SMYD1 is a heart and muscle specific SET-MYND domain containing protein, which functions as a histone methyltransferase and regulates downstream gene transcription. We demonstrated that the expression of SMYD1 is restricted in the heart and skeletal muscle tissues in human. To reveal the regulatory mechanisms of SMYD1 expression during myogenesis and cardiogenesis, we cloned and characterized the human SMYD1 promoter, which contains highly conserved serum response factor (SRF) and myogenin binding sites. Overexpression of SRF and myogenin significantly increased the endogenous expression level of Smyd1 in C2C12 cells, respectively. Deletion of Srf in the heart of mouse embryos dramatically decreased the expression level of Smyd1 mRNA and the expression of Smyd1 can be rescued by exogenous SRF introduction in SRF null ES cells during differentiation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that SRF binds to the CArG site and myogenin binds to the E-box element on Smyd1 promoter region using EMSA and ChIP assays. Moreover, forced expression of SMYD1 accelerates myoblast differentiation and myotube formation in C2C12 cells. Taken together, these studies demonstrated that SMYD1 is a key regulator of myogenic differentiation and acts as a downstream target of muscle regulatory factors, SRF and myogenin.
Epigenetic modifications of histone play important roles for regulation of cell activity, such as cell division, cell death, and cell differentiation. A SET domain consisting of about 130 amino acids has lysine methyltransferase activity in the presence of the cosubstrate S-adenosyl-methionine. More than 60 SET domain-containing proteins have been predicted in various organisms. One of them, the SMYD family genes which contain a SET domain and a zinc-finger MYND domain are reported to regulate cell cycle and muscle formation. Here we examined the expression and function of smyd1 and 2 in Xenopus. smyd1 and 2 were expressed in various muscle tissues. While smyd1 expression was observed mainly in cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle, smyd2 expression was done abundantly in skeletal muscle and face region. Moreover, by loss-of-function experiments using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides, it was suggested that smyd1 and 2 related to muscle cells differentiation.
Heart; Muscle; MYND; Myogenesis; SET; smyd; Xenopus laevis
Modifications of histone tails are involved in the regulation of a wide range of biological processes including cell cycle, cell survival, cell division, and cell differentiation. Among the modifications, histone methylation plays a critical role in cardiac and skeletal muscle differentiation. In our earlier studies, we found that SMYD3 has methyltransferase activity to histone H3 lysine 4, and that its up-regulation is involved in the tumorigenesis of human colon, liver, and breast. To clarify the role of Smyd3 in development, we have studied its expression patterns in zebrafish embryos and the effect of its suppression on development using Smyd3-specific antisense morpholino-oligonucleotides. We here show that transcripts of smyd3 were expressed in zebrafish embryos at all developmental stages examined and that knockdown of smyd3 in embryos resulted in pericardial edema and defects in the trunk structure. In addition, these phenotypes were associated with abnormal expression of three heart-chamber markers including cmlc2, amhc and vmhc, and abnormal expression of myogenic regulatory factors including myod and myog. These data suggest that Smyd3 plays an important role in the development of heart and skeletal muscle.
Smyd1b is a member of the Smyd family that plays a key role in sarcomere assembly during myofibrillogenesis. Smyd1b encodes two alternatively spliced isoforms, smyd1b_tv1 and smyd1b_tv2, that are expressed in skeletal and cardiac muscles and play a vital role in myofibrillogenesis in skeletal muscles of zebrafish embryos.
