The packaging of eukaryotic DNA into nucleosomes, the fundamental unit of chromatin, creates a barrier to nuclear processes, such as transcription, DNA replication, recombination, and repair(1). This obstructive nature of chromatin can be overcome by the enzymatic activity of chromatin remodeling complexes which creates a more favorable environment for the association of essential factors and regulators to sequences within target genes. Here we describe a detailed approach for analyzing chromatin architecture and remodeling by restriction endonuclease hypersensitivity assay. This procedure uses restriction endonucleases to characterize changes in chromatin that accompany nucleosome remodeling. The specific experimental example described in this article is the BRG1 complex dependent chromatin remodeling of the steroid hormone-responsive mouse mammary tumor virus promoter. Through the use of these methodologies one is able to quantify changes at specific nucleosomes in response to regulatory signals.
Cocaine-responsive gene expression changes have been described after either no drug abstinence or short periods of abstinence. Little data exist on the persistence of these changes after long-term abstinence. Previously, we reported that after discrete-trial, cocaine self-administration and 10 days of forced abstinence, incubation of cocaine reinforcement was observable by a progressive ratio schedule. The present study used rat discrete-trial cocaine self-administration and long-term forced abstinence to examine: extinction responding, mRNA abundance of known cocaine-responsive genes, and chromatin remodeling. At 30 and 100 days of abstinence, extinction responding increased compared to 3-day abstinent rats. Decreases in both medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) c-fos, Nr4a1, Arc, and EGR1 mRNA were observed, and in most cases persisted, for 100 days of abstinence. The signaling peptides CART and NPY transiently increased in the mPFC, but returned to baseline levels following 10 days of abstinence. To investigate a potential regulatory mechanism for these persistent mRNA changes, levels of histone H3 acetylation at promoters for genes with altered mRNA expression were examined. In the mPFC, histone H3 acetylation decreased after 1 and 10 days of abstinence at the promoter for EGR1. H3 acetylation increased for NPY after 1 day of abstinence and returned to control levels by 10 days of abstinence. Behaviorally, these results demonstrate incubation after discrete-trial cocaine self-administration and prolonged forced abstinence. This incubation is accompanied by changes in gene expression that persist long after cessation of drug administration and may be regulated by chromatin remodeling.
cocaine; abstinence; behavior; medial prefrontal cortex; nucleus accumbens; functional genomics; extinction; incubation; addiction
Chromatin remodeling, including histone modification, is involved in stimulant-induced gene expression and addiction behavior. To further explore the role of dopamine D1 receptor signaling, we measured cocaine-related locomotor activity and place preference in mice pre-treated for up to 10 days with the D1-agonist SKF82958 and/or the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi), sodium butyrate. Co-treatment with D1-agonist and HDACi significantly enhanced cocaine-induced locomotor activity and place preference, in comparison to single drug regimens. However, butyrate-mediated reward effects were transient and only apparent within 2 days after the last HDACi treatment. These behavioral changes were associated with histone modification changes in striatum and ventral midbrain: (1) a generalized increase in H3 phospho-acetylation in striatal neurons was dependent on activation of D1 receptors; (2) H3 de-acetylation at promoter sequences of tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) in ventral midbrain, together with up-regulation of the corresponding gene transcripts after co-treatment with D1-agonist and HDACi. Collectively, these findings imply that D1-receptor-regulated histone (phospho)acetylation and gene expression in reward circuitry is differentially regulated in a region-specific manner. Given that the combination of D1-agonist and HDACi enhances cocaine-related sensitization and reward, the therapeutic benefits of D1-receptor antagonists and histone acetyl-transferase inhibitors (HATi) warrants further investigation in experimental models of stimulant abuse.
