Histone H3 methylation at Lys27 (H3K27 methylation) is a hallmark of silent chromatin, while H3K4 methylation is associated with active chromatin regions. Here we report that a Drosophila JmjC family member, dUTX, specifically demethylates di- and trimethylated but not monomethylated H3K27. dUTX localization on chromatin correlates with the elongating form of RNA polymerase II (Pol II), and dUTX can associate with Pol II. Furthermore, heat shock induction results in the recruitment of dUTX to the hsp70 gene, like that of several other Pol II elongation factors. Our data indicate that dUTX is intimately associated with actively transcribed genes and may provide a paradigm for how H3K27 demethylation is required for the activation of preinitiated Pol II on transcriptionally poised genes.
Trithorax group (TrxG) proteins antagonize Polycomb silencing and are required for maintenance of transcriptionally active states. We previously showed that the Drosophila melanogaster acetyltransferase CREB-binding protein (CBP) acetylates histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27ac), thereby directly blocking its trimethylation (H3K27me3) by Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) in Polycomb target genes. Here, we show that H3K27ac levels also depend on other TrxG proteins, including the histone H3K27-specific demethylase UTX and the chromatin-remodeling ATPase Brahma (BRM). We show that UTX and BRM are physically associated with CBP in vivo and that UTX, BRM, and CBP colocalize genome-wide on Polycomb response elements (PREs) and on many active Polycomb target genes marked by H3K27ac. UTX and BRM bind directly to conserved zinc fingers of CBP, suggesting that their individual activities are functionally coupled in vivo. The bromodomain-containing C terminus of BRM binds to the CBP PHD finger, enhances PHD binding to histone H3, and enhances in vitro acetylation of H3K27 by recombinant CBP. brm mutations and knockdown of UTX by RNA interference (RNAi) reduce H3K27ac levels and increase H3K27me3 levels. We propose that direct binding of UTX and BRM to CBP and their modulation of H3K27ac play an important role in antagonizing Polycomb silencing.
UTX (KDM6A) and UTY are homologous X and Y chromosome members of the Histone H3 Lysine 27 (H3K27) demethylase gene family. UTX can demethylate H3K27; however, in vitro assays suggest that human UTY has lost enzymatic activity due to sequence divergence. We produced mouse mutations in both Utx and Uty. Homozygous Utx mutant female embryos are mid-gestational lethal with defects in neural tube, yolk sac, and cardiac development. We demonstrate that mouse UTY is devoid of in vivo demethylase activity, so hemizygous XUtx− Y+ mutant male embryos should phenocopy homozygous XUtx− XUtx− females. However, XUtx− Y+ mutant male embryos develop to term; although runted, approximately 25% survive postnatally reaching adulthood. Hemizygous X+ YUty− mutant males are viable. In contrast, compound hemizygous XUtx− YUty− males phenocopy homozygous XUtx− XUtx− females. Therefore, despite divergence of UTX and UTY in catalyzing H3K27 demethylation, they maintain functional redundancy during embryonic development. Our data suggest that UTX and UTY are able to regulate gene activity through demethylase independent mechanisms. We conclude that UTX H3K27 demethylation is non-essential for embryonic viability.
Trimethylation at Lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) establishes a repressive chromatin state in silencing an array of crucial developmental genes. Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) catalyzes this precise posttranslational modification and is required in several critical aspects of development including Hox gene repression, gastrulation, X-chromosome inactivation, mono-allelic gene expression and imprinting, stem cell maintenance, and oncogenesis. Removal of H3K27 trimethylation has been proposed to be a mechanistic switch to activate large sets of genes in differentiating cells. Mouse Utx is an X-linked H3K27 demethylase that is essential for embryonic development. We now demonstrate that Uty, the Y-chromosome homolog of Utx, has overlapping redundancy with Utx in embryonic development. Mouse UTY has a polymorphism in the JmjC demethylase domain that renders the protein incapable of H3K27 demethylation. Therefore, the overlapping function of UTX and UTY in embryonic development is due to H3K27 demethylase independent mechanism. Moreover, the presence of UTY allows UTX-deficient mouse embryos to survive until birth. Thus, UTX H3K27 demethylation is not essential for embryonic viability. These intriguing results raise new questions on how H3K27me3 repression is removed in the early embryo.
