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1.  Correction: Telomeric Repeats Facilitate CENP-ACnp1 Incorporation via Telomere Binding Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):10.1371/annotation/c6430c38-0d7a-4b9f-aca9-7d8b212f9f09.
doi:10.1371/annotation/c6430c38-0d7a-4b9f-aca9-7d8b212f9f09
PMCID: PMC3808434
2.  Telomeric Repeats Facilitate CENP-ACnp1 Incorporation via Telomere Binding Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69673.
The histone H3 variant, CENP-A, is normally assembled upon canonical centromeric sequences, but there is no apparent obligate coupling of sequence and assembly, suggesting that centromere location can be epigenetically determined. To explore the tolerances and constraints on CENP-A deposition we investigated whether certain locations are favoured when additional CENP-ACnp1 is present in fission yeast cells. Our analyses show that additional CENP-ACnp1 accumulates within and close to heterochromatic centromeric outer repeats, and over regions adjacent to rDNA and telomeres. The use of minichromosome derivatives with unique DNA sequences internal to chromosome ends shows that telomeres are sufficient to direct CENP-ACnp1 deposition. However, chromosome ends are not required as CENP-ACnp1 deposition also occurs at telomere repeats inserted at an internal locus and correlates with the presence of H3K9 methylation near these repeats. The Ccq1 protein, which is known to bind telomere repeats and recruit telomerase, was found to be required to induce H3K9 methylation and thus promote the incorporation of CENP-ACnp1 near telomere repeats. These analyses demonstrate that at non-centromeric chromosomal locations the presence of heterochromatin influences the sites at which CENP-A is incorporated into chromatin and, thus, potentially the location of centromeres.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069673
PMCID: PMC3729655  PMID: 23936074
3.  DNA Topoisomerase III Localizes to Centromeres and Affects Centromeric CENP-A Levels in Fission Yeast 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003371.
Centromeres are specialized chromatin regions marked by the presence of nucleosomes containing the centromere-specific histone H3 variant CENP-A, which is essential for chromosome segregation. Assembly and disassembly of nucleosomes is intimately linked to DNA topology, and DNA topoisomerases have previously been implicated in the dynamics of canonical H3 nucleosomes. Here we show that Schizosaccharomyces pombe Top3 and its partner Rqh1 are involved in controlling the levels of CENP-ACnp1 at centromeres. Both top3 and rqh1 mutants display defects in chromosome segregation. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation and tiling microarrays, we show that Top3, unlike Top1 and Top2, is highly enriched at centromeric central domains, demonstrating that Top3 is the major topoisomerase in this region. Moreover, centromeric Top3 occupancy positively correlates with CENP-ACnp1 occupancy. Intriguingly, both top3 and rqh1 mutants display increased relative enrichment of CENP-ACnp1 at centromeric central domains. Thus, Top3 and Rqh1 normally limit the levels of CENP-ACnp1 in this region. This new role is independent of the established function of Top3 and Rqh1 in homologous recombination downstream of Rad51. Therefore, we hypothesize that the Top3-Rqh1 complex has an important role in controlling centromere DNA topology, which in turn affects the dynamics of CENP-ACnp1 nucleosomes.
Author Summary
Centromeres are unique regions on eukaryotic chromosomes that are essential for chromosome segregation at mitosis and meiosis. Centromere identity and function depends on the presence of specialized chromatin with nucleosomes containing the centromere-specific histone H3 variant CENP-A. Assembly and disassembly of nucleosomes have previously been shown to involve a family of enzymes known as DNA topoisomerases. We show that centromeres are unique in that they are associated with high levels of Top3, but low levels of Top1 and Top2, suggesting that Top3 is particularly important for centromeric DNA topology. Impaired function of Top3 or its partner Rqh1 results in chromosome segregation defects and increased levels of CENP-ACnp1 at centromeres. This role in limiting the levels of CENP-ACnp1 at centromeres is independent of the established role for the Top3-Rqh1 complex in homologous recombination. Therefore, we hypothesize that the Top3-Rqh1 complex exerts this effect by regulating centromere DNA topology, which in turn affects CENP-ACnp1 nucleosome dynamics. Specific removal of negative supercoiling by Top3 could directly have a negative effect on assembly of CENP-ACnp1 nucleosomes with left-handed negative wrapping of DNA and/or act indirectly by inhibiting transcription-coupled CENP-ACnp1 assembly. Alternatively, Top3 may be a factor that promotes formation of CENP-ACnp1 hemisomes with right-handed wrapping of DNA over conventional octamers. This suggests a new role for the Top3-Rqh1 complex at centromeres and may contribute to the understanding of the structural and functional specification of centromeres.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003371
PMCID: PMC3597498  PMID: 23516381
4.  SWI/SNF-Like Chromatin Remodeling Factor Fun30 Supports Point Centromere Function in S. cerevisiae 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(9):e1002974.
