Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) SWI/SNF is a prototype for a large family of ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling enzymes that facilitate numerous DNA-mediated processes. Swi2/Snf2 is the catalytic subunit of SWI/SNF, and it is the founding member of a novel subfamily of the SF2 superfamily of DNA helicase/ATPases. Here we present a functional analysis of the diagnostic set of helicase/ATPase sequence motifs found within all Swi2p/Snf2p family members. Whereas many of these motifs play key roles in ATP binding and/or hydrolysis, we identify residues within conserved motif V that are specifically required to couple ATP hydrolysis to chromatin-remodeling activity. Interestingly, motif V of the human Swi2p/Snf2p homolog, Brg1p, has been shown to be a possible hot spot for mutational alterations associated with cancers.
As part of large protein complexes, Snf2 family ATPases are responsible for energy supply during chromatin remodeling, but the precise mechanism of action of many of these proteins is largely unknown. They influence many processes in plants, such as the response to environmental stress. This analysis is the first comprehensive study of Snf2 family ATPases in plants. We here present a comparative analysis of 1159 candidate plant Snf2 genes in 33 complete and annotated plant genomes, including two green algae. The number of Snf2 ATPases shows considerable variation across plant genomes (17-63 genes). The DRD1, Rad5/16 and Snf2 subfamily members occur most often. Detailed analysis of the plant-specific DRD1 subfamily in related plant genomes shows the occurrence of a complex series of evolutionary events. Notably tomato carries unexpected gene expansions of DRD1 gene members. Most of these genes are expressed in tomato, although at low levels and with distinct tissue or organ specificity. In contrast, the Snf2 subfamily genes tend to be expressed constitutively in tomato. The results underpin and extend the Snf2 subfamily classification, which could help to determine the various functional roles of Snf2 ATPases and to target environmental stress tolerance and yield in future breeding.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Swi/Snf complex has a role in remodeling chromatin structure to facilitate transcriptional activation. The complex has 11 components, including Swi1/Adr6, Swi2/Snf2, Swi3, Snf5, Snf6, Snf11, Swp73/Snf12, and Tfg3. Mammalian homologs of these proteins have been shown to form multiple Swi/Snf-related complexes. Here we characterize an S. cerevisiae Swi3 homolog (Swh3) and present evidence that it associates in a complex with a Snf2 homolog, Sthl. We identified Swh3 as a protein that interacts with the N terminus of Snf2 in the two-hybrid system. Swh3 and Swi3 are functionally distinct, and overexpression of one does not compensate for loss of the other. Swh3 is essential for viability and does not activate transcription of reporters. The Snf2 sequence that interacts with Swh3 was mapped to a region conserved in Sth1. We show that Swh3 and Sth1 fusion proteins interact in the two-hybrid system and coimmunoprecipitate from yeast cell extracts. We also map interactions between Swh3 and Sth1 and examine the role of a leucine zipper motif in self-association of Swh3. These findings, together with previous analysis of Sth1, indicate that Swh3 and Sth1 are associated in a complex that is functionally distinct from the Swi/Snf complex and essential for viability.
Proteins with sequence similarity to the yeast Snf2 protein form a large family of ATPases that act to alter the structure of a diverse range of DNA–protein structures including chromatin. Snf2 family enzymes are related in sequence to DExx box helicases, yet they do not possess helicase activity. Recent biochemical and structural studies suggest that the mechanism by which these enzymes act involves ATP-dependent translocation on DNA. Crystal structures suggest that these enzymes travel along the minor groove, a process that can generate the torque or energy in remodelling processes. We review the recent structural and biochemical findings which suggest a common mechanistic basis underlies the action of many of both Snf2 family and DExx box helicases.
