The Polycomb Group (PcG) of chromatin modifiers regulates pluripotency and differentiation. Mammalian genomes encode multiple homologs of the Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) components, including five orthologs of the Drosophila Polycomb protein (Cbx2, Cbx4, Cbx6, Cbx7, and Cbx8). We have identified Cbx7 as the primary Polycomb ortholog of PRC1 complexes in embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The expression of Cbx7 is downregulated during ESC differentiation, preceding the upregulation of Cbx2, Cbx4, and Cbx8, which are directly repressed by Cbx7. Ectopic expression of Cbx7 inhibits differentiation and X chromosome inactivation and enhances ESC self-renewal. Conversely, Cbx7 knockdown induces differentiation and derepresses lineage-specific markers. In a functional screen, we identified the miR-125 and miR-181 families as regulators of Cbx7 that are induced during ESC differentiation. Ectopic expression of these miRNAs accelerates ESC differentiation via regulation of Cbx7. These observations establish a critical role for Cbx7 and its regulatory miRNAs in determining pluripotency.
► Cbx7 is the primary Pc ortholog of the PRC1 complex in pluripotent cells ► Cbx7 repress its homologs to regulate PRC1 composition during ESC differentiation ► Cbx7 promotes a stem-cell-like state by repressing differentiation ► miR-181 and miR-125 regulate Cbx7 expression during ESC differentiation
The Polycomb group (PcG) proteins play a critical role in histone mediated epigenetics which has been implicated in the malignant evolution of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). By systematically interrogating The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we discovered widespread aberrant expression of the PcG members in GBM samples compared to normal brain. The most striking differences were upregulation of EZH2, PHF19, CBX8 and PHC2 and downregulation of CBX7, CBX6, EZH1 and RYBP. Interestingly, changes in EZH2, PHF19, CBX7, CBX6 and EZH1 occurred progressively as astrocytoma grade increased. We validated the aberrant expression of CBX6, CBX7, CBX8 and EZH2 in GBM cell lines by Western blotting and qRT-PCR, and further the aberrant expression of CBX6 in GBM tissue samples by immunohistochemical staining. To determine if there was functional significance to the diminished CBX6 levels in GBM, CBX6 was overexpressed in GBM cells resulting in decreased proliferative capacity. In conclusion, aberrant expression of PcG proteins in GBMs may play a role in the development or maintenance of the malignancy.
Polycomb group (PcG) transcription regulatory proteins maintain cell identity by sustained repression of numerous genes. The differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells induces a genome-wide shift in PcG target gene expression. We investigated the effects of differentiation and protein interactions on CBX family PcG protein localization and dynamics by using fluorescence imaging. In mouse ES cells, different CBX proteins exhibited distinct distributions and mobilities. Most CBX proteins were enriched in foci known as Polycomb bodies. Focus formation did not affect CBX protein mobilities, and the foci dispersed during ES cell differentiation. The mobilities of CBX proteins increased upon the induction of differentiation and decreased as differentiation progressed. The deletion of the chromobox, which mediates interactions with RING1B, prevented the immobilization of CBX proteins. In contrast, the deletion of the chromodomain, which can bind trimethylated lysine 27 of histone H3, had little effect on CBX protein dynamics. The distributions and mobilities of most CBX proteins corresponded to those of CBX-RING1B complexes detected by using bimolecular fluorescence complementation analysis. Epigenetic reprogramming during ES cell differentiation is therefore associated with global changes in the subnuclear distributions and dynamics of CBX protein complexes.
Modification of proteins by the small ubiquitin like modifier (SUMO) is an essential process in mammalian cells. SUMO is covalently attached to lysines in target proteins via an enzymatic cascade which consists of E1 and E2, SUMO activating and conjugating enzymes. There is also a variable requirement for non-enzymatic E3 adapter like proteins, which can increase the efficiency and specificity of the sumoylation process. In addition to covalent attachment of SUMO to target proteins, specific non-covalent SUMO interaction motifs (SIMs) that are generally short hydrophobic peptide motifs have been identified.