Mutations in PHF8 are associated with X-linked mental retardation and cleft lip/cleft palate. PHF8 contains a plant homeodomain (PHD) in its N terminus and is a member of a family of JmjC domain-containing proteins. While PHDs can act as methyl lysine recognition motifs, JmjC domains can catalyze lysine demethylation. Here, we show that PHF8 is a histone demethylase that removes repressive histone H3 dimethyl lysine 9 marks. Our biochemical analysis revealed specific association of the PHF8 PHD with histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 4 (H3K4me3). Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing indicated that PHF8 is enriched at the transcription start sites of many active or poised genes, mirroring the presence of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) and of H3K4me3-bearing nucleosomes. We show that PHF8 can act as a transcriptional coactivator and that its activation function largely depends on binding of the PHD to H3K4me3. Furthermore, we present evidence for direct interaction of PHF8 with the C-terminal domain of RNAPII. Importantly, a PHF8 disease mutant was defective in demethylation and in coactivation. This is the first demonstration of a chromatin-modifying enzyme that is globally recruited to promoters through its association with H3K4me3 and RNAPII.
Epigenetic modifications influence gene expression and provide a unique mechanism for fine-tuning cellular differentiation and development in multicellular organisms. Here we report on the biological functions of UTX-1, the Caenorhabditis elegans homologue of mammalian UTX, a histone demethylase specific for H3K27me2/3. We demonstrate that utx-1 is an essential gene that is required for correct embryonic and postembryonic development. Consistent with its homology to UTX, UTX-1 regulates global levels of H3K27me2/3 in C. elegans. Surprisingly, we found that the catalytic activity is not required for the developmental function of this protein. Biochemical analysis identified UTX-1 as a component of a complex that includes SET-16(MLL), and genetic analysis indicates that the defects associated with loss of UTX-1 are likely mediated by compromised SET-16/UTX-1 complex activity. Taken together, these results demonstrate that UTX-1 is required for many aspects of nematode development; but, unexpectedly, this function is independent of its enzymatic activity.
Chromatin organization influences gene expression, and its regulation is crucial to achieve correct cellular differentiation and development in multicellular organisms. Histone demethylases are among several factors responsible for regulating chromatin dynamics. Here we report on the biological functions of UTX-1, the C. elegans homologue of the mammalian histone demethylase UTX, which specifically catalyzes the demethylation of di- and tri-methylated lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me2/3). Indeed, we demonstrate that UTX-1 regulates global levels of H3K27me2/3 in C. elegans, a mark generally associated with silencing of gene expression. We also show that utx-1 is an essential gene that is required for correct embryonic and postembryonic development. Specifically, the loss of utx-1 results in developmental defects, sterility, and embryonic lethality. Surprisingly, our data show that the catalytic activity of UTX-1 is not required for its developmental functions. Our biochemical and genetic analyses indicate that loss of UTX-1 compromises the activity of the SET-16(MLL) complex, which UTX-1 is an integral part of. Taken together, these results demonstrate that UTX-1 plays an essential role in development independent of its enzymatic activity.
Background: Lysine demethylases reverse Nϵ-methylation in a sequence- and methylation-selective manner.
Results: Enzyme-histone interactions away from the conserved oxygenase active site are important in determining sequence selectivity in the JMJD2 (KDM4) subfamily.
Conclusion: The catalytic JmjC domain determines sequence selectivity for at least some JmjC demethylases.
Significance: This work might be a basis for the development of selective inhibitors.
Nϵ-Methylations of histone lysine residues play critical roles in cell biology by “marking” chromatin for transcriptional activation or repression. Lysine demethylases reverse Nϵ-methylation in a sequence- and methylation-selective manner. The determinants of sequence selectivity for histone demethylases have been unclear. The human JMJD2 (KDM4) H3K9 and H3K36 demethylases can be divided into members that act on both H3K9 and H3K36 and H3K9 alone. Kinetic, crystallographic, and mutagenetic studies in vitro and in cells on KDM4A–E reveal that selectivity is determined by multiple interactions within the catalytic domain but outside the active site. Structurally informed phylogenetic analyses reveal that KDM4A–C orthologues exist in all genome-sequenced vertebrates with earlier animals containing only a single KDM4 enzyme. KDM4D orthologues only exist in eutherians (placental mammals) where they are conserved, including proposed substrate sequence-determining residues. The results will be useful for the identification of inhibitors for specific histone demethylases.