Chromatin remodeling enzymes use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to alter histone–DNA contacts and regulate DNA-based processes in eukaryotes. Whether different subfamilies of remodeling complexes generate distinct products remains uncertain. We have developed a protocol to analyze nucleosome remodeling on individual products formed in vitro. We used a DNA methyltransferase to examine DNA accessibility throughout nucleosomes that had been remodeled by the ISWI and SWI/SNF families of enzymes. We confirmed that ISWI-family enzymes mainly created patterns of accessibility consistent with canonical nucleosomes. In contrast, SWI/SNF-family enzymes generated widespread DNA accessibility. The protection patterns created by these enzymes were usually located at the extreme ends of the DNA and showed no evidence for stable loop formation on individual molecules. Instead, SWI/SNF family proteins created extensive accessibility by generating heterogeneous products that had fewer histone–DNA contacts than a canonical nucleosome, consistent with models in which a canonical histone octamer has been ‘pushed’ off of the end of the DNA.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae SNF1 protein kinase, a member of the SNF1/AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) family, is activated by three kinases, Sak1, Tos3, and Elm1, which phosphorylate the Snf1 catalytic subunit on Thr-210 in response to glucose limitation and other stresses. Sak1 is the primary Snf1-activating kinase and is associated with Snf1 in a complex. Here we examine the interaction of Sak1 with SNF1. We report that Sak1 coimmunopurifies with the Snf1 catalytic subunit from extracts of both glucose-replete and glucose-limited cultures and that interaction occurs independently of the phosphorylation state of Snf1 Thr-210, Snf1 catalytic activity, and other SNF1 subunits. Sak1 interacts with the Snf1 kinase domain, and nonconserved sequences C terminal to the Sak1 kinase domain mediate interaction with Snf1 and augment the phosphorylation and activation of Snf1. The Sak1 C terminus is modified in response to glucose depletion, dependent on SNF1 activity. Replacement of the C terminus of Elm1 (or Tos3) with that of Sak1 enhanced the ability of the Elm1 kinase domain to interact with and phosphorylate Snf1. These findings indicate that the C terminus of Sak1 confers its function as the primary Snf1-activating kinase and suggest that the physical association of Sak1 with SNF1 facilitates responses to environmental change.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae SNF2 gene affects the expression of many diversely regulated genes and has been implicated in transcriptional activation. We report here the cloning and characterization of STH1, a gene that is homologous to SNF2. STH1 is essential for mitotic growth and is functionally distinct from SNF2. A bifunctional STH1-beta-galactosidase protein is located in the nucleus. The predicted 155,914-Da STH1 protein is 72% identical to SNF2 over 661 amino acids and 46% identical over another stretch of 66 amino acids. Both STH1 and SNF2 contain a putative nucleoside triphosphate-binding site and sequences resembling the consensus helicase motifs. The large region of homology shared by STH1 and SNF2 is conserved among other eukaryotic proteins, and STH1 and SNF2 appear to define a novel family of proteins related to helicases.
Like other DNA viruses that replicate in the nucleus, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) regulates the association of histones with its genome to promote viral replication and gene expression. We previously demonstrated that SNF2H, a member of the ISWI family of chromatin-remodeling factors, is concentrated in HSV-1 replication compartments in the nuclei of infected cells, suggesting that this cellular enzyme plays a role in viral replication. We show here that small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of SNF2H in HEp-2 cells resulted in an approximately 20-fold decrease in HSV-1 replication, arguing that SNF2H promotes efficient HSV-1 replication. Decreases in HSV-1 replication were observed with multiple SNF2H-specific siRNAs, and the extent of the replication decrease correlated with the amount of SNF2H knockdown, indicating that the phenotype resulted from decreased SNF2H levels rather than off-target effects of the siRNAs. We also observed a decrease in the accumulation of immediate-early (IE) gene products in HSV-1-infected cells in which SNF2H was knocked down. Histone H3 occupancy on viral promoters was increased in HSV-1-infected cells that were transfected with SNF2H-specific siRNAs, suggesting that SNF2H promotes removal of histones from viral promoters during infection. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) studies showed that SNF2H associated with the HSV-1 genome during infection, which suggests that SNF2H may directly remodel viral chromatin. We hypothesize that SNF2H is recruited to viral promoters during HSV-1 infection, where it can remodel the chromatin state of the viral genome, facilitate the transcription of immediate-early genes, and enhance viral replication.