epigenetic; addiction; catecholamine; sensitization; chromatin immunoprecipitation; basal ganglia
Background: Human cocaine abuse is associated with alterations in white matter integrity revealed upon brain imaging, an observation that is recapitulated in an animal model of continuous cocaine exposure. The mechanism through which cocaine may affect white matter is unknown and the present study tested the hypothesis that cocaine self-administration results in changes in DNA methylation that could result in altered expression of several myelin genes that could contribute to the effects of cocaine on white matter integrity. Methods: In the present study, we examined the impact of forced abstinence from cocaine self-administration on chromatin associated changes in white matter. To this end, rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.75 mg/kg/0.1 mL infusion) for 14 days followed by forced abstinence for 1 day (n = 6) or 30 days (n = 6) before sacrifice. Drug-free, sham surgery controls (n = 7) were paired with the experimental groups. Global DNA methylation and DNA methylation at specific CpG sites in the promoter regions ofmyelin basic protein (Mbp), proteolipid protein-1 (Plp1), and SRY-related HMG-box-10 (Sox10) genes were analyzed in DNA extracted from corpus callosum. Results: Significant differences in the overall methylation patterns of the Sox10 promoter region were observed in the corpus callosum of rats at 30 days of forced abstinence from cocaine self-administration relative to sham controls; the −189, −142, −93, and −62 CpG sites were significantly hypomethylated point-wise at this time point. After correction for multiple comparisons, no differences in global methylation or the methylation patterns of Mbp or Plp1 were found. Conclusion: Forced abstinence from cocaine self-administration was associated with differences in DNA methylation at specific CpG sites in the promoter region of the Sox10 gene in corpus callosum. These changes may be related to reductions in normal age related changes in DNA methylation and could be a factor in white matter alterations seen after withdrawal from repeated cocaine self-administration. Further research is warranted examining the effects of cocaine on DNA methylation in white matter.
cocaine; corpus callosum; gene; self-administration; white matter; epigenetics
The precise placement of nucleosomes has large regulatory effects on gene expression. Recent work suggests that nucleosome placement is regulated in part by the affinity of the underlying DNA sequence for the histone octamer. Nucleosome locations are also regulated by several different ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes. This raises the question whether DNA sequence influences the activity of chromatin remodeling enzymes. DNA sequence could most simply regulate nucleosome remodeling through its effect on nucleosome stability. In such a model, unstable nucleosomes would be remodeled faster than stable nucleosomes. It is also possible that certain DNA elements could regulate remodeling by inhibiting the interaction of nucleosomes with the remodeling enzyme. A third possibility is that DNA sequence could regulate the outcome of remodeling by influencing how reaction intermediates collapse into a particular set of stable nucleosomal positions. Here we dissect the contribution from these potential mechanisms to the activities of yeast RSC and human ACF, which are representative members of two major classes of remodeling complexes. We find that varying the histone-DNA affinity over three orders of magnitude has negligible effects on the rates of nucleosome remodeling and ATP hydrolysis by these two enzymes. This suggests that the rate-limiting step for nucleosome remodeling may not involve the disruption of histone-DNA contacts. We further find that a specific curved DNA element previously hypothesized to inhibit ACF activity does not inhibit substrate binding or remodeling by ACF. The element however, does influence the distribution of nucleosome positions generated by ACF. Our data support a model in which remodeling enzymes move nucleosomes to new locations by a general sequence-independent mechanism. However, consequent to the rate-limiting remodeling step, the local DNA sequence promotes a collapse of remodeling intermediates into highly resolved positions that are dictated by thermodynamic differences between adjacent positions.
nucleosome positioning; histone-DNA affinity; chromatin remodeling; human ACF; RSC
The packaging of genomic DNA into chromatin, often viewed as an impediment to the transcription process, plays a fundamental role in the regulation of gene expression. Chromatin remodeling proteins have been shown to alter local chromatin structure and facilitate recruitment of essential factors required for transcription. Brahma-related gene-1 (BRG1), the central catalytic subunit of numerous chromatin-modifying enzymatic complexes, uses the energy derived from ATP-hydrolysis to disrupt the chromatin architecture of target promoters. In this review, we examine BRG1 as a major coregulator of transcription. BRG1 has been implicated in the activation and repression of gene expression through the modulation of chromatin in various tissues and physiological conditions. Outstanding examples are studies demonstrating that BRG1 is a necessary component for nuclear receptor-mediated transcriptional activation. The remodeling protein is also associated with transcriptional corepressor complexes which recruit remodeling activity to target promoters for gene silencing. Taken together, BRG1 appears to be a critical modulator of transcriptional regulation in cellular processes including transcriptional regulation, replication, DNA repair and recombination.
