The medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) was tested as a potential therapeutic for Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) using in vivo and in vitro IBC models. IBC is a lethal and aggressive form of breast cancer that manifests itself without a typical tumor mass. Studies show that IBC tissue biopsies overexpress E-cadherin and the eukaryotic initiation factor 4GI (eIF4GI), two proteins that are partially responsible for the unique pathological properties of this disease. IBC is treated with a multimodal approach that includes non-targeted systemic chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Because of its non-toxic and selective anti-cancer activity, medicinal mushroom extracts have received attention for their use in cancer therapy. Our previous studies demonstrate these selective anti-cancer effects of Reishi, where IBC cell viability and invasion, as well as the expression of key IBC molecules, including eIF4G is compromised. Thus, herein we define the mechanistic effects of Reishi focusing on the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, a regulator of cell survival and growth. The present study demonstrates that Reishi treated IBC SUM-149 cells have reduced expression of mTOR downstream effectors at early treatment times, as we observe reduced eIF4G levels coupled with increased levels of eIF4E bound to 4E-BP, with consequential protein synthesis reduction. Severe combined immunodeficient mice injected with IBC cells treated with Reishi for 13 weeks show reduced tumor growth and weight by ∼50%, and Reishi treated tumors showed reduced expression of E-cadherin, mTOR, eIF4G, and p70S6K, and activity of extracellular regulated kinase (ERK1/2). Our results provide evidence that Reishi suppresses protein synthesis and tumor growth by affecting survival and proliferative signaling pathways that act on translation, suggesting that Reishi is a potential natural therapeutic for breast and other cancers.
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an endemic herpes virus that re-emerges in cancer patients enhancing oncogenic potential. Recent studies have shown that HCMV infection is associated with certain types of cancer morbidity such as glioblastoma. Although HCMV has been detected in breast cancer tissues, its role, if any, in the etiology of specific forms of breast cancer has not been investigated. In the present study we investigated the presence of HCMV infection in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rapidly progressing form of breast cancer characterized by specific molecular signature. We screened for anti-CMV IgG antibodies in peripheral blood of 49 non-IBC invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and 28 IBC patients. In addition, we screened for HCMV-DNA in postsurgical cancer and non-cancer breast tissues of non-IBC and IBC patients. We also tested whether HCMV infection can modulate the expression and activation of transcriptional factor NF-κB/p65, a hallmark of IBC. Our results reveal that IBC patients are characterized by a statistically significant increase in HCMV IgG antibody titers compared to non-IBC patients. HCMV-DNA was significantly detected in cancer tissues than in the adjacent non-carcinoma tissues of IBC and IDC, and IBC cancer tissues were significantly more infected with HCMV-DNA compared to IDC. Further, HCMV sequence analysis detected different HCMV strains in IBC patients tissues, but not in the IDC specimens. Moreover, HCMV-infected IBC cancer tissues were found to be enhanced in NF-κB/p65 signaling compared to non-IBC patients. The present results demonstrated a correlation between HCMV infection and IBC. Etiology and causality of HCMV infection with IBC now needs to be rigorously examined.
Registration of three-dimensional ultrasound (3DUS) volumes is necessary in several applications, such as when stitching volumes to expand the field of view or when stabilizing a temporal sequence of volumes to cancel out motion of the probe or anatomy. Current systems that register 3DUS volumes either use external tracking systems (electromagnetic or optical), which add expense and impose limitations on acquisitions, or are image-based methods that operate offline and are incapable of providing immediate feedback to clinicians. This paper presents a real-time image-based algorithm for rigid registration of 3DUS volumes designed for acquisitions in which small probe displacements occur between frames. Described is a method for feature detection and descriptor formation that takes into account the characteristics of 3DUS imaging. Volumes are registered by determining a correspondence between these features. A global set of features is maintained and integrated into the registration, which limits the accumulation of registration error. The system operates in real-time (i.e. volumes are registered as fast or faster than they are acquired) by using an accelerated framework on a graphics processing unit. The algorithm’s parameter selection and performance is analyzed and validated in studies which use both water tank and clinical images. The resulting registration accuracy is comparable to similar feature-based registration methods, but in contrast to these methods, can register 3DUS volumes in real-time.