It is becoming increasingly appreciated that regulation of the state of chromatin is a major determinant in control of gene expression. It has also become clear that the state of chromatin of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) genome is dynamically regulated during both productive and latent stages of infection. In addition, multiple viral gene products have been reported to play roles in regulating the viral chromatin state. However, the cellular chromatin-remodeling factors involved in altering nucleosome occupancy at viral genes remain largely unknown. The results in this report represent the first evidence that cellular chromatin-remodeling proteins, and SNF2H in particular, can play important roles in regulating the chromatin state of the HSV-1 genome during infection. This work also further establishes HSV-1 infection as a useful model to study chromatin control of gene expression and suggests that disrupting the regulation of viral chromatin states can possibly be exploited as a novel antiviral therapeutic target.
Chromatin regulates many key processes in the nucleus by controlling access to the underlying DNA. SNF2-like factors are ATP-driven enzymes that play key roles in the dynamics of chromatin by remodelling nucleosomes and other nucleoprotein complexes. Even simple eukaryotes such as yeast contain members of several subfamilies of SNF2-like factors. The FUN30/ETL1 subfamily of SNF2 remodellers is conserved from yeasts to humans, but is poorly characterized. We show that the deletion of FUN30 leads to sensitivity to the topoisomerase I poison camptothecin and to severe cell cycle progression defects when the Orc5 subunit is mutated. We demonstrate a role of FUN30 in promoting silencing in the heterochromatin-like mating type locus HMR, telomeres and the rDNA repeats. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrate that Fun30 binds at the boundary element of the silent HMR and within the silent HMR. Mapping of nucleosomes in vivo using micrococcal nuclease demonstrates that deletion of FUN30 leads to changes of the chromatin structure at the boundary element. A point mutation in the ATP-binding site abrogates the silencing function of Fun30 as well as its toxicity upon overexpression, indicating that the ATPase activity is essential for these roles of Fun30. We identify by amino acid sequence analysis a putative CUE motif as a feature of FUN30/ETL1 factors and show that this motif assists Fun30 activity. Our work suggests that Fun30 is directly involved in silencing by regulating the chromatin structure within or around silent loci.
ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes enable rapid rearrangements in chromatin structure in response to developmental cues. The ATPase subunits of remodeling complexes share homology with the helicase motifs of DExx box helicases. Recent single-molecule experiments indicate that, like helicases, many of these complexes use ATP to translocate on DNA. Despite sharing this fundamental property, two key classes of remodeling complexes, the ISWI class and the SWI/SNF class, generate distinct remodeled products. SWI/SNF complexes generate nucleosomes with altered positions, nucleosomes with DNA loops and nucleosomes that are capable of exchanging histone dimers or octamers. In contrast, ISWI complexes generate nucleosomes with altered positions but in standard structures. Here we draw analogies to monomeric and dimeric helicases and propose that ISWI and SWI/SNF complexes catalyze different outcomes in part because some ISWI complexes function as dimers while SWI/SNF complexes function as monomers.
Homologous recombination (HR) is a ubiquitous cellular pathway that mediates transfer of genetic information between homologous or near homologous (homeologous) DNA sequences. During meiosis it ensures proper chromosome segregation in the first division. Moreover, HR is critical for the tolerance and repair of DNA damage, as well as in the recovery of stalled and broken replication forks. Together these functions preserve genomic stability and assure high fidelity transmission of the genetic material in the mitotic and meiotic cell divisions. This review will focus on the Rad54 protein, a member of the Snf2-family of SF2 helicases, which translocates on dsDNA but does not display strand displacement activity typical for a helicase. A wealth of genetic, cytological, biochemical and structural data suggests that Rad54 is a core factor of HR, possibly acting at multiple stages during HR in concert with the central homologous pairing protein Rad51.