Chromatin architecture is regulated through both enzymatic and non-enzymatic activities. For example, the Polycomb Group (PcG) proteins maintain developmental gene silencing using an array of chromatin-based mechanisms. The essential Drosophila PcG protein, Posterior Sex Combs (PSC), compacts chromatin and inhibits chromatin remodeling and transcription through a non-enzymatic mechanism involving nucleosome bridging. Nucleosome bridging is achieved through a combination of nucleosome binding and self-interaction. Precisely how PSC interacts with chromatin to bridge nucleosomes is not known and is the subject of this work. We determine the stoichiometry of PSC-chromatin interactions in compact chromatin (in which nucleosomes are bridged) using Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM). We find that full compaction occurs with one PSC per nucleosome. In addition to compacting chromatin, we show that PSC oligomerizes nucleosome arrays. PSC-mediated oligomerization of chromatin occurs at similar stoichiometry as compaction suggesting it may also involve nucleosome bridging. Interactions between the tail of histone H4 and the acidic patch of histone H2A are important for chromatin folding and oligomerization, and several chromatin proteins bind the histone H2A acidic patch. However, mutation of the acidic patch of histone H2A does not affect PSC’s ability to inhibit chromatin remodeling or bridge nucleosomes. In fact, PSC does not require nucleosomes for bridging activity but can bridge naked DNA segments. PSC clusters nucleosomes on sparsely assembled templates, suggesting it interacts preferentially with nucleosomes over bare DNA. This may be due to the ability of PSC to bind free histones. Our data are consistent with a model in which each PSC binds a nucleosome and at least one other PSC to directly bridge nucleosomes and compact chromatin, but also suggest that naked DNA can be included in compacted structures. We discuss how our data highlight the diversity of mechanisms used to modify chromatin architecture.
The behavioral sensitization produced by repeated cocaine treatment represents the neural adaptations underlying some of the features of addiction in humans. Cocaine administrations induce neural adaptations through regulation of gene expression. Several studies suggest that epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation, are the critical regulators of gene expression in the adult central nervous system. DNA methylation is catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and consequent promoter region hypermethylation is associated with transcriptional silencing. In this study a potential role for DNA methylation in a cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization model in mice was explored. We report that acute cocaine treatment caused an upregulation of DNMT3A and DNMT3B gene expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation, DNA bisulfite modification, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we observed that cocaine treatment resulted in DNA hypermethylation and increased binding of methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) at the protein phosphatase-1 catalytic subunit (PP1c) promoter. These changes are associated with transcriptional downregulation of PP1c in NAc. In contrast, acute and repeated cocaine administrations induced hypomethylation and decreased binding of MeCP2 at the fosB promoter, and these are associated with transcriptional upregulation of fosB in NAc. We also found that pharmacological inhibition of DNMT by zebularine treatment decreased cocaine-induced DNA hypermethylation at the PP1c promoter and attenuated PP1c mRNA downregulation in NAc. Finally, zebularine and cocaine co-treatment delayed the development of cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization. Together, these results suggest that dynamic changes of DNA methylation may be an important gene regulation mechanism underlying cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization.
DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferase; cocaine; behavioral sensitization; nucleus accumbens; zebularine; psychostimulants; addiction & substance abuse; molecular & cellular neurobiology; plasticity; DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferase; cocaine; behavioural sensitization; nucleus accumbens
Embryonic patterning relies upon an exquisitely timed program of gene regulation. While the regulation of this process via the action of transcription factor networks is well understood, new lines of study have highlighted the importance of a concurrently regulated program of chromatin remodeling during development. Chromatin remodeling refers to the manipulation of the chromatin architecture through rearrangement, repositioning, or restructuring of nucleosomes to either favor or hinder the expression of associated genes. While the role of chromatin remodeling pathways during tumor development and cancer progression are beginning to be clarified, the roles of these pathways in the course of tissue specification, morphogenesis and patterning remains relatively unknown. Further, relatively little is understood as to the mechanism whereby developmentally critical transcription factors coordinate with chromatin remodeling factors to optimize target gene loci for gene expression. Such a mechanism might involve direct transcription factor/chromatin remodeling factor interactions, or could likely be mediated via an unknown intermediary. Our group has identified the relatively unknown protein Akirin as a putative member of this latter group: a secondary cofactor that serves as an interface between a developmentally critical transcription factor and the chromatin remodeling machinery. This role for the Akirin protein suggests a novel regulatory mode for regulating gene expression during development.