Budding yeast centromeres are sequence-defined point centromeres and are, unlike in many other organisms, not embedded in heterochromatin. Here we show that Fun30, a poorly understood SWI/SNF-like chromatin remodeling factor conserved in humans, promotes point centromere function through the formation of correct chromatin architecture at centromeres. Our determination of the genome-wide binding and nucleosome positioning properties of Fun30 shows that this enzyme is consistently enriched over centromeres and that a majority of CENs show Fun30-dependent changes in flanking nucleosome position and/or CEN core micrococcal nuclease accessibility. Fun30 deletion leads to defects in histone variant Htz1 occupancy genome-wide, including at and around most centromeres. FUN30 genetically interacts with CSE4, coding for the centromere-specific variant of histone H3, and counteracts the detrimental effect of transcription through centromeres on chromosome segregation and suppresses transcriptional noise over centromere CEN3. Previous work has shown a requirement for fission yeast and mammalian homologs of Fun30 in heterochromatin assembly. As centromeres in budding yeast are not embedded in heterochromatin, our findings indicate a direct role of Fun30 in centromere chromatin by promoting correct chromatin architecture.
Author Summary
Centromeres are essential to chromatin structures, providing a binding platform for the mitotic spindle. Defects in centromere structure or function can lead to chromosome missegregation or chromosome breakage. This, in turn, can cause cancer in metazoans. Centromeres are defined by specialized chromatin that contains the histone H3 variant CENP-A (also called CenH3, or Cse4 in budding yeast), and transcription over centromeres is tightly controlled. Budding yeast centromeres are composed of a single nucleosome containing the essential Cse4. Loss of one of these specialized centromeric nucleosomes can lead to chromosome missegregation during mitosis followed by cell death. We provide evidence that energy-dependent chromatin remodeling factor Fun30 supports faithful chromosome segregation, especially when centromere structure is challenged by mutation of Cse4 or by forced transcription through centromeres, which disrupt centromere structure. We show that Fun30 binds to centromeres and that loss of Fun30 leads to various defects in centromere chromatin, suggesting a direct role for Fun30 in promoting normal centromere function. Our analysis shows that Fun30 affects nucleosome positioning at many genomic sites, including centromeres, and is required for normal occupancy of histone variant Htz1. In the absence of Fun30, we detect an increase in transcription through centromeres. We suggest that an important function of Fun30 is to limit transcription over centromeres.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002974
PMCID: PMC3459985  PMID: 23028372
5.  ALBA proteins are stage regulated during trypanosome development in the tsetse fly and participate in differentiation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(22):4205-4219.
The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei is responsible for sleeping sickness and alternates between mammal and tsetse fly hosts. Two proteins of the ALBA family associate to mRNA in cytoplasmic granules during starvation stress, are stage regulated, and contribute to trypanosome development in the tsetse fly.