Enzyme Kinetics; Enzyme Structure; Histone Methylation; Mutagenesis in Vitro; Structural Biology; 2-Oxoglutarate; Jumonji-C Demethylases; Oxygenases
Drosophila Little imaginal discs (Lid) is a recently described member of the JmjC domain class of histone demethylases that specifically targets trimethylated histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3). To understand its biological function, we have utilized a series of Lid deletions and point mutations to assess the role that each domain plays in histone demethylation, in animal viability, and in cell growth mediated by the transcription factor dMyc. Strikingly, we find that lid mutants are rescued to adulthood by either wildtype or enzymatically inactive Lid expressed under the control of its endogenous promoter, demonstrating that Lid's demethylase activity is not essential for development. In contrast, ubiquitous expression of UAS-Lid transgenes lacking its JmjN, C-terminal PHD domain, and C5HC2 zinc finger were unable to rescue lid homozygous mutants, indicating that these domains carry out Lid's essential developmental functions. Although Lid-dependent demethylase activity is not essential, dynamic removal of H3K4me3 may still be an important component of development, as we have observed a genetic interaction between lid and another H3K4me3 demethylase, dKDM2. We also show that Lid's essential C-terminal PHD finger binds specifically to di- and trimethylated H3K4 and that this activity is required for Lid to function in dMyc-induced cell growth. Taken together, our findings highlight the importance of Lid function in the regulated removal and recognition of H3K4me3 during development.
Correct spatial and temporal control of gene expression is essential for development. One of the many ways that gene expression is regulated is by the addition, recognition, and removal of methyl groups from the histone proteins around which DNA is wrapped within the nucleus. Here we describe a systematic analysis of Little imaginal discs (Lid), a protein that regulates transcription via a number of different mechanisms that involve regulated removal and recognition of histone methylation. We show that while Lid's histone demethylase activity is not essential for development, numerous other conserved domains of this protein are. Furthermore, we find a genetic interaction between lid and another histone demethylase, dKDM2, that suggests this enzyme can compensate for the loss of Lid's enzymatic activity. These findings have significance for our insight into how gene expression is normally regulated and have implications for our understanding of how this goes awry during disease progression.
Histone methylation plays important roles in the regulation of chromatin dynamics and transcription. Steady-state levels of histone lysine methylation are regulated by a balance between enzymes that catalyze either the addition or removal of methyl groups. Using an activity-based biochemical approach, we recently uncovered the JmjC domain as an evolutionarily conserved signature motif for histone demethylases. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Jhd1, a JmjC domain-containing protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is an H3K36-specific demethylase. Here we report further characterization of Jhd1. Similar to its mammalian homolog, Jhd1-catalyzed histone demethylation requires iron and α-ketoglutarate as cofactors. Mutation and deletion studies indicate that the JmjC domain and adjacent sequences are critical for Jhd1 enzymatic activity, while the N-terminal PHD domain is dispensable. Overexpression of JHD1 results in a global reduction of H3K36 methylation in vivo. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation-coupled microarray studies reveal subtle changes in the distribution of H3K36me2 upon overexpression or deletion of JHD1. Our studies establish Jhd1 as a histone demethylase in budding yeast and suggest that Jhd1 functions to maintain the fidelity of histone methylation patterns along transcription units.