Akirin; Twist; SWI/SNF; chromatin; transcription; muscle; Drosophila
Specific chromatin structures are associated with active or inactive gene transcription. The gene regulatory elements are intrinsically dynamic and alternate between inactive and active states through the recruitment of DNA binding proteins, such as chromatin-remodeling proteins.
We developed a unique genome-wide method to discover DNA motifs associated with chromatin accessibility using formaldehyde-assisted isolation of regulatory elements with high-throughput sequencing (FAIRE-seq). We aligned the FAIRE-seq reads to the GM12878 diploid genome and subsequently identified differential chromatin-state regions (DCSRs) using heterozygous SNPs. The DCSR pairs represent the locations of imbalances of chromatin accessibility between alleles and are ideal to reveal chromatin motifs that may directly modulate chromatin accessibility. In this study, we used DNA 6-10mer sequences to interrogate all DCSRs, and subsequently discovered conserved chromatin motifs with significant changes in the occurrence frequency. To investigate their likely roles in biology, we studied the annotated protein associated with each of the top ten chromatin motifs genome-wide, in the intergenic regions and in genes, respectively. As a result, we found that most of these annotated motifs are associated with chromatin remodeling, reflecting their significance in biology.
Our method is the first one using fully phased diploid genome and FAIRE-seq to discover motifs associated with chromatin accessibility. Our results were collected to construct the first chromatin motif database (CMD), providing the potential DNA motifs recognized by chromatin-remodeling proteins and is freely available at http://syslab.nchu.edu.tw/chromatin.
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
Chromatin remodeling by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is associated with activation of transcription at the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) promoter. We reconstituted this nucleoprotein transition with chromatin assembled on MMTV DNA. The remodeling event was ATP dependent and required either a nuclear extract from HeLa cells or purified human Swi/Snf. Through the use of a direct interaction assay (magnetic bead pull-down), we demonstrated recruitment of human Swi/Snf to MMTV chromatin by GR. Unexpectedly, we found that GR is actively displaced from the chromatin template during the remodeling process. ATP-dependent GR displacement was reversed by the addition of apyrase and was specific to chromatin templates. The disengagement reaction could also be induced with purified human Swi/Snf. Although GR apparently dissociated during chromatin remodeling by Swi/Snf, it participated in binding of the secondary transcription factor, nuclear factor 1. These results are paralleled by a recent discovery that the hormone-occupied receptor undergoes rapid exchange between chromatin and the nucleoplasmic compartment in living cells. Both the in vitro and in vivo results are consistent with a dynamic model (hit and run) in which GR first binds to chromatin after ligand activation, recruits a remodeling activity, facilitates transcription factor binding, and is simultaneously lost from the template.
Repeated cocaine administration increases the dendritic arborization of nucleus accumbens neurons, but the underlying signaling events remain unknown. Here, we show that repeated cocaine negatively regulates the active form of Rac1, a small GTPase that controls actin remodeling in other systems. We show further, using viral-mediated gene transfer, that overexpression of a dominant negative mutant of Rac1, or local knockout of Rac1 from floxed Rac1 mice, is sufficient to increase the density of immature dendritic spines on nucleus accumbens neurons, whereas overexpression of a constitutively active Rac1 mutant, or light activation of a photoactivatible form of Rac1, blocks the ability of repeated cocaine to produce this effect. Downregulation of Rac1 activity in nucleus accumbens likewise promotes behavioral responses to cocaine, with Rac1 activation producing the opposite effect. These findings establish an important role for Rac1 signaling in mediating structural and behavioral plasticity to cocaine.