ultrasound; registration; real-time; image-based
Measurement of the shape and motion of the mitral valve annulus has proven useful in a number of applications, including pathology diagnosis and mitral valve modeling. Current methods to delineate the annulus from four-dimensional (4D) ultrasound, however, either require extensive overhead or user-interaction, become inaccurate as they accumulate tracking error, or they do not account for annular shape or motion. This paper presents a new 4D annulus segmentation method to account for these deficiencies. The method builds on a previously published three-dimensional (3D) annulus segmentation algorithm that accurately and robustly segments the mitral annulus in a frame with a closed valve. In the 4D method, a valve state predictor determines when the valve is closed. Subsequently, the 3D annulus segmentation algorithm finds the annulus in those frames. For frames with an open valve, a constrained optical flow algorithm is used to the track the annulus. The only inputs to the algorithm are the selection of one frame with a closed valve and one user-specified point near the valve, neither of which needs to be precise. The accuracy of the tracking method is shown by comparing the tracking results to manual segmentations made by a group of experts, where an average RMS difference of 1.67 ± 0.63 mm was found across 30 tracked frames.
Mitral valve; Annulus; Tracking; Segmentation; Ultrasound
Histone variants are non-allelic protein isoforms that play key roles in diversifying chromatin structure. The known number of such variants has greatly increased in recent years, but the lack of naming conventions for them has led to a variety of naming styles, multiple synonyms and misleading homographs that obscure variant relationships and complicate database searches. We propose here a unified nomenclature for variants of all five classes of histones that uses consistent but flexible naming conventions to produce names that are informative and readily searchable. The nomenclature builds on historical usage and incorporates phylogenetic relationships, which are strong predictors of structure and function. A key feature is the consistent use of punctuation to represent phylogenetic divergence, making explicit the relationships among variant subtypes that have previously been implicit or unclear. We recommend that by default new histone variants be named with organism-specific paralog-number suffixes that lack phylogenetic implication, while letter suffixes be reserved for structurally distinct clades of variants. For clarity and searchability, we encourage the use of descriptors that are separate from the phylogeny-based variant name to indicate developmental and other properties of variants that may be independent of structure.
Histones are highly conserved proteins that organize cellular DNA. These proteins, especially their N-terminal domains, are adorned with many post-translational modifications (PTMs) such as lysine methylation, which are associated with active or repressed transcriptional states. The lysine methyltransferase G9a and its interaction partner Glp1 can mono- or dimethylate histone H3 on lysine (H3K9me1 or me2); possible cross-talk between these modifications and other PTMs on the same or other histone molecules is currently uncharacterized. In this study, we comprehensively analyze the effects of G9a/Glp1 knockdown on the most abundant histone modifications through both Bottom Up and Middle Down mass spectrometry-based proteomics. In addition to the expected decrease in H3K9me1/me2 we find that other degrees of methylation on K9 are affected by the reduction of G9a/Glp1 activity, particularly when K9 methylation occurs in combination with K14 acetylation. In line with this, an increase in K14 acetylation upon G9a knockdown was observed across all H3 variants (H3.1, H3.2 and H3.3), hinting at the potential existence of a binary switch between K9 methylation and K14 acetylation. Interestingly, we also detect changes in the abundance of other modifications (such as H3K79me2) in response to lowered levels of G9a/Glp1 suggesting histone PTM cross-talk amongst the H3 variants. In contrast, we find that G9a/Glp1 knockdown produces little effect on the levels of histone H4 PTMs, indicating low to no trans-histone PTM crosstalk. Lastly, we determined gene expression profiles of control and G9a/Glp1 knockdown cells, and we find that the G9a/Glp1 knockdown influences several genes, including DNA binding proteins and key factors in chromatin. Our results provide new insights into the intra- and inter- histone cross-regulation of histone K9 methylation and its potential downstream gene targets.
Eukaryotic chromatin can be highly dynamic and can continuously exchange between an open transcriptionally active conformation and a compacted silenced one. Post-translational modifications of histones have a pivotal role in regulating chromatin states, thus influencing all chromatin dependent processes. Methylation is currently one of the best characterized histone modification and occurs on arginine and lysine residues. Histone methylation can regulate other modifications (e.g. acetylation, phosphorylation and ubiquitination) in order to define a precise functional chromatin environment. In this review we focus on histone methylation and demethylation, as well as on the enzymes responsible for setting these marks. In particular we are describing novel concepts on the interdependence of histone modifications marks and discussing the molecular mechanisms governing this cross-talks.