Intriguingly, consensus SIMs are present in most SUMO E3s, including the polycomb protein, Pc2/Cbx4. However, a role for SIMs in SUMO E3 activity remains to be shown. We show that Pc2 contains two functional SIMs, both of which contribute to full E3 activity in mammalian cells, and are also required for sumoylation of Pc2 itself. Pc2 forms distinct sub-nuclear foci, termed polycomb bodies, and can recruit partner proteins, such as the corepressor CtBP. We demonstrate that mutation of the SIMs in Pc2 prevents Pc2-dependent CtBP sumoylation, and decreases enrichment of SUMO1 and SUMO2 at polycomb foci. Furthermore, mutational analysis of both SUMO1 and SUMO2 reveals that the SIM-interacting residues of both SUMO isoforms are required for Pc2-mediated sumoylation and localization to polycomb foci.
This work provides the first clear evidence for a role for SIMs in SUMO E3 activity.
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins control the epigenetic inheritance of transcription regulatory states during development. Progression from pluripotency to differentiation requires the concurrent activation and repression of different PcG target genes. We found that REST and nine REST-associated proteins copurified with Cbx family PcG proteins from mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. REST interacted with Cbx proteins in live cells and coprecipitated with endogenous Ring1b. Endogenous PRC1 subunits occupied all sites tested that were bound by REST in ES cells. Antibodies directed against different PRC1 subunits precipitated proximal versus distal RE1 elements with opposite relative efficiencies, suggesting that PRC1 bound different sites in distinct configurations. Deletion of the amino-terminal region of REST (RestΔN knockout) as well as short hairpin RNA depletion of REST (REST knockdown) in ES cells reduced PRC1 binding at distal RE1 elements and increased PRC1 binding at proximal RE1 elements. RestΔN and PRC1 subunit knockout as well as REST and PRC1 subunit knockdown had similar relative effects on transcription of neuronal genes in ES cells, derepressing genes with distal, but not genes with proximal, RE1 elements. In differentiating neurons, RestΔN knockout reduced PRC1 occupancy and derepressed transcription at distal RE1 elements but increased PRC1 occupancy and repressed transcription at proximal RE1 elements. The opposite effects of REST on PRC1 occupancy at different RE1 elements contributed to the gene-specific control of PRC1 functions during ES cell differentiation.
SUMO-specific protease 2 (SENP2) has a broad de-SUMOylation activity in vitro. However, the biological function of SENP2 is largely unknown. Here, we show that deletion of SENP2 gene in mouse causes defects in the embryonic heart and reduces the expression of Gata4 and Gata6, which are essential for cardiac development. SENP2 regulates transcription of Gata4 and Gata6 mainly through alteration of occupancy of Pc2/CBX4, a Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1) subunit, on its promoters. We demonstrate that Pc2/CBX4 is a target of SENP2 in vivo and that SUMOylation is essential for Pc2/CBX4-mediated PRC1 recruitment to methylated histone 3 at K27 (H3K27me3). In SENP2 null embryo, SUMOylated Pc2/CBX4 accumulates and Pc2/CBX4 occupancy on the promoters of PcG target genes is markedly increased, leading to repression of Gata4 and Gata6 transcription. Our results reveal a critical role for de-SUMOylation in the regulation of PcG target gene expression through a novel mechanism.
Polycomb group proteins (PcG) are major epigenetic regulators, essential for establishing heritable expression patterns of developmental control genes. The mouse PcG family member M33/Cbx2 (Chromobox homolog protein 2) is a component of the Polycomb-Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1). Targeted deletion of Cbx2/M33 in mice results in homeotic transformations of the axial skeleton, growth retardation and male-to-female sex reversal. In this study, we tested whether Cbx2 is involved in the control of chromatin remodeling processes during meiosis. Our analysis revealed sex reversal in 28.6% of XY−/− embryos, in which a hypoplastic testis and a contralateral ovary were observed in close proximity to the kidney, while the remaining male mutant fetuses exhibited bilateral testicular hypoplasia. Notably, germ cells recovered from Cbx2(XY−/−) testes on day 18.5 of fetal development exhibited premature meiosis onset with synaptonemal complex formation suggesting a role for Cbx2 in the control of meiotic entry in male germ cells. Mutant females exhibited small ovaries with significant germ cell loss and a high proportion of oocytes with abnormal synapsis and non-homologous interactions at the pachytene stage as well as formation of univalents at diplotene. These defects were associated with failure to resolve DNA double strand breaks marked by persistent γH2AX and Rad51 foci at the late pachytene stage. Importantly, two factors required for meiotic silencing of asynapsed chromatin, ubiquitinated histone H2A (ubH2A) and the chromatin remodeling protein BRCA1, co-localized with fully synapsed chromosome axes in the majority of Cbx2(−/−) oocytes. These results provide novel evidence that Cbx2 plays a critical and previously unrecognized role in germ cell viability, meiosis onset and homologous chromosome synapsis in the mammalian germline.