The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei is responsible for sleeping sickness and alternates between mammal and tsetse fly hosts, where it has to adapt to different environments. We investigated the role of two members of the ALBA family, which encodes hypothetical RNA-binding proteins conserved in most eukaryotes. We show that ALBA3/4 proteins colocalize with the DHH1 RNA-binding protein and with a subset of poly(A+) RNA in stress granules upon starvation. Depletion of ALBA3/4 proteins by RNA interference in the cultured procyclic stage produces cell modifications mimicking several morphogenetic aspects of trypanosome differentiation that usually take place in the fly midgut. A combination of immunofluorescence data and videomicroscopy analysis of live trypanosomes expressing endogenously ALBA fused with fluorescent proteins revealed that ALBA3/4 are present throughout the development of the parasite in the tsetse fly, with the striking exception of the transition stages found in the proventriculus region. This involves migration of the nucleus toward the posterior end of the cell, a phenomenon that is perturbed upon forced expression of ALBA3 during the differentiation process, showing for the first time the involvement of an RNA-binding protein in trypanosome development in vivo.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E11-06-0511
PMCID: PMC3216647  PMID: 21965287
6.  The role of MutY homolog (Myh1) in controlling the histone deacetylase Hst4 in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
Journal of molecular biology  2010;405(3):653-665.
The DNA glycosylase MutY homolog (Myh1) excises adenines misincorporated opposite guanines or 7,8-dihydro-8-oxo-guanines on DNA by base excision repair thereby preventing G:C to T:A mutations. Schizosaccharomyces pombe (Sp) Hst4 is a NAD+-dependent histone/protein deacetylase involved in gene silencing and maintaining genomic integrity. Hst4 regulates deacetylation of histone 3 Lys 56 (H3K56) at the entry and exit points of the nucleosome core particle. Here we demonstrate that hst4 mutant is more sensitive to H2O2 than the wild-type cells. H2O2 treatment results in an SpMyh1 dependent decrease in SpHst4 protein level and hyper-acetylation of H3K56. Furthermore, SpHst4 interacts with SpMyh1 and with cell cycle checkpoint Rad9-Rad1-Hus1 (9-1-1) complex. SpHst4, SpMyh1, and SpHus1 are physically bound to telomeres. Following oxidative stress, there is an increase in the telomeric association of SpMyh1. Conversely, the telomeric association of spHst4 is decreased. Deletion of SpMyh1 strongly abrogated telomeric association of SpHst4 and SpHus1. However, telomeric association of SpMyh1 is enhanced in hst4Δ cells in the presence of chronic DNA damage. These results suggest that SpMyh1 repair regulates the functions of SpHst4 and the 9-1-1 complex in maintaining genomic stability.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2010.11.037
PMCID: PMC3035937  PMID: 21110984
DNA glycosylase; MYH; Hst4; histone deacetylase; Hus1; checkpoint; DNA repair
7.  Identification of Noncoding Transcripts from within CENP-A Chromatin at Fission Yeast Centromeres* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2011;286(26):23600-23607.
The histone H3 variant CENP-A is the most favored candidate for an epigenetic mark that specifies the centromere. In fission yeast, adjacent heterochromatin can direct CENP-ACnp1 chromatin establishment, but the underlying features governing where CENP-ACnp1 chromatin assembles are unknown. We show that, in addition to centromeric regions, a low level of CENP-ACnp1 associates with gene promoters where histone H3 is depleted by the activity of the Hrp1Chd1 chromatin-remodeling factor. Moreover, we demonstrate that noncoding RNAs are transcribed by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) from CENP-ACnp1 chromatin at centromeres. These analyses reveal a similarity between centromeres and a subset of RNAPII genes and suggest a role for remodeling at RNAPII promoters within centromeres that influences the replacement of histone H3 with CENP-ACnp1.
doi:10.1074/jbc.M111.228510
PMCID: PMC3123123  PMID: 21531710
Centromeres; Chromatin Remodeling; Nucleosome; Transcription; Yeast; CENP-A; Noncoding Transcripts
8.  Topoisomerases, chromatin and transcription termination 
Transcription  2011;2(2):66-70.
In eukaryotes transcription is complicated by the DNA being packed in nucleosomes and by supercoils induced by opening of the DNA double helix during elongation. Here we discuss our recent genome-wide work regarding topoisomerases and their role in chromatin remodeling during the transcription cycle and we report a novel function for topoisomerases in transcription termination.
doi:10.4161/trns.2.2.14411
PMCID: PMC3062396  PMID: 21468231
topoisomerases; gene expression; nucleosome; transcription termination; nucleosome free region
9.  Fission Yeast Iec1-Ino80-Mediated Nucleosome Eviction Regulates Nucleotide and Phosphate Metabolism▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;30(3):657-674.