To better understand Smyd1b function in myofibrillogenesis, we analyzed the subcellular localization of Smyd1b_tv1 and Smyd1b_tv2 in transgenic zebrafish expressing a myc-tagged Smyd1b_tv1 or Smyd1b_tv2. The results showed a dynamic change of their subcellular localization during muscle cell differentiation. Smyd1b_tv1 and Smyd1b_tv2 were primarily localized in the cytosol of myoblasts and myotubes at early stage zebrafish embryos. However, in mature myofibers, Smyd1b_tv1, and to a small degree of Smyd1b_tv2, exhibited a sarcomeric localization. Double staining with sarcomeric markers revealed that Smyd1b_tv1was localized on the M-lines. The sarcomeric localization was confirmed in zebrafish embryos expressing the Smyd1b_tv1-GFP or Smyd1b_tv2-GFP fusion proteins. Compared with Smyd1b_tv1, Smyd1b_tv2, however, showed a weak sarcomeric localization. Smyd1b_tv1 differs from Smyd1b_tv2 by a 13 amino acid insertion encoded by exon 5, suggesting that some residues within the 13 aa insertion may be critical for the strong sarcomeric localization of Smyd1b_tv1. Sequence comparison with Smyd1b_tv1 orthologs from other vertebrates revealed several highly conserved residues (Phe223, His224 and Gln226) and two potential phosphorylation sites (Thr221 and Ser225) within the 13 aa insertion. To determine whether these residues are involved in the increased sarcomeric localization of Smyd1b_tv1, we mutated these residues into alanine. Substitution of Phe223 or Ser225 with alanine significantly reduced the sarcomeric localization of Smyd1b_tv1. In contrast, other substitutions had no effect. Moreover, replacing Ser225 with threonine (S225T) retained the strong sarcomeric localization of Smyd1b_tv1.
Together, these data indicate that Phe223 and Ser225 are required for the M-line localization of Smyd1b_tv1.
SET and MYND domain (Smyd) proteins are involved in the transcriptional regulation of cellular proliferation and development in vertebrates. However, the in vivo functions and mechanisms by which these proteins act are poorly understood.
We have used biochemical and genetic approaches to study the role of a Smyd protein in Drosophila. We identified eleven Drosophila genes that encode Smyd proteins. CG14122 encodes a Smyd4 homologue that we have named dSmyd4. dSmyd4 repressed transcription and recruited class I histone deacetylases (HDACs). A region of dSmyd4 including the MYND domain interacted directly with ∼150 amino acids at the N-termini of dHDAC1 and dHDAC3. dSmyd4 interacts selectively with Ebi, a component of the dHDAC3/SMRTER co-repressor complex. During embryogenesis dSmyd4 was expressed throughout the mesoderm, with highest levels in the somatic musculature. Muscle-specific RNAi against dSmyd4 resulted in depletion of the protein and lead to severe lethality. Eclosion is the final moulting stage of Drosophila development when adult flies escape from the pupal case. 80% of dSmyd4 knockdown flies were not able to eclose, resulting in late pupal lethality. However, many aspects of eclosion were still able to occur normally, indicating that dSmyd4 is likely to be involved in the development or function of adult muscle.
Repression of transcription by dSmyd4 and the involvement of this protein in development suggests that aspects of Smyd protein function are conserved between vertebrates and invertebrates.
SmyD2 belongs to a new class of chromatin regulators that control gene expression in heart development and tumorigenesis. Besides methylation of histone H3 K4, SmyD2 can methylate non-histone targets including p53 and the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor. The methyltransferase activity of SmyD proteins has been proposed to be regulated by autoinhibition via the intra- and interdomain bending of the conserved C-terminal domain (CTD). However, there has been no direct evidence of a conformational change in the CTD. Here, we report two crystal structures of SmyD2 bound either to the cofactor product S-adenosylhomocysteine or to the inhibitor sinefungin. SmyD2 has a two-lobed structure with the active site located at the bottom of a deep crevice formed between the CTD and the catalytic domain. By extensive engagement with the methyltransferase domain, the CTD stabilizes the autoinhibited conformation of SmyD2 and restricts access to the catalytic site. Unexpectedly, despite that the two SmyD2 structures are highly superimposable, significant differences are observed in the first two helices of the CTDs: the two helices bend outwards and move away from the catalytic domain to generate a less closed conformation in the sinefungin-bound structure. Although the overall fold of the individual domains is structurally conserved among SmyD proteins, SmyD2 appear to be a conformational “intermediate” between a close form of SmyD3 and an open form of SmyD1. In addition, the structures reveal that the CTD is structurally similar to tetratricopeptide repeats (TPR), a motif through which many cochaperones bind to the heat shock protein Hsp90. Our results thus provide the first evidence for the intradomain flexibility of the TPR-like CTD, which may be important for the activation of SmyD proteins by Hsp90.