oogenesis; pericentric heterochromatin; epigenetic modifications; chromatin remodeling; retinoic acid; sex determination
The timing of puberty is controlled by many genes. The elements coordinating this process have not, however, been identified. Here we show that an epigenetic mechanism of transcriptional repression times the initiation of female puberty in rats. We identify silencers of the Polycomb group (PcG) as major contributors to this mechanism, and show that PcG proteins repress Kiss1, a puberty-activating gene. Hypothalamic expression of two key PcG genes, Eed and Cbx7, decreases and methylation of their promoters increases preceding puberty. Inhibiting DNA methylation blocks both events and results in pubertal failure. The pubertal increase in Kiss1 is accompanied by EED loss from the Kiss1 promoter and enrichment of histone H3 modifications associated with gene activation. Preventing the eviction of EED from the Kiss1 promoter disrupts pulsatile GnRH release, delays puberty, and compromises fecundity. Our results identify epigenetic silencing as a novel mechanism underlying the neuroendocrine control of female puberty.
Epigenetic silencing of genes in association with aberrant promoter DNA hypermethylation has emerged as a significant mechanism in the development of human cancers. Such genes are also often targets of the Polycomb group repressive complexes in embryonic cells. The Polycomb repressive complex (PRC) 2 has been best studied in this regard. We now examine a link between PRC1 and cancer specific gene silencing. Here we show a novel and direct association between a constituent of the PRC1 complex, CBX7, with gene repression and promoter DNA hypermethylation of genes frequently silenced in cancer. CBX7 is able to complex with DNA methyltransferase enzymes leading us to explore a role for CBX7 in maintenance and initiation of gene silencing. Knockdown of CBX7 was unable to relieve suppression of deeply silenced genes in cancer cells, however, in embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells, CBX7 can initiate stable repression of genes that are frequently silenced in adult cancers. Furthermore, we are able to observe assembly of DNA methyltransferases at CBX7 target gene promoters. Sustained expression of CBX7 in EC cells confers a growth advantage and resistance to retinoic acid induced differentiation. In this setting, especially, there is increased promoter DNA hypermethylation for many genes by analysis of specific genes as well as through epigenomic studies. Our results allow us to propose a potential mechanism, through assembly of novel repressive complexes, by which the Pc component of PRC1 can promote the initiation of epigenetic changes involving abnormal DNA hypermethylation of genes frequently silenced in adult cancers.
Polycomb; CBX7; DNA Hypermethylation; Gene Silencing
Chromosomal translocations involving the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene lead to the development of acute leukemias. Constitutive HOX gene activation by MLL fusion proteins is required for MLL-mediated leukemogenesis; however, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we show that chromobox homolog 8 (CBX8), a Polycomb Group protein that interacts with MLL-AF9 and TIP60, is required for MLL-AF9-induced transcriptional activation and leukemogenesis. Conversely, both CBX8 ablation and specific disruption of the CBX8 interaction by point mutations in MLL-AF9 abrogate HOX gene upregulation and abolish MLL-AF9 leukemic transformation. Surprisingly, Cbx8 deficient mice are viable and display no apparent hematopoietic defects. Together, our findings demonstrate that CBX8 plays an essential role in MLL-AF9 transcriptional regulation and leukemogenesis.
Misexpression of Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) components in human cells profoundly influences the onset of cellular senescence by modulating transcription of the INK4a tumor suppressor gene. Using tandem affinity purification, we find that CBX7 and CBX8, two Polycomb (Pc) homologs that repress INK4a, both participate in PRC1-like complexes with at least two Posterior sex combs (Psc) proteins, MEL18 and BMI1. Each complex contains a single representative of the Pc and Psc families. In primary human fibroblasts, CBX7, CBX8, MEL18 and BMI1 are present at the INK4a locus and shRNA-mediated knockdown of any one of these components results in de-repression of INK4a and proliferative arrest. Sequential chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) reveals that CBX7 and CBX8 bind simultaneously to the same region of chromatin and knockdown of one of the Pc or Psc proteins results in release of the other, suggesting that the binding of PRC1 complexes is interdependent. Our findings provide the first evidence that a single gene can be regulated by several distinct PRC1 complexes and raise important questions about their configuration and relative functions.