histone modifications; histone methylation; cross-talk; epigenetic; chromatin
p23 is an Hsp90 co-chaperone located in both the cytoplasm and nucleus that stabilizes unliganded steroid receptors, controls catalytic activity of certain kinases, regulates protein-DNA dynamics and is upregulated in several cancers. We previously demonstrated that p23-overexpressing MCF-7 cells (MCF-7+p23) exhibit increased invasion without affecting the estrogen-dependent proliferative response, which suggests that p23 differentially regulates genes controlling processes linked to breast tumor metastasis. To gain a comprehensive view of the effects of p23 on estrogen receptor (ER)-dependent and -independent gene expression, we profiled mRNA expression from control versus MCF-7+p23 cells in the absence and presence of estrogen. A number of p23-sensitive target genes involved in metastasis and drug resistance were identified. Most striking is that many of these genes are also misregulated in invasive breast cancers, including PMP22, ABCC3, AGR2, Sox3, TM4SF1, and p8 (NUPR1). Upregulation of the ATP-dependent transporter ABCC3 by p23 conferred resistance to the chemotherapeutic agents etoposide and doxorubicin in MCF-7+p23 cells. MCF-7+p23 cells also displayed higher levels of activated Akt and an expanded phosphoproteome relative to control cells, suggesting that elevated p23 also enhances cytoplasmic signaling pathways. For breast cancer patients, tumor stage together with high cytoplasmic p23 expression more accurately predicted disease recurrence and mortality than stage alone. High nuclear p23 was found to be associated with high cytoplasmic p23, therefore both may promote tumor progression and poor prognosis by increasing metastatic potential and drug resistance in breast cancer patients.
p23; Hsp90; estrogen receptor; breast cancer; drug resistance
Segmenting the mitral valve during closure and throughout a cardiac cycle from four dimensional ultrasound (4DUS) is important for creation and validation of mechanical models and for improved visualization and understanding of mitral valve behavior. Current methods of segmenting the valve from 4DUS either require extensive user interaction and initialization, do not maintain the valve geometry across a cardiac cycle, or are incapable of producing a detailed coaptation line and surface. We present a method of segmenting the mitral valve annulus and leaflets from 4DUS such that a detailed, patient-specific annulus and leaflets are tracked throughout mitral valve closure, resulting in a detailed coaptation region. The method requires only the selection of two frames from a sequence indicating the start and end of valve closure and a single point near a closed valve. The annulus and leaflets are first found through direct segmentation in the appropriate frames and then by tracking the known geometry to the remaining frames. We compared the automatically segmented meshes to expert manual tracings for both a normal and diseased mitral valve, and found an average difference of 0.59 ± 0.49 mm, which is on the order of the spatial resolution of the ultrasound volumes (0.5–1.0 mm/voxel).
An accurate and reproducible segmentation of the mitral valve annulus from 3D ultrasound is useful to clinicians and researchers in applications such as pathology diagnosis and mitral valve modeling. Current segmentation methods, however, are based on 2D information, resulting in inaccuracies and a lack of spatial coherence. We present a segmentation algorithm which, given a single user-specified point near the center of the valve, uses max-flow and active contour methods to delineate the annulus geometry in 3D. Preliminary comparisons to manual segmentations and a sensitivity study show the algorithm is both accurate and robust.
mitral; annulus; segmentation; ultrasound
Covalent histone modifications are central to all DNA-dependent processes. Modifications of histones H3 and H4 are becoming well characterised, but knowledge of how H2A modifications regulate chromatin dynamics and gene expression is still very limited.
To understand the function of H2A modifications, we performed a systematic analysis of the histone H2A methylation status. We identified and functionally characterised two new methylation sites in H2A: R11 (H2AR11) and R29 (H2AR29). Using an unbiased biochemical approach in combination with candidate assays we showed that protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) 1 and PRMT6 are unique in their ability to catalyse these modifications. Importantly we found that H2AR29me2 is specifically enriched at genes repressed by PRMT6, implicating H2AR29me2 in transcriptional repression.
Our data establishes R11 and R29 as new arginine methylation sites in H2A. We identified the specific modifying enzymes involved, and uncovered a novel functional role of H2AR29me2 in gene silencing in vivo. Thus this work reveals novel insights into the function of H2A methylation and in the mechanisms of PRMT6-mediated transcriptional repression.
Psychological distress contributes to the development of hypertension in young adults. This trial assessed the effects of a mind–body intervention on blood pressure (BP), psychological distress, and coping in college students.
This was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 298 university students randomly allocated to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program or wait-list control. At baseline and after 3 months, BP, psychological distress, and coping ability were assessed. A subgroup of 159 subjects at risk for hypertension was analyzed similarly.