The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is required for differentiation and function of mature adipocytes. Its expression is induced during adipogenesis where it plays a key role in establishing the transcriptome of terminally differentiated white fat cells. Here, we review findings indicating that PPARγ expression and activity are intricately regulated through control of chromatin structure. Hierarchical and combinatorial activation of transcription factors, noncoding RNAs, and chromatin remodelers allows for temporally controlled expression of PPARγ and its target genes through sequential chromatin remodelling. In obesity, these regulatory pathways may be altered and lead to modified PPARγ activity.
Perhaps the best characterized example of an activator-induced chromatin transition is found in the activation of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae acid phosphatase gene PHO5 by the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor Pho4. Transcription activation of the PHO5 promoter by Pho4 is accompanied by the remodeling of four positioned nucleosomes which is dependent on the Pho4 activation domain but independent of transcription initiation. Whether the requirements for transcription activation through the TATA sequence are different from those necessary for the chromatin transition remains a major outstanding question. In an attempt to understand better the ability of Pho4 to activate transcription and to remodel chromatin, we have initiated a detailed characterization of the Pho4 activation domain. Using both deletion and point mutational analysis, we have defined residues between positions 75 and 99 as being both essential and sufficient to mediate transcription activation. Significantly, there is a marked concordance between the ability of mutations in the Pho4 activation domain to induce chromatin opening and transcription activation. Interestingly, the requirements for transcription activation within the Pho4 activation domain differ significantly if fused to a heterologous bHLH-leucine zipper DNA-binding domain. The implications for transcription activation by Pho4 are discussed.
Polycomb Group (PcG) proteins are essential regulators of development that maintain gene silencing in Drosophila and mammals through alterations of chromatin structure. One key PcG protein, Posterior Sex Combs (PSC), is part of at least two complexes: Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1) and dRING Associated Factors (dRAF). PRC1-class complexes compact chromatin and inhibit chromatin remodeling, while dRAF has E3 ligase activity for ubiquitylation of histone H2A; activities of both complexes can inhibit transcription. The noncovalent effects of PRC1-class complexes on chromatin can be recapitulated by PSC alone, and the region of PSC required for these activities is essential for PSC function in vivo. To understand how PSC interacts with chromatin to exert its repressive effects, we compared the ability of PSC to bind to and inhibit remodeling of various nucleosomal templates, and determined which regions of PSC are required for mononucleosome binding and inhibition of chromatin remodeling. We find that PSC binds mononucleosome templates but inhibits their remodeling poorly. Addition of linker DNA to mononucleosomes allows their remodeling to be inhibited, although higher concentrations of PSC are required than for inhibition of multi-nucleosome templates. The C-terminal region of PSC (aa 456-1603) is important for inhibition of chromatin remodeling, and we identified aa 456-909 as sufficient for stable nucleosome binding but not for inhibition of chromatin remodeling. Our data suggest distinct mechanistic steps between nucleosome binding and inhibition of chromatin remodeling.
chromatin; Polycomb Group; nucleosome; chromatin remodeling
The IME2 gene is one of the key regulators of the initiation of meiosis in budding yeast. This gene is repressed during mitosis through the repressive chromatin structure at the promoter, which is maintained by the Rpd3-Sin3 histone deacetylase (HDAC) complex. IME2 expression in meiosis requires Gcn5/histone acetyltransferase, the transcriptional activator Ime1, and the chromatin remodeler RSC; however, the molecular basis of IME2 activation had not been previously defined. We found that, during mitotic growth, a nucleosome masked the TATA element of IME2, and this positioning depended on HDAC. This chromatin structure was remodeled at meiosis by RSC that was recruited to TATA by Ime1. Stable tethering of Ime1 to the promoter required the presence of Gcn5. Interestingly, Ime1 binding to the promoter was kept at low levels during the very early stages in meiosis, even when the levels of Ime1 and histone H3 acetylation at the promoter were at their highest, making a 4- to 6-h delay of the IME2 expression from that of IME1. HDAC was continuously present at the promoter regardless of the transcriptional condition of IME2, and deletion of RPD3 allowed the IME2 expression shortly after the expression of IME1, suggesting that HDAC plays a role in regulating the timing of IME2 expression.