The SET- and MYND-domain containing (Smyd) proteins constitute a special subfamily of the SET-containing lysine methyltransferases. Here we present the structure of full-length human Smyd3 in complex with S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine at 2.8 Å resolution. Smyd3 affords the first example that other region(s) besides the SET domain and its flanking regions participate in the formation of the active site. Structural analysis shows that the previously uncharacterized C-terminal domain of Smyd3 contains a tetratrico-peptide repeat (TPR) domain which together with the SET and post-SET domains forms a deep, narrow substrate binding pocket. Our data demonstrate the important roles of both TPR and post-SET domains in the histone lysine methyltransferase (HKMT) activity of Smyd3, and show that the hydroxyl group of Tyr239 is critical for the enzymatic activity. The characteristic MYND domain is located nearby to the substrate binding pocket and exhibits a largely positively charged surface. Further biochemical assays show that DNA binding of Smyd3 can stimulate its HKMT activity and the process may be mediated via the MYND domain through direct DNA binding.
It is well known that RB functions are regulated by posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation and acetylation, but the significance of lysine methylation on RB has not been fully elucidated. Our expression analysis of SMYD2 by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction showed that expression levels of SMYD2 are significantly elevated in human bladder carcinomas compared with nonneoplastic bladder tissues (P < .0001), and its expression levels in tumor tissues were much higher than those of any other normal tissues. SMYD2 knockdown resulted in the suppression of cancer cell growth, and cell cycle analysis indicated that SMYD2 might play a crucial role in the G1/S transition. According to an in vitro methyltransferase assay, we found that SMYD2 methylates RB1 protein, and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis revealed lysine 810 of RB1 to be methylated by SMYD2. Importantly, this methylation enhanced Ser 807/811 phosphorylation of RB1 both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrated that methylated RB1 accelerates E2F transcriptional activity and promotes cell cycle progression. SMYD2 is an important oncoprotein in various types of cancer, and SMYD2-dependent RB1 methylation at lysine 810 promotes cell cycle progression of cancer cells. Further study may explore SMYD2-dependent RB1 methylation as a potential therapeutic target in human cancer.
Smyd3 is a lysine methyltransferase implicated in chromatin and cancer regulation. Here we show that Smyd3 catalyzes histone H4 methylation at lysine 5 (H4K5me). This novel histone methylation mark is detected in diverse cell types and its formation is attenuated by depletion of Smyd3 protein. Further, Smyd3-driven cancer cell phenotypes require its enzymatic activity. Thus, Smyd3, via H4K5 methylation, provides a potential new link between chromatin dynamics and neoplastic disease.
cancer; epigenetics; lysine; methylation; oncogene; oncology; Smyd3
Disrupting the balance of histone lysine methylation alters the expression of genes involved in tumorigenesis including proto-oncogenes and cell cycle regulators. Methylation of lysine residues is commonly catalyzed by a family of proteins that contain the SET domain. Here, we report the identification and characterization of the SET domain-containing protein, Smyd2.
Smyd2 mRNA is most highly expressed in heart and brain tissue, as demonstrated by northern analysis and in situ hybridization. Over-expressed Smyd2 localizes to the cytoplasm and the nucleus in 293T cells. Although accumulating evidence suggests that methylation of histone 3, lysine 36 (H3K36) is associated with actively transcribed genes, we show that the SET domain of Smyd2 mediates H3K36 dimethylation and that Smyd2 represses transcription from an SV40-luciferase reporter. Smyd2 associates specifically with the Sin3A histone deacetylase complex, which was recently linked to H3K36 methylation within the coding regions of active genes in yeast. Finally, we report that exogenous expression of Smyd2 suppresses cell proliferation.