Ino80 is an ATP-dependent nucleosome-remodeling enzyme involved in transcription, replication, and the DNA damage response. Here, we characterize the fission yeast Ino80 and find that it is essential for cell viability. We show that the Ino80 complex from fission yeast mediates ATP-dependent nucleosome remodeling in vitro. The purification of the Ino80-associated complex identified a highly conserved complex and the presence of a novel zinc finger protein with similarities to the mammalian transcriptional regulator Yin Yang 1 (YY1) and other members of the GLI-Krüppel family of proteins. Deletion of this Iec1 protein or the Ino80 complex subunit arp8, ies6, or ies2 causes defects in DNA damage repair, the response to replication stress, and nucleotide metabolism. We show that Iec1 is important for the correct expression of genes involved in nucleotide metabolism, including the ribonucleotide reductase subunit cdc22 and phosphate- and adenine-responsive genes. We find that Ino80 is recruited to a large number of promoter regions on phosphate starvation, including those of phosphate- and adenine-responsive genes that depend on Iec1 for correct expression. Iec1 is required for the binding of Ino80 to target genes and subsequent histone loss at the promoter and throughout the body of these genes on phosphate starvation. This suggests that the Iec1-Ino80 complex promotes transcription through nucleosome eviction.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01117-09
PMCID: PMC2812234  PMID: 19933844
10.  The Schizosaccharomyces pombe JmjC-Protein, Msc1, Prevents H2A.Z Localization in Centromeric and Subtelomeric Chromatin Domains 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(11):e1000726.
Eukaryotic genomes are repetitively packaged into chromatin by nucleosomes, however they are regulated by the differences between nucleosomes, which establish various chromatin states. Local chromatin cues direct the inheritance and propagation of chromatin status via self-reinforcing epigenetic mechanisms. Replication-independent histone exchange could potentially perturb chromatin status if histone exchange chaperones, such as Swr1C, loaded histone variants into wrong sites. Here we show that in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Swr1C is required for loading H2A.Z into specific sites, including the promoters of lowly expressed genes. However S. pombe Swr1C has an extra subunit, Msc1, which is a JumonjiC-domain protein of the Lid/Jarid1 family. Deletion of Msc1 did not disrupt the S. pombe Swr1C or its ability to bind and load H2A.Z into euchromatin, however H2A.Z was ectopically found in the inner centromere and in subtelomeric chromatin. Normally this subtelomeric region not only lacks H2A.Z but also shows uniformly lower levels of H3K4me2, H4K5, and K12 acetylation than euchromatin and disproportionately contains the most lowly expressed genes during vegetative growth, including many meiotic-specific genes. Genes within and adjacent to subtelomeric chromatin become overexpressed in the absence of either Msc1, Swr1, or paradoxically H2A.Z itself. We also show that H2A.Z is N-terminally acetylated before, and lysine acetylated after, loading into chromatin and that it physically associates with the Nap1 histone chaperone. However, we find a negative correlation between the genomic distributions of H2A.Z and Nap1/Hrp1/Hrp3, suggesting that the Nap1 chaperones remove H2A.Z from chromatin. These data describe H2A.Z action in S. pombe and identify a new mode of chromatin surveillance and maintenance based on negative regulation of histone variant misincorporation.
Author Summary
Chromatin is based on a repetitive structural unit called the nucleosome. However, the regulatory properties of chromatin are mediated by the differences between nucleosomes, due to post-translational modifications or the inclusion of histone variants. These differences are maintained by inheritance through cis-acting epigenetic mechanisms. Here we describe a case where the local character of chromatin is not only determined by cis-acting mechanisms but also negatively regulated in trans. The case involves loading of the histone H2A variant, H2A.Z, into chromatin. We show that H2A.Z in the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is mainly found in genes at the first transcribed nucleosome and is inserted into this nucleosome by the Swr1C remodeling machine. However, Swr1C has a regulatory subunit, Msc1, which is not required for H2A.Z promoter loading but prevents H2A.Z occupancy in the inner centromere and subtelomeric regions. These two specialized regions are neither eu- nor heterochromatin and share certain characteristics, which may predispose them to the aberrant inclusion of H2A.Z and the requirement for trans regulation by Msc1.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000726
PMCID: PMC2770259  PMID: 19911051
11.  Functional complementation of RNA interference mutants in trypanosomes 
BMC Biotechnology  2005;5:6.