Eukaryotic chromosomal DNA is packaged into nucleosomes to form a dynamic structure known as chromatin. The compaction of DNA within chromatin poses a unique hindrance with regards to the accessibility of the DNA to enzymes involved in replication, transcriptional regulation, and repair. The physical structure and physiological activity of chromatin are regulated through a diverse set of posttranslational modifications, histone exchange, and structural remodeling. Of the covalent chromatin modifications, the acetylation of lysine residues within histone proteins by acetyltransferase enzymes, such as GCN5, is one of the most prevalent and important steps in the regulation of chromatin function. Alteration of histone acetyltransferase activity can easily result in the dysregulation of gene transcription and ultimately the onset of a disease state. Many transcription factors contain polyglutamine regions within their primary sequence. Mutations resulting in the elongation of these polyglutamine tracts are associated with a disease family known as the polyglutamine expansion disorders. Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is one of the nine diseases that are grouped in this family and is caused by polyglutamine expansion of the ataxin-7 protein, which is a component of the GCN5-containing human SAGA histone acetyltransferase complex. Mutation of ataxin-7 in this manner has been shown to disrupt the structural integrity of the SAGA complex and result in aberrant chromatin acetylation patterns at the promoters of genes involved in the normal function of tissues that are affected by the disease. The specific aspects of molecular pathology are not currently understood; however, studies carried out in laboratory systems ranging from the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to transgenic mouse models and cultured human cells are poised to allow for the elucidation of disease mechanisms and subsequent therapeutic approaches.
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.
The ChromDB website (http://www.chromdb.org) displays chromatin-associated proteins, including RNAi-associated proteins, for a broad range of organisms. Our primary focus is to display sets of highly curated plant genes predicted to encode proteins associated with chromatin remodeling. Our intent is to make this intensively curated sequence information available to the research and teaching communities in support of comparative analyses toward understanding the chromatin proteome in plants, especially in important crop species such as corn and rice. Model animal and fungal proteins are included in the database to facilitate a complete, comparative analysis of the chromatin proteome and to make the database applicable to all chromatin researchers and educators. Chromatin biology and chromatin remodeling are complex processes involving a multitude of proteins that regulate the dynamic changes in chromatin structure which either repress or activate transcription. We strive to organize ChromDB data in a straightforward and comparative manner to help users understand the complement of proteins involved in packaging DNA into chromatin.
ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling by the CHD family of proteins plays an important role in the regulation of gene transcription. Here we report that full-length CHD8 interacts directly with β-catenin and that CHD8 is also recruited specifically to the promoter regions of several β-catenin-responsive genes. Our results indicate that CHD8 negatively regulates β-catenin-targeted gene expression, since short hairpin RNA against CHD8 results in the activation of several β-catenin target genes. This regulation is also conserved through evolution; RNA interference against kismet, the apparent Drosophila ortholog of CHD8, results in a similar activation of β-catenin target genes. We also report the first demonstration of chromatin remodeling activity for a member of the CHD6-9 family of proteins, suggesting that CHD8 functions in transcription through the ATP-dependent modulation of chromatin structure.
Adr1 and Cat8 co-regulate numerous glucose-repressed genes in S. cerevisiae, presenting a unique opportunity to explore their individual roles in coactivator recruitment, chromatin remodeling, and transcription.
We determined the individual contributions of Cat8 and Adr1 on the expression of a cohort of glucose-repressed genes and found three broad categories: genes that need both activators for full derepression, genes that rely mostly on Cat8 and genes that require only Adr1. Through combined expression and recruitment data, along with analysis of chromatin remodeling at two of these genes, ADH2 and FBP1, we clarified how these activators achieve this wide range of co-regulation. We find that Adr1 and Cat8 are not intrinsically different in their abilities to recruit coactivators but rather, promoter context appears to dictate which activator is responsible for recruitment to specific genes. These promoter-specific contributions are also apparent in the chromatin remodeling that accompanies derepression: ADH2 requires both Adr1 and Cat8, whereas, at FBP1, significant remodeling occurs with Cat8 alone. Although over-expression of Adr1 can compensate for loss of Cat8 at many genes in terms of both activation and chromatin remodeling, this over-expression cannot complement all of the cat8Δ phenotypes.