Histone lysine methylation is an important epigenetic modification in regulating chromatin structure and gene expression. Histone H3 lysine 4 methylation (H3K4me), which can be in a mono-, di-, or trimethylated state, has been shown to play an important role in gene expression involved in plant developmental control and stress adaptation. However, the resetting mechanism of this epigenetic modification is not yet fully understood. In this work, we identified a JmjC domain-containing protein, JMJ703, as a histone lysine demethylase that specifically reverses all three forms of H3K4me in rice. Loss-of-function mutation of the gene affected stem elongation and plant growth, which may be related to increased expression of cytokinin oxidase genes in the mutant. Analysis of crystal structure of the catalytic core domain (c-JMJ703) of the protein revealed a general structural similarity with mammalian and yeast JMJD2 proteins that are H3K9 and H3K36 demethylases. However, several specific features were observed in the structure of c-JMJ703. Key residues that interact with cofactors Fe(II) and N-oxalylglycine and the methylated H3K4 substrate peptide were identified and were shown to be essential for the demethylase activity in vivo. Several key residues are specifically conserved in known H3K4 demethylases, suggesting that they may be involved in the specificity for H3K4 demethylation.
Genomic DNA is associated with histone proteins to form the basic structure of chromatin. Lysine residues within the N-terminal end of histones H3 and H4 can be methylated, which may have a positive or a negative effect on the activity of associated DNA or genes, depending on the position of the lysines in the histones. Histone lysine methylation can be reversed by histone demethylases. However, it is not very clear how the specificity of histone demethylases to different histone lysines is determined. In this work we have identified a rice histone demethylase, namely JMJ703, which specifically demethylates methylated histone H3 lysine 4. We found that loss of the enzyme reduces cell division rate of the stem and the size of plant stature, indicating the importance of the protein in plant growth. The crystal structure of the catalytic domain of the protein shares a general similarity with that of mammalian and yeast proteins that demethylate methylated histone H3 lysine 9 and lysine 36, but displays several distinct structural features that are important for substrate and cofactor binding and enzymatic activity of the protein. We found that key amino acids involved in the specific structures are conserved within known H3 lysine 4 demethylases, which may be involved in the specificity to histone H3 lysine 4.
In most eukaryotes, histone methylation patterns regulate chromatin architecture and function: methylation of histone H3 lysine-9 (H3K9) demarcates heterochromatin while H3K4 methylation demarcates euchromatin. We show here that the S. pombe JmjC-domain protein Lid2 is a trimethyl H3K4 demethylase responsible for H3K4 hypomethylation in heterochromatin. Lid2 interacts with the histone lysine-9 methyltransferase, Clr4, through the Dos1/Clr8-Rik1 complex, which also functions in the RNA interference pathway. Disruption of the JmjC-domain alone results in severe heterochromatin defects and depletion of siRNA, while overexpressing Lid2 enhances heterochromatin silencing. The physical and functional link between H3K4 demethylation and H3K9 methylation suggests that the two reactions act in a coordinated manner. Surprisingly, cross-regulation of H3K4 and H3K9 methylation in euchromatin also requires Lid2. We provide evidence suggesting that Lid2 enzymatic activity in euchromatin is regulated through dynamic interplay with other histone modification enzymes. Our findings provide a mechanistic insight into the coordination of H3K4 and H3K9 methylation.
PTIP, a protein with tandem BRCT domains, has been implicated in DNA damage response. However, its normal cellular functions remain unclear. Here we show that while ectopically expressed PTIP is capable of interacting with DNA damage response proteins including 53BP1, endogenous PTIP, and a novel protein PA1 are both components of a Set1-like histone methyltransferase (HMT) complex that also contains ASH2L, RBBP5, WDR5, hDPY-30, NCOA6, SET domain-containing HMTs MLL3 and MLL4, and substoichiometric amount of JmjC domain-containing putative histone demethylase UTX. PTIP complex carries robust HMT activity and specifically methylates lysine 4 (K4) on histone H3. Furthermore, PA1 binds PTIP directly and requires PTIP for interaction with the rest of the complex. Moreover, we show that hDPY-30 binds ASH2L directly. The evolutionarily conserved hDPY-30, ASH2L, RBBP5, and WDR5 likely constitute a subcomplex that is shared by all human Set1-like HMT complexes. In contrast, PTIP, PA1, and UTX specifically associate with the PTIP complex. Thus, in cells without DNA damage agent treatment, the endogenous PTIP associates with a Set1-like HMT complex of unique subunit composition. As histone H3 K4 methylation associates with active genes, our study suggests a potential role of PTIP in the regulation of gene expression.