Background
In many eukaryotic cells, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) triggers RNA interference (RNAi), the specific degradation of RNA of homologous sequence. RNAi is now a major tool for reverse-genetics projects, including large-scale high-throughput screens. Recent reports have questioned the specificity of RNAi, raising problems in interpretation of RNAi-based experiments.
Results
Using the protozoan Trypanosoma brucei as a model, we designed a functional complementation assay to ascertain that phenotypic effect(s) observed upon RNAi were due to specific silencing of the targeted gene. This was applied to a cytoskeletal gene encoding the paraflagellar rod protein 2 (TbPFR2), whose product is essential for flagellar motility. We demonstrate the complementation of TbPFR2, silenced via dsRNA targeting its UTRs, through the expression of a tagged RNAi-resistant TbPFR2 encoding a protein that could be immunolocalized in the flagellum. Next, we performed a functional complementation of TbPFR2, silenced via dsRNA targeting its coding sequence, through heterologous expression of the TbPFR2 orthologue gene from Trypanosoma cruzi: the flagellum regained its motility.
Conclusions
This work shows that functional complementation experiments can be readily performed in order to ascertain that phenotypic effects observed upon RNAi experiments are indeed due to the specific silencing of the targetted gene. Further, the results described here are of particular interest when reverse genetics studies cannot be easily achieved in organisms not amenable to RNAi. In addition, our strategy should constitute a firm basis to elaborate functional-dissection studies of genes from other organisms.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-5-6
PMCID: PMC549545  PMID: 15703078
12.  TbAGO1, an Argonaute protein required for RNA interference, is involved in mitosis and chromosome segregation in Trypanosoma brucei 
BMC Biology  2003;1:2.
Background
RNA silencing processes are widespread in almost all eukaryotic organisms. They have various functions including genome protection, and the control of gene expression, development and heterochromatin formation. RNA interference (RNAi) is the post-transcriptional destruction of RNA, which is mediated by a ribonucleoprotein complex that contains, among several components, RNA helicases and Argonaute proteins. RNAi is functional in trypanosomes, protozoan parasites that separated very early from the main eukaryotic lineage and exhibit several intriguing features in terms of the control of gene expression. In this report, we investigated the functions of RNAi in Trypanosoma brucei.
Results
By searching through genome databases, novel Argonaute-like proteins were identified in several protozoa that belong to the kinetoplastid order, a group of organisms that diverged early from the main eukaryotic lineage. T. brucei possesses two Argonaute-like genes termed TbAGO1 and TbPWI1. Dual transient transfection assays suggest that TbAGO1, but not TbPWI1, is involved in RNAi. The entire coding region of TbAGO1 was deleted by double gene knockout. TbAGO1-/- cells turned out to be completely resistant to RNAi generated either by transfected double-stranded RNA or by expression of an inverted repeat. TbAGO1-/- cells were viable but showed a dramatically reduced growth rate. This was probably due to defects in mitosis and abnormal chromosome segregation as revealed by in situ analysis. The RNAi and growth phenotypes were complemented by the inducible expression of a GFP::TbAGO1 fusion protein that revealed the cytoplasmic location of the protein.
Conclusions
The requirement of TbAGO1 for RNAi in trypanosomes demonstrates the evolutionary ancient involvement of Argonaute proteins in RNAi silencing processes. RNAi-deficient TbAGO1-/- cells showed numerous defects in chromosome segregation and mitotic spindle assembly. We propose a working hypothesis in which RNAi would be involved in heterochromatin formation at the centromere and therefore in chromosome segregation.
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-1-2
PMCID: PMC317389  PMID: 14670085

Results 1-12 (12)