We propose that Sin3A-mediated deacetylation within the coding regions of active genes is directly linked to the histone methyltransferase activity of Smyd2. Moreover, Smyd2 appears to restrain cell proliferation, likely through direct modulation of chromatin structure.
The SET and MYND Domain (SMYD) proteins comprise a unique family of multi-domain SET histone methyltransferases that are implicated in human cancer progression. Here we report an analysis of the crystal structure of the full length human SMYD3 in a complex with an analog of the S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) methyl donor cofactor. The structure revealed an overall compact architecture in which the “split-SET” domain adopts a canonical SET domain fold and closely assembles with a Zn-binding MYND domain and a C-terminal superhelical 9 α-helical bundle similar to that observed for the mouse SMYD1 structure. Together, these structurally interlocked domains impose a highly confined binding pocket for histone substrates, suggesting a regulated mechanism for its enzymatic activity. Our mutational and biochemical analyses confirm regulatory roles of the unique structural elements both inside and outside the core SET domain and establish a previously undetected preference for trimethylation of H4K20.
Upregulation of the matrix metalloproteinase MMP-9 plays a central role in tumor progression and metastasis by stimulating cell migration, tumor invasion and angiogenesis. To gain insights into MMP-9 expression, we investigated its epigenetic control in a reversible model of cancer that is initiated by infection with intracellular Theileria parasites. Gene induction by parasite infection was associated with tri-methylation of histone H3K4 (H3K4me3) at the MMP-9 promoter. Notably, we found that the H3K4 methyltransferase SMYD3 was the only histone methyltransferase upregulated upon infection. SMYD3 is overexpressed in many types of cancer cells, but its contributions to malignant pathophysiology are unclear. We found that overexpression of SMYD3 was sufficient to induce MMP-9 expression in transformed leukocytes and fibrosarcoma cells, and that pro-inflammatory phorbol esters further enhanced this effect. Further, SMYD3 was sufficient to increase cell migration associated with MMP-9 expression. In contrast, RNAi-mediated knockdown of SMYD3 decreased H3K4me3 modification of the MMP-9 promoter, reduced MMP-9 expression and reduced tumor cell proliferation. Furthermore, SMYD3 knockdown also reduced cellular invasion in a zebrafish xenograft model of cancer. Together, our results define SMYD3 as an important new regulator of MMP-9 transcription, and they provide a molecular link between SMYD3 overexpression and metastatic cancer progression.
epigenetic; metastasis; chromatin; SMYD3; MMP-9
Hepatoma Derived Growth Factor (HDGF) is a nuclear protein with both mitogenic and angiogenic activity, it is highly expressed in the developing heart and vasculature. To date the mechanisms of HDGF’s function are unknown. Oligonucleotide microarray analysis was used to gain insights into HDGF function. Adenoviral expression of HDGF significantly (≥ 2 fold) downregulated a large group (66) of genes, and increased expression of a relatively small number of genes (9). Two groups of target genes which are involved in cardiovascular development and transcriptional regulation were validated by real time PCR, including the skeletal/cardiac muscle specific SET and MYND domain containing 1 (SMYD1) gene. This suggested that HDGF could function as a transcriptional repressor. In a one-hybrid system, GBD-HDGF significantly repressed reporter gene activity in a dose dependent manner. This demonstrated that HDGF has transcriptional repressive activity. Moreover, in G-7 myoblast cells, overexpression of a GFP-HDGF fusion specifically downregulated SMYD1 mRNA expression and the activity of the human SMYD1 promoter. HDGF repressed SMYD1 gene transcription through interaction with a transcriptional corepressor C-terminal binding protein (CtBP). Overexpressing of CtBP potentiated the trans-repressive activity of HDGF; on the other hand, knocking down CtBP attenuated the trans-repressive effect of HDGF. HDGF binds CtBP through a non-canonical binding motif (PKDLF) within the PWWP domain, as substitutional mutation of DL to AS abolished HDGF and CtBP interaction and diminished the trans-repressive effect of HDGF without affecting DNA binding. Finally, fluorescent microscopy studies showed that HDGF induced the nuclear accumulation of CtBP suggesting that HDGF forms a transcriptional complex with CtBP. Taken together, our data demonstrate that HDGF functions as a transcriptional repressor of the SMYD1 gene, through interaction with the transcriptional corepressor CtBP. Because of moderate conservation of the CtBP binding motif in HDGF family members, trans-repressive activity mediated by CtBP may be a common function among HDGF proteins.