Histone methylation is an important posttranslational modification that contributes to chromatin-based processes including transcriptional regulation, DNA repair, and epigenetic inheritance. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, histone lysine methylation occurs on histone H3 lysines 4, 36, and 79, and its deposition is coupled mainly to transcription. Until recently, histone methylation was considered to be irreversible, but the identification of histone demethylase enzymes has revealed that this modification can be dynamically regulated. In budding yeast, there are five proteins that contain the JmjC domain, a signature motif found in a large family of histone demethylases spanning many organisms. One JmjC-domain-containing protein in budding yeast, Jhd1, has recently been identified as being a histone demethylase that targets H3K36 modified in the di- and monomethyl state. Here, we identify a second JmjC-domain-containing histone demethylase, Rph1, which can specifically demethylate H3K36 tri- and dimethyl modification states. Surprisingly, Rph1 can remove H3K9 methylation, a histone modification not found in budding yeast chromatin. The capacity of Rph1 to demethylate H3K9 provides the first indication that S. cerevisiae may have once encoded an H3K9 methylation system and suggests that Rph1 is a functional vestige of this modification system.
Although X inactivation is thought to balance gene expression between the sexes, some genes escape inactivation, potentially contributing to differences between males and females. Utx is an escapee gene that encodes a demethylase specific for lysine 27 of histone H3, a mark of repressed chromatin. We found Utx to be expressed higher in females than in males in developing and adult brains and in adult liver. XX mice had a higher level of Utx than XY mice regardless of whether they had testes or ovaries, indicating that the sexually dimorphic gene expression was a consequence of the sex chromosome complement. Females had significantly higher levels of Utx than males in most brain regions except in the amygdala. The regional expression of the Y-linked paralogue Uty was somewhat distinct from that of Utx, specifically in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (high Uty) and the amygdala (high Utx), implying that the two paralogues may be differentially regulated. Higher expression of Utx compared to Uty was detected in P19 pluripotent embryonic carcinoma cells as well as in P19-derived neurons. This transcriptional divergence between the two paralogues was associated with high levels of histone H3 lysine 4 dimethylation at the Utx promoter and of histone H4 lysine 16 acetylation throughout the gene body, which suggests that epigenetic mechanisms control differential expression of paralogous genes.
neuron; cognition; Turner syndrome; Klinefelter's syndrome; estrogen; androgen
JmjC domain-containing proteins have been shown to possess histone demethylase activity. One of these proteins is the Drosophila histone H3 lysine 4 demethylase Little imaginal discs (Lid), which has been genetically classified as a Trithorax group protein. However, contrary to the supposed function of Lid in gene activation, the biochemical activity of this protein entails the removal of a histone mark that is correlated with active transcription. To understand the molecular mechanism behind the function of Lid, we have purified a Lid-containing protein complex from Drosophila embryo nuclear extracts. In addition to Lid, the complex contains Rpd3, CG3815/Drosophila Pf1, CG13367, and Mrg15. Rpd3 is a histone deacetylase, and along with Polycomb group proteins, which antagonize the function of Trithorax group proteins, it negatively regulates transcription. By reconstituting the Lid complex, we demonstrated that the demethylase activity of Lid is not affected by its association with other proteins. However, the deacetylase activity of Rpd3 is greatly diminished upon incorporation into the Lid complex. Thus, our finding that Lid antagonizes Rpd3 function provides an explanation for the genetic classification of Lid as a positive transcription regulator.