The SWI/SNF family of chromatin-remodeling complexes facilitates gene activation by assisting transcription machinery to gain access to targets in chromatin. This family includes BAF (also called hSWI/SNF-A) and PBAF (hSWI/SNF-B) from humans and SWI/SNF and Rsc from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, the relationship between the human and yeast complexes is unclear because all human subunits published to date are similar to those of both yeast SWI/SNF and Rsc. Also, the two human complexes have many identical subunits, making it difficult to distinguish their structures or functions. Here we describe the cloning and characterization of BAF250, a subunit present in human BAF but not PBAF. BAF250 contains structural motifs conserved in yeast SWI1 but not in any Rsc components, suggesting that BAF is related to SWI/SNF. BAF250 is also a homolog of the Drosophila melanogaster Osa protein, which has been shown to interact with a SWI/SNF-like complex in flies. BAF250 possesses at least two conserved domains that could be important for its function. First, it has an AT-rich DNA interaction-type DNA-binding domain, which can specifically bind a DNA sequence known to be recognized by a SWI/SNF family-related complex at the β-globin locus. Second, BAF250 stimulates glucocorticoid receptor-dependent transcriptional activation, and the stimulation is sharply reduced when the C-terminal region of BAF250 is deleted. This region of BAF250 is capable of interacting directly with the glucocorticoid receptor in vitro. Our data suggest that BAF250 confers specificity to the human BAF complex and may recruit the complex to its targets through either protein-DNA or protein-protein interactions.
The SWI/SNF family of ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling factors plays a central role in eukaryotic transcriptional regulation. In yeast and human cells, two subclasses have been recognized: one comprises yeast SWI/SNF and human BAF, and the other includes yeast RSC and human PBAF. Therefore, it was puzzling that Drosophila appeared to contain only a single SWI/SNF-type remodeler, the Brahma (BRM) complex. Here, we report the identification of two novel BRM complex-associated proteins: Drosophila Polybromo and BAP170, a conserved protein not described previously. Biochemical analysis established that Drosophila contains two distinct BRM complexes: (i) the BAP complex, defined by the presence of OSA and the absence of Polybromo and BAP170, and (ii) the PBAP complex, containing Polybromo and BAP170 but lacking OSA. Determination of the genome-wide distributions of OSA and Polybromo on larval salivary gland polytene chromosomes revealed that BAP and PBAP display overlapping but distinct distribution patterns. Both complexes associate predominantly with regions of open, hyperacetylated chromatin but are largely excluded from Polycomb-bound repressive chromatin. We conclude that, like yeast and human cells, Drosophila cells express two distinct subclasses of the SWI/SNF family. Our results support a close reciprocity of chromatin regulation by ATP-dependent remodelers and histone-modifying enzymes.
This review focuses on recent structural insights into regulation and nucleic acid binding of Superfamily 2 (SF2)-type helicases as they relate to chromatin remodelers. We review structural features of the Chd1 chromatin remodeler regarding regulation of the ATPase motor, and discuss related strategies observed for other SF2 ATPases. Since no SWI2/SNF2 ATPases have yet been captured bound to DNA in a state competent for ATP-hydrolysis, we turn to structural examples from the DEAD-box RNA helicase family, and suggest that SWI2/SNF2-specific inserts may be poised to alter canonical duplex DNA structure.
Chromatin remodeling; SF2 ATPase; SWI2; SNF2; DEAD-box RNA helicase; Chd1; Rad54; RapA; eIF4AIII; eIF4A; DDX19; Dbp5; Mss116; Hef; Hda3
Brahma-related gene 1 (Brg1, also known as Smarca4 and Snf2β) encodes an adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP)-dependent catalytical subunit of the (switch/sucrose nonfermentable) (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complexes. SWI/SNF complexes are recruited to chromatin through multiple mechanisms, including specific DNA-binding factors (for example, heat shock transcription factor 4 (Hsf4) and paired box gene 6 (Pax6)), chromatin structural proteins (for example, high-mobility group A1 (HMGA1)) and/or acetylated core histones. Previous studies have shown that a single amino acid substitution (K798R) in the Brg1 ATPase domain acts via a dominant-negative (dn) mechanism. Genetic studies have demonstrated that Brg1 is an essential gene for early (that is, prior implantation) mouse embryonic development. Brg1 also controls neural stem cell maintenance, terminal differentiation of multiple cell lineages and organs including the T-cells, glial cells and limbs.