HDGF; SMYD1; CtBP; transcription; repressor
Regulation of genes that initiate and amplify inflammatory programs of gene expression is achieved by signal-dependent exchange of co-regulator complexes that function to read, write and erase specific histone modifications linked to transcriptional activation or repression. Here, we provide evidence for the role of trimethylated histone H4 lysine 20 (H4K20me3) as a repression checkpoint that restricts expression of toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) target genes in macrophages. H4K20me3 is deposited at the promoters of a subset of these genes by the SMYD5 histone methyltransferase through its association with NCoR corepressor complexes. Signal-dependent erasure of H4K20me3 is required for effective gene activation and is achieved by NF-κB-dependent delivery of the histone demethylase PHF2. Liver X receptors antagonize TLR4-dependent gene activation by maintaining NCoR/SMYD5-mediated repression. These findings reveal a histone H4K20 tri-methylation/de-methylation strategy that integrates positive and negative signaling inputs that control immunity and homeostasis.
The regulation of multipotent cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) expansion and subsequent differentiation into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle, or endothelial cells is a fundamental aspect of basic cardiovascular biology and cardiac regenerative medicine. However, the mechanisms governing these decisions remain unclear. Here, we show that Wnt/β-Catenin signaling, which promotes expansion of CPCs1–3, is negatively regulated by Notch1-mediated control of phosphorylated β-Catenin accumulation within CPCs, and that Notch1 activity in CPCs is required for their differentiation. Notch1 positively, and β-Catenin negatively, regulated expression of the cardiac transcription factors, Isl1, Myocd and Smyd1. Surprisingly, disruption of Isl1, normally expressed transiently in CPCs prior to their differentiation4, resulted in expansion of CPCs in vivo and in an embryonic stem (ES) cell system. Furthermore, Isl1 was required for CPC differentiation into cardiomyocyte and smooth muscle cells, but not endothelial cells. These findings reveal a regulatory network controlling CPC expansion and cell fate that involve unanticipated functions of β-Catenin, Notch1 and Isl1 that may be leveraged for regenerative approaches involving CPCs.
β-Catenin; Notch1; Isl1; cardiac progenitors; Myocd
The tumor suppressor p53 is the most frequently inactivated gene in human cancers. The p53 protein functions as a sequence-specific transcription factor to regulate key cellular processes, including cell-cycle arrest, DNA repair, apoptosis, and senescence in response to stress signals. P53 is maintained at a low level in the cell, but becomes rapidly stabilized and activated in response to DNA damage, hypoxia, hyperproliferation, and other types of cellular stresses. The stability and transcriptional activity of p53 are tightly regulated through multiple post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination. Within the past few years, several studies have established that protein methylation is a novel mechanism by which p53 is regulated. Indeed, histone lysine methyltransferases KMT5 (Set9), KMT3C (Smyd2), and KMT5A (Set8) methylate p53 at specific C-terminal lysines. Lysine methylation enhances or suppresses p53 transcriptional activity depending on the methylation site. Furthermore, the lysine-specific demethylase KDM1 (LSD1) mediates p53 demethylation, which prevents p53 interaction with its co-activator 53BP1 to induce apoptosis. Finally, protein arginine methyltransferases CARM1 and PRMT1 are co-activators of p53 involved in the methylation of histones H3 and H4 to facilitate p53-mediated transcription. In response to cellular stresses, the interplay between p53 methylation, demethylation, and other post-translational modifications fine-tunes the activity of p53 to ultimately prevent tumor formation.