Reversible methylation of lysine residues has emerged as a central mechanism for epigenetic regulation and is a component of the “histone code,” which engenders histones with gene regulatory information. KDM4A is a histone demethylase that targets tri- and dimethylation marks on histone H3 lysines 9 and 36. While the abundance of KDM4A oscillates in the cell cycle, little is known how this enzyme is regulated to achieve targeted effects on specific histone residues in chromatin. Here, we report that a previously unstudied SCFFBXO22 ubiquitin ligase complex controls the activity of KDM4A by targeting it for proteasomal turnover. FBXO22 functions as a receptor for KDM4A by recognizing its catalytic JmjN/JmjC domains via its intracellular signal transduction (FIST) domain. Modulation of FBXO22 levels by RNA interference or overexpression leads to increased or decreased levels of KDM4A, respectively. Changes in KDM4A abundance correlate with alterations in histone H3 lysine 9 and 36 methylation levels, and transcription of a KDM4A target gene, ASCL2. Taken together, these results demonstrate that SCFFBXO22 regulates changes in histone H3 marks and cognate transcriptional control pathways by controlling KDM4A levels, and they suggest a potential role for FBXO22 in development, differentiation, and disease through spatial and temporal control of KDM4A activity.
Somatically acquired epigenetic changes are present in many cancers. Epigenetic regulation is maintained via post-translational modifications of core histones. Here, we describe inactivating somatic mutations in the histone lysine demethylase, UTX, pointing to histone H3 lysine methylation deregulation in multiple tumour types. UTX reintroduction into cancer cells with inactivating UTX mutations resulted in slowing of proliferation and marked transcriptional changes. These data identify UTX as a new human cancer gene.
Similar to genetic alterations, epigenetic aberrations contribute significantly to tumor initiation and progression. In many cases, these changes are caused by activation or inactivation of the regulators that maintain epigenetic states. Here we review our current knowledge on the KDM5/JARID1 family of histone demethylases. This family of enzymes contains a JmjC domain and is capable of removing tri- and di- methyl marks from lysine 4 on histone H3. Among these proteins, RBP2 mediates drug resistance while JARID1B is required for melanoma maintenance. Preclinical studies suggest inhibition of these enzymes can suppress tumorigenesis and provide strong rationale for development of their inhibitors for use in cancer therapy.
KDM5; JARID1; RBP2; PLU1; SMCX; SMCY; Lid; histone demethylase; cancer stem cell; drug resistance
Histone methylation plays an important role in regulating chromatin-mediated gene control and epigenetic-based memory systems that direct cell fate. Enzymes termed histone demethylases directly remove the methyl marks from histones, thus contributing to a dynamically regulated histone methylated genome, however the biological functions of these newly identified enzymes remains unclear. The JMJD2A-D family belongs to the JmjC domain-containing family of histone demethylases (JHDMs). Here, we report the cloning and functional characterization of the Drosophila HDM gene Dmel\Kdm4A that is a homolog of the human JMJD2 family. We show that homologs for three human JHDM families, JHDM1, JHDM2 and JMJD2 are present in Drosophila and that are each expressed during the Drosophila lifecycle. Disruption of Dmel\Kdm4A results in a reduction of the male lifespan and a male-specific wing extension/twitching phenotype that occurs in response to other males, and is reminiscent of an inter-male courtship phenotype involving the courtship song. Remarkably, certain genes associated with each of these phenotypes are significantly downregulated in response to Dmel\Kdm4A loss, most notably the longevity associated Hsp22 gene and the male sex-determination fruitless gene. Our results have implications for the role of the epigenetic regulator Dmel\Kdm4A in the control of genes involved in lifespan and male-specific sex-determination in the fly.
Aging is accompanied by alterations in epigenetic marks that control chromatin states, including histone acetylation and methylation. Enzymes that reversibly affect histone marks associated with active chromatin have recently been found to regulate aging in C. elegans. However, relatively little is known about the importance for aging of histone marks associated with repressed chromatin. Here we use a targeted RNAi screen in C. elegans to identify four histone demethylases that significantly regulate worm lifespan, UTX-1, RBR-2, LSD-1, and T26A5.5. Interestingly, UTX-1 belongs to a conserved family of histone demethylases specific for lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3), a mark associated with repressed chromatin. Both utx-1 knock-down and heterozygous mutation of utx-1 extend lifespan and increase the global levels of the H3K27me3 mark in worms. The H3K27me3 mark significantly drops in somatic cells during the normal aging process. UTX-1 regulates lifespan independently of the presence of the germline, but in a manner that depends on the insulin-FoxO signaling pathway. These findings identify the H3K27me3 histone demethylase UTX-1 as a novel regulator of worm lifespan in somatic cells.