The polycomb repressor complex ubiquitylates γ-H2AX and other components of the DNA damage response pathway to facilitate genomic repair.
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are major determinants of cell identity, stem cell pluripotency, and epigenetic gene silencing during development. The polycomb repressive complex 1, which contains BMI1, RING1, and RING2, functions as an E3-ubuiquitin ligase. We found that BMI1 and RING2 are recruited to sites of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) where they contribute to the ubiquitylation of γ-H2AX. In the absence of BMI1, several proteins dependent on ubiquitin signaling, including 53BP1, BRCA1, and RAP80, are impaired in recruitment to DSBs. Loss of BMI1 sensitizes cells to ionizing radiation to the same extent as loss of RNF8. The simultaneous depletion of both proteins revealed an additive increase in radiation sensitivity. These data uncover an unexpected link between the polycomb and the DNA damage response pathways, and suggest a novel function for BMI1 in maintaining genomic stability.
The chromodomain (CD) of the Drosophila Polycomb protein exhibits preferential binding affinity for histone H3 when trimethylated at lysine 27. Here we have investigated the five mouse Polycomb homologs known as Cbx2, Cbx4, Cbx6, Cbx7, and Cbx8. Despite a high degree of conservation, the Cbx chromodomains display significant differences in binding preferences. Not all CDs bind preferentially to K27me3; rather, some display affinity towards both histone H3 trimethylated at K9 and H3K27me3, and one CD prefers K9me3. Cbx7, in particular, displays strong affinity for both H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 and is developmentally regulated in its association with chromatin. Cbx7 associates with facultative heterochromatin and, more specifically, is enriched on the inactive X chromosome. Finally, we find that, in vitro, the chromodomain of Cbx7 can bind RNA and that, in vivo, the interaction of Cbx7 with chromatin, and the inactive X chromosome in particular, depends partly on its association with RNA. We propose that the capacity of this mouse Polycomb homolog to associate with the inactive X chromosome, or any other region of chromatin, depends not only on its chromodomain but also on the combination of histone modifications and RNA molecules present at its target sites.
In eukaryotes many players in the DNA-damage response (DDR) catalyze protein sumoylation or ubiquitylation. Emphasis has been placed on how these modifications orchestrate the sequential recruitment of repair factors to sites of DNA damage or stalled replication forks. Here, we shed light on a pathway in which sumoylated factors are eliminated through the coupled action of Sumo-targeted ubiquitin ligases (STUbLs) and the ubiquitin-fusion degradation protein 1 (Ufd1). Ufd1 is a subunit of the Cdc48-Ufd1-Npl4 complex implicated in the sorting of ubiquitylated substrates for degradation by the proteasome. We find that in fission yeast, Ufd1 interacts physically and functionally with the Sumo-targeted ubiquitin ligase (STUbL) Rfp1, homologous to human RNF4, and with the Sumo E3 ligase Pli1, homologous to human PIAS1. Deleting a C-terminal domain of Ufd1 that mediates the interaction of Ufd1 with Rfp1, Pli1, and Sumo (ufd1ΔCt213-342) lead to an accumulation of high-molecular-weight Sumo conjugates and caused severe genomic instabilities. The spectrum of sensitivity of ufd1ΔCt213-342 cells to genotoxins, the epistatic relationships of ufd1ΔCt213-342 with mutations in DNA repair factors, and the localization of the repair factor Rad22 in ufd1ΔCt213-342 cells point to ufd1ΔCt213-342 cells accumulating aberrant structures during replication that require homologous recombination (HR) for their repair. We present evidence that HR is however often not successful in ufd1ΔCt213-342 cells and we identify Rad22 as one of the high-molecular-weight conjugates accumulating in the ufd1ΔCt213-342 mutant consistent with Rad22 being a STUbL/Ufd1 substrate. Suggesting a direct role of Ufd1 in the processing of Sumo-conjugates, Ufd1 formed nuclear foci colocalizing with Sumo during the DDR, and Sumo-conjugates accumulated in foci in the ufd1ΔCt213-342 mutant. Broader functional relationships between Ufd1 and STUbLs conceivably affect numerous cellular processes beyond the DDR.
Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) is a protein moiety that is ligated to lysine residues on a variety of target proteins. Many known SUMO substrates are transcription factors or coregulators of transcription, and in most cases, modification with SUMO leads to the attenuation of transcriptional activation. We have examined basic Krüppel-like factor/Krüppel-like factor 3 (BKLF), a zinc finger transcription factor that is known to function as a potent transcriptional repressor. We show that BKLF recruits the E2 SUMO-conjugating enzyme Ubc9 and can be modified by the addition of SUMO-1 in vitro and in vivo. The SUMO E3 ligases PIAS1, PIASγ, PIASxα, and PIASxβ but not Pc2 enhance the sumoylation of BKLF. Site-directed mutagenesis identified two lysines (K10 and K197) of BKLF as the sumoylation sites. Sumoylation does not detectably affect DNA binding by BKLF, but mutation of the sumoylation sites reduces transcriptional repression activity. Most interestingly, when mutations preventing sumoylation are combined with an additional mutation that eliminates contact with the C-terminal binding protein (CtBP) corepressor, BKLF becomes an activator of transcription. These results link SUMO modification to transcriptional repression and demonstrate that both recruitment of CtBP and sumoylation are required for full repression by BKLF.
We have identified human MBT domain-containing protein L3MBTL2 as an integral component of a protein complex that we termed Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1)-like 4 (PRC1L4) given the co-presence of PcG proteins RING1, RING2 and PCGF6/MBLR. PRC1L4 also contained E2F6 and CBX3/ HPlγ known to function in transcriptional repression. PRCIL4-mediated repression necessitated L3MBTL2 that compacted chromatin in a histone modification-independent manner. Genome-wide location analyses identified several hundred genes simultaneously bound by L3MBTL2 and E2F6, preferentially around transcriptional start sites that exhibited little overlap with those targeted by other E2Fs or by L3MBTL1, another MBT-domain containing protein that interacts with RB1. L3MBTL2-specific RNAi resulted in increased expression of target genes that exhibited a significant reduction in H2A lysine 119 monoubiquitination. These findings highlight a PcG/MBT collaboration that attains repressive chromatin without entailing histone lysine methylation marks.
H3K9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) and binding of PcG repressor complex-1 (PRC1) may play crucial roles in the epigenetic silencing of the p16 gene. However, the mechanism of the initiation of this trimethylation is unknown.
In the present study, we found that upregulating the expression of PRC1 component Cbx7 in gastric cancer cell lines MGC803 and BGC823 led to significantly suppress the expression of genes within the p16-Arf-p15 locus. H3K9me3 formation was observed at the p16 promoter and Regulatory Domain (RD). CBX7 and SUV39H2 binding to these regions were also detectable in the CBX7-stably upregulated cells. CBX7-SUV39H2 complexes were observed within nucleus in bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay (BiFC). Mutations of the chromodomain or deletion of Pc-box abolished the CBX7-binding and H3K9me3 formation, and thus partially repressed the function of CBX7. SiRNA-knockdown of Suv39h2 blocked the repressive effect of CBX7 on p16 transcription. Moreover, we found that expression of CBX7 in gastric carcinoma tissues with p16 methylation was significantly lower than that in their corresponding normal tissues, which showed a negative correlation with transcription of p16 in gastric mucosa.
These results demonstrated for the first time, to our knowledge, that CBX7 could initiate H3K9me3 formation at the p16 promoter.
Chromobox 7 (CBX7) is a Polycomb family protein that extends the lifespan of normal human cells via downregulating the expression of INK4a/ARF tumor suppressor locus. It was found that CBX7 expression was upregulated in lymphoma, but downregulated in some other human malignancies. The role of CBX7 in most types of cancer is still not clear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of CBX7 in gastric cancer.
The expression of CBX7 and its potential target protein p16(INK4a) in gastric cancer cell lines and gastric tumors was assayed by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry(IHC). The correlations between CBX7 expression and p16(INK4a), clinicopathological characteristics, and prognosis were analyzed. Gastric cancer cell line SGC-7901 was transfected with CBX7 siRNA expressing plasmids, and the expression of various proteins was analyzed by Western blot analysis. Cellular senescence, anchorage independent growth, and cell migration assays were performed to determine the functional role of CBX7 in gastric cancer cells.