p53; methylation; methyltransferases; transcription; cancer
The organized societies of ants include short-lived worker castes displaying specialized behavior and morphology, and long-lived queens dedicated to reproduction. We sequenced and compared the genomes of two socially divergent ant species: Camponotus floridanus and Harpegnathos saltator. Both genomes contained high amounts of CpG, despite the presence of DNA methylation, which in non-Hymenoptera correlates with CpG depletion. Comparison of gene expression in different castes identified upregulation of telomerase and sirtuin deacetylases in longer-lived H. saltator reproductives, caste-specific expression of miRNAs and SMYD histone methyl-transferases, and differential regulation of genes implicated in neuronal function and chemical communication. Our findings provide clues on the molecular differences between castes in these two ants, and establish a new experimental model to study epigenetics in aging and behavior.
Hepatoma Derived Growth Factor (HDGF) is a nuclear protein with nuclear targeting required for mitogenic activity. Recently we demonstrated that HDGF is a transcriptional repressor, but whether HDGF binds DNA, the specificity of DNA binding and what protein domain is required are still unknown. In this study, we aimed to identify if HDGF is a DNA binding protein, map the functional DNA binding domain and DNA binding element for HDGF.
Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) of human DNA, we isolated 10 DNA sequences sharing a conserved ~200 bp element. Homology analysis identified the binding sequences as a motif within the promoter of the SMYD1 gene, a HDGF target gene. Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assays (EMSA) confirmed the binding of HDGF to this conserved sequence. As a result, an 80 bp conserved sequence located in the SMYD1 promoter bound GST-HDGF tightly. The binding core sequence for HDGF was narrowed down to 37 bp using a deletion mapping strategy from both the 5' and 3' ends. Moreover, ChIP and DNase I footprinting analysis revealed that HDGF binds this 80 bp DNA fragment specifically. Functionally overexpression of HDGF represses a reporter gene which is controlled by an SV-40 promoter containing the 80 bp DNA element. Using serial truncations of GST-HDGF, we mapped the DNA binding domain of HDGF to the N-terminal PWWP domain.
HDGF is a DNA binding protein, binds DNA specifically, and prefers a minimum of 37 bp long DNA fragment. The N-terminal PWWP domain of HDGF is required for DNA binding. HDGF exerts its transcription repressive effect through binding to a conserved DNA element in the promoter of target genes.
The Raf/MEK/extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway regulates diverse cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis and is implicated as an important contributor to the pathogenesis of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. To examine the in vivo role of Raf-1 in the heart, we generated cardiac muscle–specific Raf-1–knockout (Raf CKO) mice with Cre-loxP–mediated recombination. The mice demonstrated left ventricular systolic dysfunction and heart dilatation without cardiac hypertrophy or lethality. The Raf CKO mice showed a significant increase in the number of apoptotic cardiomyocytes. The expression level and activation of MEK1/2 or ERK showed no difference, but the kinase activity of apoptosis signal–regulating kinase 1 (ASK1), JNK, or p38 increased significantly compared with that in controls. The ablation of ASK1 rescued heart dysfunction and dilatation as well as cardiac fibrosis. These results indicate that Raf-1 promotes cardiomyocyte survival through a MEK/ERK–independent mechanism.