Histone demethylase; aging; lifespan; UTX; H3K27me3; epigenetic; Insulin pathway; FoxO transcription factor; germline; soma; C. elegans
Posttranslational modifications of histone tails are critical epigenetic marks that regulate diverse cellular processes. Histone lysine methylation activates or represses transcription, depending on the site and degree of these modifications. Two classes of histone lysine demethylases remove histone methylation. Lysine demethylase 1 (KDM1, also known as LSD1) is a flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-containing enzyme that removes mono-/di-methylation. The Jumonji C-terminal domain (JmjC) family of histone demethylases uses Fe2+ and α-ketoglutarate as cofactors to remove all methylation states. Structural studies have provided insights into the overall architecture, the catalytic mechanism, and the substrate specificity of histone demethylases. Here, we review these exciting advances in the structure biology of histone demethylases and discuss the general principles applicable to other histone-modifying enzymes.
Histone methylation can dramatically affect chromatin structure and gene expression and was considered irreversible until recent discoveries of two families of histone demethylases, the KDM1 (previously LSD1) and JmjC domain-containing proteins. These two types of proteins have different functional domains and distinct substrate specificities. Although more and more KDM1 and JmjC proteins have been shown to have histone demethylase activity, our knowledge about their evolution history is limited.
We performed systematic phylogenetic analysis of these histone demethylase families and uncovered different evolutionary patterns. The KDM1 genes have been maintained with a stable low copy number in most organisms except for a few duplication events in flowering plants. In contrast, multiple genes for JmjC proteins with distinct domain architectures were present before the split of major eukaryotic groups, and experienced subsequent birth-and-death evolution. In addition, distinct evolutionary patterns can also be observed between animal and plant histone demethylases in both families. Furthermore, our results showed that some JmjC subfamilies contain only animal genes with specific demethylase activities, but do not have plant members.
Our study improves the understanding about the evolutionary history of KDM1 and JmjC genes and provides valuable insights into their functions. Based on the phylogenetic relationship, we discussed possible histone demethylase activities for several plant JmjC proteins. Finally, we proposed that the observed differences in evolutionary pattern imply functional divergence between animal and plant histone demethylases.
In this article, we characterize histone demethylase activity of the entire family of JmjC+N proteins of Drosophila melanogaster. Our results show that Lid (little imaginal discs), which is structurally homologous to JARID1, demethylates H3K4me3. However, contrary to what would be inferred from its demethylase activity, lid contributes to the establishment of transcriptionally competent chromatin states as: (i) is required for histone H3 acetylation; (ii) contributes to expression of the homoeotic gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx); and (iii) antagonizes heterochromatin-mediated gene silencing (PEV). These results, which are consistent with the identification of lid as a trithorax group (trxG) gene, are discussed in the context of current models for the contribution of H3K4me3 to the regulation of gene expression. Here, we also show that the two Drosophila JMJD2 homologues, dJMJD2(1)/CG15835 and dJMJD2(2)/CG33182, are capable of demethylating both H3K9me3 and H3K36me3. dJMJD2(1)/CG15835 regulates heterochromatin organization, as its over-expression induces spreading of HP1, out of heterochromatin, into euchromatin, without affecting the actual pattern of histone modifications of heterochromatin. dJMJD2(1)/CG15835 is excluded from heterochromatin and localizes to multiple euchromatic sites, where it regulates H3K36 methylation. These results indicate that dJMJD2(1)/CG15835 contributes to delimit hetero- and euchromatic territories through the regulation of H3K36 methylation in euchromatin. On the other hand, dJARID2/CG3654 shows no demethylase activity on H3K4me3, H3K9me3, H3K27me3, H3K36me3 and H4K20me3.