To examine the roles of Brg1 in mouse lens development, a dnBrg1 transgenic construct was expressed using the lens-specific αA-crystallin promoter in postmitotic lens fiber cells. Morphological studies revealed abnormal lens fiber cell differentiation in transgenic lenses resulting in cataract. Electron microscopic studies showed abnormal lens suture formation and incomplete karyolysis (that is, denucleation) of lens fiber cells. To identify genes regulated by Brg1, RNA expression profiling was performed in embryonic day 15.5 (E15.5) wild-type and dnBrg1 transgenic lenses. In addition, comparisons between differentially expressed genes in dnBrg1 transgenic, Pax6 heterozygous and Hsf4 homozygous lenses identified multiple genes coregulated by Brg1, Hsf4 and Pax6. DNase IIβ, a key enzyme required for lens fiber cell denucleation, was found to be downregulated in each of the Pax6, Brg1 and Hsf4 model systems. Lens-specific deletion of Brg1 using conditional gene targeting demonstrated that Brg1 was required for lens fiber cell differentiation, for expression of DNase IIβ, for lens fiber cell denucleation and indirectly for retinal development.
These studies demonstrate a cell-autonomous role for Brg1 in lens fiber cell terminal differentiation and identified DNase IIβ as a potential direct target of SWI/SNF complexes. Brg1 is directly or indirectly involved in processes that degrade lens fiber cell chromatin. The presence of nuclei and other organelles generates scattered light incompatible with the optical requirements for the lens.
We used a reverse genetic approach to identify three members of the SNF2 superfamily of chromatin remodeling genes in the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila in order to investigate possible functions of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors in growth and nuclear development. Comparative sequence analysis of the gene product of the Tetrahymena brahma-related gene (TtBRG1) indicates it is a member of the SNF2/BRM subgroup of the SNF2 superfamily. Northern analysis suggests that TtBRG1 has roles in growth and nuclear development in Tetrahymena. Indirect immunofluorescence analysis during nuclear development indicates that TtBrg1p localizes to both the parental and developing macronucleus of Tetrahymena during the time period corresponding to genome rearrangements. We generated germ line knockout heterokaryons for TtBRG1 and demonstrated that expression of the gene is required to complete nuclear development of Tetrahymena. In addition, the formation of distinct Pdd1p-containing structures is disturbed during the late stages of conjugation in TtBRG1 germ line knockout heterokaryons. We discuss these results in light of possible roles of SNF2-related proteins in growth and nuclear development of Tetrahymena.
Chromatin-remodeling complexes regulate the expression of genes in all eukaryotic genomes. The SWI/SNF complex of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is recruited to its target promoters via interactions with selected transcription factors. Here, we show that the N-terminus of Snf2p, the chromatin remodeling core unit of the SWI/SNF complex, is essential for the expression of VHT1, the gene of the plasma membrane H+/biotin symporter, and of BIO5, the gene of a 7-keto-8-aminopelargonic acid transporter, biotin biosynthetic precursor. chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analyses demonstrate that Vhr1p, the transcriptional regulator of VHT1 and BIO5 expression, is responsible for the targeting of Snf2p to the VHT1 promoter at low biotin. We identified an Snf2p mutant, Snf2p-R15C, that specifically abolishes the induction of VHT1 and BIO5 but not of other Snf2p-regulated genes, such as GAL1, SUC2 or INO1. We present a novel mechanism of target gene-specific SWI/SNF recruitment via Vhr1p and a conserved N-terminal Snf2p domain.
The SWI-SNF complex in yeast and related complexes in higher eukaryotes have been implicated in assisting gene activation by overcoming the repressive effects of chromatin. We show that the ability of the transcriptional activator GAL4 to bind to a site in a positioned nucleosome is not appreciably impaired in swi mutant yeast cells. However, chromatin remodeling that depends on a transcriptional activation domain shows a considerable, although not complete, SWI-SNF dependence, suggesting that the SWI-SNF complex exerts its major effect at a step subsequent to activator binding. We tested this idea further by comparing the SWI-SNF dependence of a reporter gene based on the GAL10 promoter, which has an accessible upstream activating sequence and a nucleosomal TATA element, with that of a CYC1-lacZ reporter, which has a relatively accessible TATA element. We found that the GAL10-based reporter gene showed a much stronger SWI-SNF dependence than did the CYC1-lacZ reporter with several different activators. Remarkably, transcription of the GAL10-based reporter by a GAL4-GAL11 fusion protein showed a nearly complete requirement for the SWI-SNF complex, strongly suggesting that SWI-SNF is needed to allow access of TFIID or the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme. Taken together, our results demonstrate that chromatin remodeling in vivo can occur by both SWI-SNF-dependent and -independent avenues and suggest that the SWI-SNF complex exerts its major effect in transcriptional activation at a step subsequent to transcriptional activator-promoter recognition.
ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors of the SNF2 family are key components of the cellular machineries that shape and regulate chromatin structure and function. Members of this group of proteins have broad and heterogeneous functions ranging from controlling gene activity, facilitating DNA damage repair, promoting homologous recombination to maintaining genomic stability. Several chromatin remodeling factors are critical components of nucleosome assembly processes, and recent reports have identified specific functions of distinct chromatin remodeling factors in the assembly of variant histones into chromatin. In this review we will discuss the specific roles of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors in determining nucleosome composition and, thus, chromatin fiber properties.
chromatin; histone variant; chromatin remodeling factor; centromere; linker histone; chromatin assembly
The yeast SNF-SWI complex is required for transcriptional activation of diverse genes and has been shown to alter chromatin structure. The complex has at least 10 components, including SNF2/SWI2, SNF5, SNF6, SWI1/ADR6, and SWI3, and has been widely conserved in eukaryotes. Here we report the characterization of a new component. We identified proteins that interact in the two-hybrid system with the N-terminal region of SNF2, preceding the ATPase domain. In addition to SWI3, we recovered a new 19-kDa protein, designated SNF11. Like other SNF/SWI proteins, SNF11 functions as a transcriptional activator in genetic assays. SNF11 interacts with SNF2 in vitro and copurifies with the SNF-SWI complex from yeast cells. Using a specific antibody, we showed that SNF11 coimmunoprecipitates with members of the SNF-SWI complex and that SNF11 is tightly and stoichiometrically associated with the complex. Furthermore, SNF11 was detected in purified SNF-SWI complex by staining with Coomassie blue dye; its presence previously went unrecognized because it does not stain with silver. SNF11 interacts with a 40-residue sequence of SNF2 that is highly conserved, suggesting that SNF11 homologs exist in other organisms.
SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes have crucial roles in transcription and other chromatin-related processes. The analysis of the two members of this class in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, SWI/SNF and RSC, has heavily contributed to our understanding of these complexes. To understand the in vivo functions of SWI/SNF and RSC in an evolutionarily distant organism, we have characterized these complexes in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Although core components are conserved between the two yeasts, the compositions of S. pombe SWI/SNF and RSC differ from their S. cerevisiae counterparts and in some ways are more similar to metazoan complexes. Furthermore, several of the conserved proteins, including actin-like proteins, are markedly different between the two yeasts with respect to their requirement for viability. Finally, phenotypic and microarray analyses identified widespread requirements for SWI/SNF and RSC on transcription including strong evidence that SWI/SNF directly represses iron-transport genes.
The Runx2 transcription factor is essential for skeletal development as it regulates expression of several key bone-related genes. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that expression of the Runx2/p57 isoform in osteoblasts is controlled by the distal P1 promoter. Alterations of chromatin structure are often associated with transcription and can be mediated by members of the SWI/SNF family of chromatin remodeling complexes, or by transcriptional co-activators that possess enzymatic activities that covalently modify structural components of the chromatin. Here, we report that a specific chromatin remodeling process at the proximal region (−400 to +35) of the Runx2 gene P1 promoter accompanies transcriptional activity in osteoblasts. This altered chromatin organization is reflected by the presence of two DNase I hypersensitive sites that span key regulatory elements for Runx2/p57 transcription. Chromatin remodeling and transcription of the Runx2 gene are associated with elevated levels of histone acetylation at the P1 promoter region and binding of active RNA polymerase II, and are independent of the activity of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Changes in chromatin organization at the P1 promoter are stimulated during differentiation of C2C12 mesenchymal cells to the osteoblastic lineage by treatment with BMP2. Together, our results support a model in which changes in chromatin organization occur at very early stages of mesenchymal differentiation to facilitate subsequent expression of the Runx2/p57 isoform in osteoblastic cells.