CBX7 was found to be overexpressed in gastric cancer cell lines and gastric tumors. Overexpression of CBX7 in gastric cancer tissues correlated with patients' age, clinical stage and lymph node metastasis. Knockdown of CBX7 expression in gastric cancer cells led to increased cellular senescence, decreased cellular proliferation and migration ability, accompanied by upregulation of p16(INK4a).
CBX7 acts as an oncogene in the carcinogenesis and progression of gastric cancer, and it may regulate tumorigenesis, cell migration and cancer metastasis partially via p16(INK4a) regulatory pathway.
DNA damage activates signaling pathways that lead to modification of local chromatin and recruitment of DNA repair proteins. Multiple DNA repair proteins having ubiquitin ligase activity are recruited to sites of DNA damage, where they ubiquitinate histones and other substrates. This DNA damage-induced histone ubiquitination is thought to play a critical role in mediating the DNA damage response. We now report that the polycomb protein BMI1 is rapidly recruited to sites of DNA damage, where it persists for more than 8 h. The sustained localization of BMI1 to damage sites is dependent on intact ATM and ATR and requires H2AX phosphorylation and recruitment of RNF8. BMI1 is required for DNA damage-induced ubiquitination of histone H2A at lysine 119. Loss of BMI1 leads to impaired repair of DNA double-strand breaks by homologous recombination and the accumulation of cells in G2/M. These data support a crucial role for BMI1 in the cellular response to DNA damage.
Expression of the INK4b/ARF/INK4a tumor suppressor locus in normal and cancerous cell growth is controlled by methylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me) as directed by the Polycomb group proteins. The antisense non-coding RNA ANRIL of the INK4b/ARF/INK4a locus is also important for expression of the protein-coding genes in cis, but its mechanism has remained elusive. Here we report that chromobox 7 (CBX7) within the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 binds to ANRIL, and both CBX7 and ANRIL are found at elevated levels in prostate cancer tissues. In concert with H3K27me recognition, binding to RNA contributes to CBX7 function and disruption of either interaction impacts the ability of CBX7 to repress the INK4b/ARF/INK4a locus and control senescence. Structure-guided analysis reveals the molecular interplay between non-coding RNA and H3K27me as mediated by the conserved chromodomain. Our study suggests a new mechanism by which non-coding RNA participates directly in epigenetic transcriptional repression.
Pc2 (Cbx4) is a member of the chromobox family of polycomb proteins, and is a SUMO E3 ligase for the transcriptional corepressor, CtBP1. Here we show that both CtBP1 and Pc2 are phosphorylated by the kinase Akt1, which is activated by growth factor signaling via the PI3-kinase pathway. In the presence of Pc2, phosphorylation of CtBP1 is increased, and this requires interaction of both CtBP1 and Akt1 with Pc2. Pc2 promotes CtBP1 phosphorylation by recruiting Akt1, and in part by preventing de-phosphorylation of activated Akt1. Alteration of the Akt-phosphorylated residue in CtBP1 to a phosphomimetic results in decreased CtBP1 dimerization, but does not prevent interaction with other transcriptional regulators. The phosphomimetic mutant of CtBP1 is expressed at a lower level than the wild type protein, resulting in decreased transcriptional repression. We show that this CtBP1 mutant is targeted for poly-ubiquitylation and is less stable than the wild type protein. Coexpression of Pc2 and Akt1 together results in both phosphorylation and ubiquitylation of CtBP1, thereby targeting CtBP1 for degradation. This work suggests that Pc2 may coordinate multiple enzymatic activities to regulate CtBP1 function.