Stress-induced hypertrophic remodeling is a critical pathogenetic process leading to heart failure. While many signal transduction cascades are demonstrated as important regulators to facilitate the induction of cardiac hypertrophy, the signaling pathways for suppressing hypertrophic remodeling remain largely unexplored. In this study, we identified p21-activated kinase 1 (Pak1) as a novel signaling regulator which antagonizes cardiac hypertrophy.
Methods and Results
Hypertrophic stress applied to primary neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCMs), or murine hearts caused the activation of Pak1. Analysis of NRCMs expressing constitutively active Pak1 or in which Pak1 was silenced disclosed that Pak1 played an anti-hypertrophic role. To investigate the in vivo role of Pak1 in the heart, we generated mice with a cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of Pak1 (Pak1cko). When subject to 2 weeks of pressure overload, Pak1cko mice compared to controls, developed greater cardiac hypertrophy with attendant blunting of JNK activation, and these knockout mice underwent the transition into heart failure when prolonged stress was applied. In addition, chronic angiotensin II infusion also caused increased cardiac hypertrophy in Pak1cko mice. Moreover, we discovered that the Pak1 activator FTY720, a sphingosine-like analogue, was able to prevent pressure overload-induced hypertrophy in wild-type mice, without compromising their cardiac functions. Meanwhile FTY720 failed to exert such an effect on Pak1cko mice, suggesting that the anti-hypertrophic effect of FTY720 likely acts through Pak1 activation.
These results, for the first time, establish Pak1 as a novel anti-hypertrophic regulator and suggest that it may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.
Cardiac hypertrophy; heart failure; signal transduction; stress
Adult-onset diseases can be associated with in utero events, but mechanisms for this remain unknown1,2. The polycomb histone methyltransferase, Ezh2, stabilizes transcription by depositing repressive marks during development that persist into adulthood3–9, but its function in postnatal organ homeostasis is unknown. We show that Ezh2 stabilizes cardiac gene expression and prevents cardiac pathology by repressing the homeodomain transcription factor Six1, which functions in cardiac progenitors but is stably silenced upon cardiac differentiation10. Ezh2 deletion in cardiac progenitors caused postnatal myocardial pathology and destabilized cardiac gene expression with activation of Six1-dependent skeletal muscle genes. Six1 induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and skeletal muscle gene expression. Furthermore, genetically reducing Six1 levels rescued the pathology of Ezh2-deficient hearts. Thus, Ezh2-mediated repression of Six1 in differentiating cardiac progenitors is essential for stable postnatal heart gene expression and homeostasis. Our results suggest that epigenetic dysregulation in embryonic progenitor cells predisposes to adult disease and dysregulated stress responses.
The epigenetic regulation of gene expression by the covalent modification of histones is a fundamental mechanism required for the proper differentiation of germ line cells during development. Trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3) leads to chromatin silencing and the formation of heterochromatin by recruitment of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1). dSETDB1/Eggless (Egg), the ortholog of the human methyltransferase SETDB1, is the only essential H3K9 methyltransferase in Drosophila and is required for H3K9 trimethylation in the female germ line. Here we show that Windei (Wde), the Drosophila homolog of mouse mAM and human MCAF1, is an essential cofactor of Egg required for its nuclear localization and function in female germ line cells. By deletion analysis combined with coimmunoprecipitation, we have identified the protein regions in Wde and Egg that are necessary and sufficient for the interaction between the two proteins. We furthermore identified a region of Egg that gets covalently modified by SUMOylation, which may facilitate the formation of higher order chromatin-modifying complexes. Together with Egg, Wde localizes to euchromatin, is enriched on chromosome 4, and binds to the Painting of fourth (POF) protein. Our data provide the first genetic and phenotypic analysis of a mAM/MCAF1 homolog in a model organism and demonstrate its essential function in the survival of germ line cells.