Changes in systolic BP (SBP)/diastolic BP (DBP) for the overall sample were −2.0/−1.2 mm Hg for the TM group compared to +0.4/+0.5 mm Hg for controls (P = 0.15, P = 0.15, respectively). Changes in SBP/DBP for the hypertension risk subgroup were −5.0/−2.8 mm Hg for the TM group compared to +1.3/+1.2 mm Hg for controls (P = 0.014, P = 0.028, respectively). Significant improvements were found in total psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger/hostility, and coping (P values < 0.05). Changes in psychological distress and coping correlated with changes in SBP (P values < 0.05) and DBP (P values < 0.08).
This is the first RCT to demonstrate that a selected mind–body intervention, the TM program, decreased BP in association with decreased psychological distress, and increased coping in young adults at risk for hypertension. This mind–body program may reduce the risk for future development of hypertension in young adults.
The shape of the mitral valve annulus is used in diagnostic and modeling applications, yet methods to accurately and reproducibly delineate the annulus are limited. This paper presents a mitral annulus segmentation algorithm designed for closed mitral valves which locates the annulus in three-dimensional ultrasound using only a single user-specified point near the center of the valve. The algorithm first constructs a surface at the location of the thin leaflets, and then locates the annulus by finding where the thin leaflet tissue meets the thicker heart wall. The algorithm iterates until convergence metrics are satisfied, resulting in an operator-independent mitral annulus segmentation. The accuracy of the algorithm was assessed from both a diagnostic and surgical standpoint by comparing the algorithm’s results to delineations made by a group of experts on clinical ultrasound images of the mitral valve, and to delineations made by an expert with a surgical view of the mitral annulus on excised porcine hearts using an electromagnetically tracked pointer. In the former study, the algorithm was statistically indistinguishable from the best performing expert (p = 0.85) and had an average RMS difference of 1.81 ± 0.78mm to the expert average. In the latter, the average RMS difference between the algorithm’s annulus and the electromagnetically tracked points across six hearts was 1.19 ± 0.17mm.
Mitral Valve; Annulus; Segmentation; Ultrasound; Graph Cuts
Covalent modifications of histones can regulate all DNA-dependent processes. In the last few years, it has become more and more evident that histone modifications are key players in the regulation of chromatin states and dynamics as well as in gene expression. Therefore, histone modifications and the enzymatic machineries that set them are crucial regulators that can control cellular proliferation, differentiation, plasticity, and malignancy processes. This review discusses the biology and biochemistry of covalent histone posttranslational modifications (PTMs) and evaluates the dual role of their modifiers in cancer: as oncogenes that can initiate and amplify tumorigenesis or as tumor suppressors.
histone modifications; methylation; acetylation; phosphorylation; chromatin; cancer
A randomized wait-list controlled trial (N = 295 university students) of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program was conducted in an urban setting. Substance use was assessed by self-report at baseline and 3 months later. For smoking and illicit drug use, there were no significant differences between conditions. For alcohol use, sex X intervention condition interactions were significant; TM instruction lowered drinking rates among male but not female students. TM instruction could play a valuable role in reducing alcohol use among male university students. Limitations are noted, along with suggestions for further research.
To identify molecular markers of pathologic response to neoadjuvant paclitaxel/radiation treatment, protein and gene expression profiling were done on pretreatment biopsies.
Patients with high-risk, operable breast cancer were treated with three cycles of paclitaxel followed by concurrent paclitaxel/radiation. Tumor tissue from pretreatment biopsies was obtained from 19 of the 38 patients enrolled in the study. Protein and gene expression profiling were done on serial sections of the biopsies from patients that achieved a pathologic complete response (pCR) and compared to those with residual disease, non-pCR (NR).
Proteomic and validation immunohistochemical analyses revealed that α-defensins (DEFA) were overexpressed in tumors from patients with a pCR. Gene expression analysis revealed that MAP2, a microtubule-associated protein, had significantly higher levels of expression in patients achieving a pCR. Elevation of MAP2 in breast cancer cell lines led to increased paclitaxel sensitivity. Furthermore, expression of genes that are associated with the basal-like, triple-negative phenotype were enriched in tumors from patients with a pCR. Analysis of a larger panel of tumors from patients receiving presurgical taxane-based treatment showed that DEFA and MAP2 expression as well as histologic features of inflammation were all statistically associated with response to therapy at the time of surgery.