CtBP; polycomb; Akt; Pc2; kinase
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are epigenetic chromatin modifiers involved in heritable gene repression. Two main PcG complexes have been characterized. Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is thought to be involved in the initiation of gene silencing, whereas Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) is implicated in the stable maintenance of gene repression. Here, we investigate the kinetic properties of the binding of one of the PRC1 core components, BMI1, with PcG bodies. PcG bodies are unique nuclear structures located on regions of pericentric heterochromatin, found to be the site of accumulation of PcG complexes in different cell lines. We report the presence of at least two kinetically different pools of BMI1, a highly dynamic and a less dynamic fraction, which may reflect BMI1 pools with different binding capacities to these stable heterochromatin domains. Interestingly, PRC2 members EED and EZH2 appear to be essential for BMI1 recruitment to the PcG bodies. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the maintenance DNA methyltransferase DNMT1 is necessary for proper PcG body assembly independent of DNMT-associated histone deacetylase activity. Together, these results provide new insights in the mechanism for regulation of chromatin silencing by PcG proteins and suggest a highly regulated recruitment of PRC1 to chromatin.
HP1 proteins are highly conserved heterochromatin proteins, which have been identified to be structural adapters assembling a variety of macromolecular complexes involved in regulation of gene expression, chromatin remodeling and heterochromatin formation. Much evidence shows that HP1 proteins interact with numerous proteins including methylated histones, histone methyltransferases and so on. Cbx3 is one of the paralogues of HP1 proteins, which has been reported to specifically recognize trimethylated histone H3K9 mark, and a consensus binding motif has been defined for the Cbx3 chromodomain.
Here, we found that the Cbx3 chromodomain can bind to H1K26me2 and G9aK185me3 with comparable binding affinities compared to H3K9me3. We also determined the crystal structures of the human Cbx3 chromodomain in complex with dimethylated histone H1K26 and trimethylated G9aK185 peptides, respectively. The complex structures unveil that the Cbx3 chromodomain specifically bind methylated histone H1K26 and G9aK185 through a conserved mechanism.
The Cbx3 chromodomain binds with comparable affinities to all of the methylated H3K9, H1K26 and G9aK185 peptides. It is suggested that Cbx3 may regulate gene expression via recognizing both histones and non-histone proteins.
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) represent the most toxic DNA damage arisen from endogenous and exogenous genotoxic stresses and are known to be repaired by either homologous recombination or nonhomologous end-joining processes. Although many proteins have been identified to participate in either of the processes, the whole processes still remain elusive. Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are epigenetic chromatin modifiers involved in gene silencing, cancer development and the maintenance of embryonic and adult stem cells. By screening proteins responding to DNA damage using laser micro-irradiation, we found that PHF1, a human homolog of Drosophila polycomb-like, Pcl, protein, was recruited to DSBs immediately after irradiation and dissociated within 10 min. The accumulation at DSBs is Ku70/Ku80-dependent, and knockdown of PHF1 leads to X-ray sensitivity and increases the frequency of homologous recombination in HeLa cell. We found that PHF1 interacts physically with Ku70/Ku80, suggesting that PHF1 promotes nonhomologous end-joining processes. Furthermore, we found that PHF1 interacts with a number of proteins involved in DNA damage responses, RAD50, SMC1, DHX9 and p53, further suggesting that PHF1, besides the function in PcG, is involved in genome maintenance processes.
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly cytotoxic lesions that are generated by ionizing radiation (IR) and various DNA-damaging chemicals. Following DSB formation, cells activate the DNA-damage response (DDR) protein kinases ATM, ATR and DNA-PK. These then trigger histone H2AX phosphorylation and the accumulation of proteins such as MDC1, 53BP1, BRCA1, CtIP, RNF8 and RNF168/RIDDLIN into IR-induced foci (IRIF) that amplify DSB signalling and promote DSB repair1,2. Attachment of Small Ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) to target proteins controls diverse cellular functions3-6. Here, we show that SUMO1, SUMO2 and SUMO3 accumulate at DSB sites in mammalian cells, with SUMO1 and SUMO2/3 accrual requiring the E3 ligase enzymes PIAS4 and PIAS1. We also establish that PIAS1 and PIAS4 are recruited to damage sites via mechanisms requiring their SAP domains, and are needed for the productive association of 53BP1, BRCA1 and RNF168 with such regions. Furthermore, we show that PIAS1 and PIAS4 promote DSB repair and confer IR resistance. Finally, we establish that PIAS1 and PIAS4 are required for effective Ubiquitin-adduct formation mediated by RNF8, RNF168 and BRCA1 at sites of DNA damage7-11. These findings thus identify PIAS1 and PIAS4 as components of the DDR and reveal how protein recruitment to DSB sites is controlled by coordinated sumoylation and ubiquitylation.