Thus, at many of the glucose-repressed genes, Cat8 and Adr1 appear to have interchangeable roles and promoter architecture may dictate the roles of these activators.
The stepwise process of Ag receptor gene assembly, termed V(D)J recombination, is coordinated during lymphocyte development by sweeping changes in chromatin that permit or deny access to a single recombinase enzyme. We now show that switching/sucrose nonfermenting (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complexes are recruited to the Igh locus by an enhancer-dependent process and that these complexes are essential for generating recombinase accessibility throughout the locus. Depletion of SWI/SNF in pro-B cells also inhibits antisense transcription through all clusters of Igh gene segments, a pioneering process that has been implicated in the initial opening of chromatin. We conclude that SWI/SNF complexes play multiple roles in Igh gene assembly, ranging from initial locus activation to the spreading and maintenance of chromatin accessibility over large VH, DH, and JH domains.
Epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation or histone modification, can remodel the chromatin and regulate gene expression. Remodeling of chromatin provides an efficient mechanism of transducing signals, such as light or nutrient availability, to regulate gene expression. CLOCK:BMAL1 mediated activation of clock-controlled genes (CCGs) is coupled to circadian changes in histone modification at their promoters. Several chromatin modifiers, such as the deacetylases SIRT1 and HDAC3 or methyltransferase MLL1, have been shown to be recruited to the promoters of the CCGs in a circadian manner. Interestingly, the central element of the core clock machinery, the transcription factor CLOCK, also possesses histone acetyltransferase activity. Rhythmic expression of the CCGs is abolished in the absence of these chromatin modifiers. Recent research has demonstrated that chromatin remodeling is at the cross-roads of circadian rhythms and regulation of metabolism and aging. It would be of interest to identify if similar pathways exist in the epigenetic regulation of memory formation.
memory; epigenetics; circadian rhythms; clock
The long-term effects of cocaine on behavior are accompanied by structural changes in excitatory glutamatergic synapses onto the medium spiny neurons of the striatum. The Kalrn gene encodes several functionally distinct isoforms; these multidomain guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) contain additional domains known to interact with phosphatidylinositides as well as with a number of different proteins. Through their activation of Rho proteins and their interactions with other proteins, the different Kalirin isoforms affect cytoskeletal organization. Chronic exposure of adult male rodents to cocaine increases levels of Kalirin 7 in the striatum. When exposed chronically to cocaine, mice lacking Kalirin 7, the major adult isoform, fail to show an increase in dendritic spine density in the nucleus accumbens, show diminished place preference for cocaine, and exhibit increased locomotor activity in response to cocaine.
The use of alternate promoters and 3'-terminal exons of the mouse Kalrn gene were investigated using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. While the two most distal full-length Kalrn promoters are used equally in the prefrontal cortex, the more proximal of these promoters accounts for most of the transcripts expressed in the nucleus accumbens. The 3'-terminal exon unique to the Kalirin 7 isoform accounts for a greater percentage of the Kalrn transcripts in prefrontal cortex than in nucleus accumbens. Western blot analyses confirmed these differences. Chronic cocaine treatment increases usage of the promoter encoding the Δ-Kalirin isoforms but does not alter full-length Kalirin promoter usage. Usage of the 3'-terminal exon unique to Kalirin 7 increases following chronic cocaine exposure.
Kalrn promoter and 3'-terminal exon utilization are region-specific. In the nucleus accumbens, cocaine-mediated alterations in promoter usage and 3'-terminal exon usage favor expression of Kalirin 7 and Δ-Kalirin 7. The Δ-isoform, which lacks a Sec14p domain and four of the nine spectrin-like repeats found in full-length Kalirin isoforms, increases spine headsize without increasing dendritic spine numbers. Thus cocaine-mediated changes in alternative splicing of the Kalrn gene may contribute importantly to the behavioral, morphological and biochemical responses observed.