Yeast Gis1 protein functions as a transcription factor after nutrient limitation and oxidative stress. In this report, we show that Gis1 also regulates the induction of several genes involved in spore wall synthesis during sporulation. Gis1 contains a JmjC domain near its N-terminus. In many proteins JmjC domains provide histone demethylase activity. Whether the JmjC domain of Gis1 contributes to its transcriptional activation is still unknown. Here we show that gis1 point mutations that abolish Fe (II) and α-ketoglutarate binding, known co-factors in other JmjC proteins, are still able to induce transcription normally during glucose starvation and sporulation. Even deletion of the whole JmjC domain does not affect transcriptional activation by Gis1. Moreover, the JmjC domain is not required for the toxicity associated with Gis1 overexpression. The data demonstrate that the JmjC domain is dispensable for transcriptional activation by Gis1 during nutrient stress and sporulation.
sporulation; jimonji domain; histone demethylation
Flowering time relies on the integration of intrinsic developmental cues and environmental signals. FLC and its downstream target FT are key players in the floral transition in Arabidopsis. Here, we characterized the expression pattern and function of JMJ18, a novel JmjC domain-containing histone H3K4 demethylase gene in Arabidopsis. JMJ18 was dominantly expressed in companion cells; its temporal expression pattern was negatively and positively correlated with that of FLC and FT, respectively, during vegetative development. Mutations in JMJ18 resulted in a weak late-flowering phenotype, while JMJ18 overexpressors exhibited an obvious early-flowering phenotype. JMJ18 displayed demethylase activity toward H3K4me3 and H3K4me2, and bound FLC chromatin directly. The levels of H3K4me3 and H3K4me2 in chromatins of FLC clade genes and the expression of FLC clade genes were reduced, whereas FT expression was induced and the protein expression of FT increased in JMJ18 overexpressor lines. The early-flowering phenotype caused by the overexpression of JMJ18 was mainly dependent on the functional FT. Our findings suggest that the companion cell–dominant and developmentally regulated JMJ18 binds directly to the FLC locus, reducing the level of H3K4 methylation in FLC chromatin and repressing the expression of FLC, thereby promoting the expression of FT in companion cells to stimulate flowering.
Flowering is an important developmental transition during plant life cycle and the key process for production of the next generation. Flowering time is controlled by both intrinsic developmental and environmental signals. FLC and its target FT work as repressor and activator, respectively, to regulate flowering time in Arabidopsis; thus the regulation of FLC and FT expression is the key for the control of floral transition. Epigenetic modifications are critical for transcription regulation. Here, we show that a novel JmjC domain-containing histone H3K4 demethylase, JMJ18, is a key regulator for the expression of FLC and FT in companion cells and flowering time. JMJ18 is dominantly expressed in vascular tissue; its temporal expression pattern was developmentally regulated, and negatively and positively correlated with FLC and FT, respectively. JMJ18 mutation leads to weak late-flowering, while JMJ18 overexpressor exhibited an obvious early-flowering phenotype. JMJ18 binds to chromatin of FLC, represses its expression, and releases expression of FT in companion cells. Our results suggest that JMJ18 is a developmentally regulated companion cell–dominantly expressed signal to control flowering time by binding to FLC—reducing level of H3K4 methylation in FLC and repressing expression of FLC—thereby promoting expression of FT in companion cells during vegetative development in Arabidopsis.
Involvement of a Jumonji-C domain-containing histone demethylase in DRM2-mediated maintenance of DNA methylation
This work identifies an H3K4m3 demethylase from the Jumonji family (JMJ14) that is required for DRM2-mediated DNA methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana, showing that H3K4m3 marks have a negative impact on the siRNA-driven DRM2 pathway.
Histone demethylases—both lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) and Jumonji-C (JmjC) domain-containing proteins—are broadly implicated in the regulation of chromatin-dependent processes. In Arabidopsis thaliana, histone marks directly affect DNA methylation, and mutations in LSD1 homologues show reduced DNA methylation at some loci. We screened transfer DNA mutations in genes encoding JmjC domains for defects in DNA methylation. Mutations in jmj14 result in reduced DNA methylation in non-CG contexts at targets of DRM2 (domains rearranged methyltransferase 2)-mediated RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM), which is associated with an increase in H3K4m3. Unlike other components of RdDM, JMJ14 is not required for de novo methylation of a transgene, suggesting that JMJ14 is specifically involved in the maintenance phase of DRM2-mediated RdDM.