Germ line cells are the only cells in an organism that are able to transmit their genetic material to the next generation by forming eggs or sperm. They do not participate in the formation or function of tissues and organs and therefore show a unique pattern of transcription, with many genes being silenced that are only required for somatic functions. The covalent modification of histones by methylation, acetylation, and other mechanisms is crucial for these global alterations in the transcriptional program. Among the modifications involved in silencing of chromatin regions, methylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9) is among the most important ones. Methylation of this residue in Drosophila is controlled by three different histone methyl transferases, but only one of these, dSETDB1/Eggless, is essential for viability and fertility of the fly. Here we describe an essential cofactor for dSETDB1/Eggless that is specifically required in germ line cells for their survival. This cofactor, that we called Windei, binds to dSETDB1/Eggless and recruits it to the nucleus. Null mutations in windei show strongly reduced trimethylation of H3K9 in germ line cells, demonstrating that Windei is one of the factors required for controlling chromatin organization in the germ line.
Development of a functional organ requires the establishment of its proper size as well as the establishment of the relative proportions of its individual components. In the zebrafish heart, organ size and proportion depend heavily on the number of cells in each of its two major chambers, the ventricle and the atrium. Heart size and chamber proportionality are both affected in zebrafish fgf8 mutants. To determine when and how FGF signaling influences these characteristics, we examined the effect of temporally controlled pathway inhibition. During cardiac specification, reduction of FGF signaling inhibits formation of both ventricular and atrial cardiomyocytes, with a stronger impact on ventricular cells. After cardiomyocyte differentiation begins, reduction of FGF signaling can still result in a deficiency of ventricular cardiomyocytes. Consistent with two temporally distinct roles for FGF, we find that increased FGF signaling induces a cardiomyocyte surplus only before cardiac differentiation begins. Thus, FGF signaling first regulates heart size and chamber proportionality during cardiac specification and later refines ventricular proportion by regulating cell number after the onset of differentiation. Together, our data demonstrate that a single signaling pathway can act reiteratively to coordinate organ size and proportion.
zebrafish; organogenesis; heart development; chamber formation; ventricle; atrium; FGF; Fgf8; acerebellar
The ongoing requirement in adult heart for transcription factors with key roles in cardiac development is not well understood. We recently demonstrated that TBX20, a transcriptional regulator required for cardiac development, has key roles in the maintenance of functional and structural phenotypes in adult mouse heart. Conditional ablation of Tbx20 in adult cardiomyocytes leads to a rapid onset and progression of heart failure, with prominent conduction and contractility phenotypes that lead to death. Here we describe a more comprehensive molecular characterization of the functions of TBX20 in adult mouse heart. Coupling genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and transcriptome analyses (RNA-Seq), we identified a subset of genes that change expression in Tbx20 adult cardiomyocyte-specific knockout hearts which are direct downstream targets of TBX20. This analysis revealed a dual role for TBX20 as both a transcriptional activator and a repressor, and that each of these functions regulates genes with very specialized and distinct molecular roles. We also show how TBX20 binds to its targets genome-wide in a context-dependent manner, using various cohorts of co-factors to either promote or repress distinct genetic programs within adult heart. Our integrative approach has uncovered several novel aspects of TBX20 and T-box protein function within adult heart.
Sequencing data accession number (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo): GSE30943.
The Coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) is known for its role in virus uptake and as a protein of the tight junction. It is predominantly expressed in the developing brain and heart and reinduced upon cardiac remodeling in heart disease. So far, the physiological functions of CAR in the adult heart are largely unknown. We have generated a heart-specific inducible CAR knockout (KO) and found impaired electrical conduction between atrium and ventricle that increased with progressive loss of CAR. The underlying mechanism relates to the cross talk of tight and gap junctions with altered expression and localization of connexins that affect communication between CAR KO cardiomyocytes. Our results indicate that CAR is not only relevant for virus uptake and cardiac remodeling but also has a previously unknown function in the propagation of excitation from the atrium to the ventricle that could explain the association of arrhythmia and Coxsackievirus infection of the heart.