We show the utility of molecular profiling of pretreatment biopsies to discover markers of response. Our results suggest the potential use of immune signaling molecules such as DEFA as well as MAP2, a microtubule-associated protein, as tumor markers that associate with response to neoadjuvant taxane–based therapy.
The mTOR signaling complex integrates signals from growth factors and nutrient availability to control cell growth and proliferation, in part through effects on the protein-synthetic machinery. Protein synthesis rates fluctuate throughout the cell cycle but diminish significantly during the G2/M transition. The fate of the mTOR complex and its role in coordinating cell growth and proliferation signals with protein synthesis during mitosis remain unknown. Here we demonstrate that the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway, which stimulates protein synthesis, is actually hyperactive during mitosis despite decreased protein synthesis and reduced activity of mTORC1 upstream activators. We describe previously unknown G2/M-specific phosphorylation of a component of mTORC1, the protein raptor, and demonstrate that mitotic raptor phosphorylation alters mTORC1 function during mitosis. Phosphopeptide mapping and mutational analysis demonstrate that mitotic phosphorylation of raptor facilitates cell cycle transit through G2/M. Phosphorylation-deficient mutants of raptor cause cells to delay in G2/M, whereas depletion of raptor causes cells to accumulate in G1. We identify cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (cdk1 [cdc2]) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) pathways as two probable mitosis-regulated protein kinase pathways involved in mitosis-specific raptor phosphorylation and altered mTORC1 activity. In addition, mitotic raptor promotes translation by internal ribosome entry sites (IRES) on mRNA during mitosis and is demonstrated to be associated with rapamycin resistance. These data suggest that this pathway may play a role in increased IRES-dependent mRNA translation during mitosis and in rapamycin insensitivity.
The tails of histone proteins are central players for all chromatin-mediated processes. Whereas the N-terminal histone tails have been studied extensively, little is known about the function of the H2A C-terminus. Here, we show that the H2A C-terminal tail plays a pivotal role in regulating chromatin structure and dynamics. We find that cells expressing C-terminally truncated H2A show increased stress sensitivity. Moreover, both the complete and the partial deletion of the tail result in increased histone exchange kinetics and nucleosome mobility in vivo and in vitro. Importantly, our experiments reveal that the H2A C-terminus is required for efficient nucleosome translocation by ISWI-type chromatin remodelers and acts as a novel recognition module for linker histone H1. Thus, we suggest that the H2A C-terminal tail has a bipartite function: stabilisation of the nucleosomal core particle, as well as mediation of the protein interactions that control chromatin dynamics and conformation.
Histones are the main protein components of chromatin. The N-terminal tails of histones stick out from the nucleosomes, the building blocks of chromatin, and are involved in the regulation of all DNA–dependent processes. Only Histone H2A has an additional C-terminal tail and currently very little is known about the function of this tail. The H2A C-terminus protrudes from the nucleosome and is located where the DNA enters and leaves the nucleosome. We show here that it can interact with the linker histone H1 that is important for higher order chromatin structure. We also find that this tail is involved in regulating nucleosome dynamics and mobility of H2A itself. The C-terminal H2A tail has also an important function in regulating the activity of chromatin remodelers, enzymes that can reposition nucleosomes. Furthermore we find that cells expressing C-terminally truncated H2A are more sensitive to stress, demonstrating that this tail is important for cellular homeostasis. Together our results reflect a key function of the H2A C-terminus in chromatin biology.
The remarkable decline in cardiovascular disease (CVD) experienced in developed countries over the last 40 years appears to have abated. Currently, many CVD patients continue to show cardiac events despite optimal treatment of traditional risk factors. This evidence suggests that additional interventions, particularly those aimed at nontraditional factors, might be useful for continuing the decline. Psychosocial stress is a newly recognized (nontraditional) risk factor that appears to contribute to all recognized mechanisms underlying cardiac events, specifically, (a) clustering of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, (b) endothelial dysfunction, (c) myocardial ischemia, (d) plaque rupture, (e) thrombosis, and (f) malignant arrhythmias. A better understanding of the behavioral and physiologic associations between psychosocial stress and CVD will assist researchers in identifying effective approaches for reducing or reversing the damaging effects of stress and may lead to further reductions of CVD morbidity and mortality.
cardiovascular disease; psychosocial interventions; psychosocial stress; review
Signals processed through the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) control both the proliferation and differentiation of B lymphocytes. How these different signaling modes are established at the BCR is poorly understood. We show that a conserved arginine in the tail sequence of the Igα subunit of the BCR is methylated by the protein arginine methyltransferase 1. This modification negatively regulates the calcium and PI-3 kinase pathways of the BCR while promoting signals leading to B cell differentiation. Thus, Igα arginine methylation can play an important role in specifying the outcome of BCR signaling.
