely unknown. Here, we aimed to deepen the knowledge of MEF2 transcription factors and their role in the regulation of Bdnf comparatively in rat cortical and hippocampal neurons. As a result, we demonstrate that the MEF2 transcription factor-dependent enhancer located at -4.8 kb from the Bdnf gene regulates the endogenous expression of Bdnf in hippocampal neurons. In addition, we confirm neuronal-activity dependent activation of the -4.8 kb enhancer in vivo. Finally, we show that specific MEF2 family transcription factors have unique roles in regulation of Bdnf, with the specific function varying based on the particular brain region and stimuli. Altogether, we present MEF2 family transcription factors as crucial regulators of Bdnf expression, finetuning Bdnf expression through both distal and proximal regulatory regions.
    Keywords:  BDNF; MEF2; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; cortex; enhancer; hippocampus; myocyte enhancer factor 2; transcriptional regulation
  28. Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 May 29. pii: gkae454. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chromatin three-dimensional (3D) organization inside the cell nucleus determines the separation of euchromatin and heterochromatin domains. Their segregation results in the definition of active and inactive chromatin compartments, whereby the local concentration of associated proteins, RNA and DNA results in the formation of distinct subnuclear structures. Thus, chromatin domains spatially confined in a specific 3D nuclear compartment are expected to share similar epigenetic features and biochemical properties, in terms of accessibility and solubility. Based on this rationale, we developed the 4f-SAMMY-seq to map euchromatin and heterochromatin based on their accessibility and solubility, starting from as little as 10 000 cells. Adopting a tailored bioinformatic data analysis approach we reconstruct also their 3D segregation in active and inactive chromatin compartments and sub-compartments, thus recapitulating the characteristic properties of distinct chromatin states. A key novelty of the new method is the capability to map both the linear segmentation of open and closed chromatin domains, as well as their compartmentalization in one single experiment.
  29. Cell Death Differ. 2024 May 30.
      Bromodomain containing protein 9 (BRD9), a member of the non-canonical BRG1/BRM-associated factor (ncBAF) chromatin remodeling complex, has been implicated as a synthetic lethal target in AML but its function in normal human hematopoiesis is unknown. In hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) genomic or chemical inhibition of BRD9 led to a proliferative disadvantage and loss of stem cells in vitro. Human HSPCs with reduced BRD9 protein levels produced lower numbers of immature mixed multipotent GEMM colonies in semi-solid media. In lineage-promoting culture conditions, cells with reduced BRD9 levels failed to differentiate into the megakaryocytic lineage and showed delayed differentiation into erythroid cells but enhanced terminal myeloid differentiation. HSPCs with BRD9 knock down (KD) had reduced long-term multilineage engraftment in a xenotransplantation assay. An increased number of downregulated genes in RNAseq analysis after BRD9 KD coupled with a gain in chromatin accessibility at the promoters of several repressive transcription factors (TF) suggest that BRD9 functions in the maintenance of active transcription during HSC differentiation. In particular, the hematopoietic master regulator GATA1 was identified as one of the core TFs regulating the gene networks modulated by BRD9 loss in HSPCs. BRD9 inhibition reduced a GATA1-luciferase reporter signal, further suggesting a role for BRD9 in regulating GATA1 activity. BRD9 is therefore an additional example of epigenetic regulation of human hematopoiesis.