SNF2L, an ATPase chromatin remodeling gene nearly ubiquitously expressed in diverse tissues, cancers, and derived cell lines, contributes to the chromatin remodeling complex that facilitates transcription. Because of this near ubiquitous expression, it has not been exploited as a cancer therapeutic target. However, in a recent study, we found that highly malignant cancer cells, although expressing SNF2L at similar levels as their normal counterparts, were sensitive to its knockdown. Only the highly malignant (HM) lines showed significant growth inhibition, DNA damage, a DNA damage response, and phosphorylation of checkpoint proteins and marked apoptosis. In studying SNF2L, we discovered a novel truncated isoform, SNF2LT which, when compared to full length SNF2L, lacked three important domains: HAND, SANT and SLIDE. Although truncated isoforms usually have antagonistic functions to their parental molecule, here SNF2LT knockdown had similar effects to the knockdown of its parental molecule, SNF2L, of inducing DNA damage, a DNA damage response, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis selectively in cancer cell lines. However dual SNF2L and SNF2LT knockdown, while inducing DNA damage, did not result in a DNA damage response, a cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In fact HM lines subjected to dual knockdown paradoxically exhibited sustained cell growth. Our findings indicate that the ratio of SNF2L to its isoform tightly regulates the cancer cell's response to DNA damage. Cancer cell lines which endogenously express low levels of both SNF2L and its isoform mimic the situation of dual knockdown and permit DNA damage which is allowed to propagate unchecked.
SNF2L; DNA damage; SNF2LT; NURF
There is a close relationship between histone acetylation and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling that is not fully understood. We show that acetylation of histone H3 tails affects SWI/SNF (mating type switching/ sucrose non fermenting) and RSC (remodels structure of chromatin) remodeling in several distinct ways. Acetylation of the histone H3 N-terminal tail facilitated recruitment and nucleosome mobilization by the ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers SWI/SNF and RSC. Tetra-acetylated H3, but not tetra-acetylated H4 tails, increased the affinity of RSC and SWI/SNF for nucleosomes while also changing the subunits of SWI/SNF that interact with the H3 tail. The enhanced recruitment of SWI/SNF due to H3 acetylation is bromodomain dependent, but is not further enhanced by additional bromodomains found in RSC. The combined effect of H3 acetylation and transcription activators is greater than either separately which suggests they act in parallel to recruit SWI/SNF. Besides enhancing recruitment, H3 acetylation increased nucleosome mobilization and H2A/H2B displacement by RSC and SWI/SNF in a bromodomain dependent manner and to a lesser extent enhanced ATP hydrolysis independent of bromodomains. H3 and H4 acetylation did not stimulate disassembly of adjacent nucleosomes in short arrays by SWI/SNF or RSC. These data illustrate how histone acetylation modulates RSC and SWI/SNF function, and provide a mechanistic insight into their collaborative efforts to remodel chromatin.
Acyl-CoA dehydrogenases (ACADs), which are key enzymes in fatty acid and amino acid catabolism, form a large, pan-taxonomic protein family with at least 13 distinct subfamilies. Yet most reported ACAD members have no subfamily assigned, and little is known about the taxonomic distribution and evolution of the subfamilies. In completely sequenced genomes from approximately 210 species (eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea), we detect ACAD subfamilies by rigorous ortholog identification combining sequence similarity search with phylogeny. We then construct taxonomic subfamily-distribution profiles and build phylogenetic trees with orthologous proteins. Subfamily profiles provide unparalleled insight into the organisms’ energy sources based on genome sequence alone and further predict enzyme substrate specificity, thus generating explicit working hypotheses for targeted biochemical experimentation. Eukaryotic ACAD subfamilies are traditionally considered as mitochondrial proteins, but we found evidence that in fungi one subfamily is located in peroxisomes and participates in a distinct β-oxidation pathway. Finally, we discern horizontal transfer, duplication, loss and secondary acquisition of ACAD genes during evolution of this family. Through these unorthodox expansion strategies, the ACAD family is proficient in utilizing a large range of fatty acids and amino acids—strategies that could have shaped the evolutionary history of many other ancient protein families.