The Trithorax group (TrxG) is composed of diverse, evolutionary conserved proteins that form chromatin-associated complexes accounting for epigenetic transcriptional memory. However, the molecular mechanisms by which particular loci are marked for reactivation after mitosis are only partially understood. Here, based on genetic analyses in zebrafish, we identify the multidomain protein Brpf1 as a novel TrxG member with a central role during development. brpf1 mutants display anterior transformations of pharyngeal arches due to progressive loss of anterior Hox gene expression. Brpf1 functions in association with the histone acetyltransferase Moz (Myst3), an interaction mediated by the N-terminal domain of Brpf1, and promotes histone acetylation in vivo. Brpf1 recruits Moz to distinct sites of active chromatin and remains at chromosomes during mitosis, mediated by direct histone binding of its bromodomain, which has a preference for acetylated histones, and its PWWP domain, which binds histones independently of their acetylation status. This is the first demonstration of histone binding for PWWP domains. Mutant analyses further show that the PWWP domain is absolutely essential for Brpf1 function in vivo. We conclude that Brpf1, coordinated by its particular set of domains, acts by multiple mechanisms to mediate Moz-dependent histone acetylation and to mark Hox genes for maintained expression throughout vertebrate development.
Brpf1; Bromodomain; PWWP domain; Moz; Hox gene expression; Craniofacial development; Cranial neural crest; Pharyngeal arch; Anterior-posterior patterning; Homeotic transformation; Zebrafish
Ionizing radiation (IR) is a physiologically important stress to which cells respond by the activation of multiple signaling pathways. Using a panel of immortalized and transformed breast epithelial cell lines, we demonstrate that IR regulation of protein synthesis occurs in nontransformed cells and is lost with transformation. In nontransformed cells, IR rapidly activates the MAP kinases ERK1/2, resulting in an early transient increase in cap-dependent mRNA translation that involves mTOR and is radioprotective, enhancing the translation of a subset of mRNAs encoding proteins involved in DNA repair and cell survival. Following a transient increase in translation, IR-sensitive (nontransformed) cells inhibit cap-dependent protein synthesis through a mechanism that involves activation of p53, induction of Sestrin 1 and 2 genes, and stimulation of AMP kinase, inhibiting mTOR and hypophosphorylating 4E-BP1. IR is shown to block proteasome-mediated decay of 4E-BP1, increasing its abundance and the sequestration of eIF4E. The IR signal that impairs mTOR-dependent protein synthesis at late times is assembly of the DNA damage response machinery, consisting of Mre11, Rad50, and NBS1 (MRN); activation of the MRN complex kinase ATM; and p53. These results link genotoxic signaling from the DNA damage response complex to the control of protein synthesis.
The linker histone H1 has a key role in establishing and maintaining higher order chromatin structure and in regulating gene expression. Mammals express up to 11 different H1 variants, with H1.2 and H1.4 being the predominant ones in most somatic cells. Like core histones, H1 has high levels of covalent modifications; however, the full set of modifications and their biological role are largely unknown.
In this study, we used a candidate screen to identify enzymes that methylate H1 and to map their corresponding methylation sites. We found that the histone lysine methyltransferases G9a/KMT1C and Glp1/KMT1D methylate H1.2 in vitro and in vivo, and we mapped this novel site to lysine 187 (H1.2K187) in the C-terminus of H1. This H1.2K187 methylation is variant-specific. The main target for methylation by G9a in H1.2, H1.3, H1.5 and H1.0 is in the C-terminus, whereas H1.4 is preferentially methylated at K26 (H1.4K26me) in the N-terminus. We found that the readout of these marks is different; H1.4K26me can recruit HP1, but H1.2K187me cannot. Likewise, JMJD2D/KDM4 only reverses H1.4K26 methylation, clearly distinguishing these two methylation sites. Further, in contrast to C-terminal H1 phosphorylation, H1.2K187 methylation level is steady throughout the cell cycle.
We have characterised a novel methylation site in the C-terminus of H1 that is the target of G9a/Glp1 both in vitro and in vivo. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of variant-specific histone methylation by the same methyltransferases, but with differing downstream readers, thereby supporting the hypothesis of H1 variants having specific functions.