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1.  Pin1 promotes histone H1 dephosphorylation and stabilizes its binding to chromatin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;203(1):57-71.
The prolyl isomerase Pin1 stimulates the dephosphorylation of histone H1, stabilizing its binding to chromatin at transcriptionally active chromatin.
Histone H1 plays a crucial role in stabilizing higher order chromatin structure. Transcriptional activation, DNA replication, and chromosome condensation all require changes in chromatin structure and are correlated with the phosphorylation of histone H1. In this study, we describe a novel interaction between Pin1, a phosphorylation-specific prolyl isomerase, and phosphorylated histone H1. A sub-stoichiometric amount of Pin1 stimulated the dephosphorylation of H1 in vitro and modulated the structure of the C-terminal domain of H1 in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. Depletion of Pin1 destabilized H1 binding to chromatin only when Pin1 binding sites on H1 were present. Pin1 recruitment and localized histone H1 phosphorylation were associated with transcriptional activation independent of RNA polymerase II. We thus identify a novel form of histone H1 regulation through phosphorylation-dependent proline isomerization, which has consequences on overall H1 phosphorylation levels and the stability of H1 binding to chromatin.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201305159
PMCID: PMC3798258  PMID: 24100296
2.  CBX4-mediated SUMO modification regulates BMI1 recruitment at sites of DNA damage 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(12):5497-5510.
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are involved in epigenetic silencing where they function as major determinants of cell identity, stem cell pluripotency and the epigenetic gene silencing involved in cancer development. Recently numerous PcG proteins, including CBX4, have been shown to accumulate at sites of DNA damage. However, it remains unclear whether or not CBX4 or its E3 sumo ligase activity is directly involved in the DNA damage response (DDR). Here we define a novel role for CBX4 as an early DDR protein that mediates SUMO conjugation at sites of DNA lesions. DNA damage stimulates sumoylation of BMI1 by CBX4 at lysine 88, which is required for the accumulation of BMI1 at DNA damage sites. Moreover, we establish that CBX4 recruitment to the sites of laser micro-irradiation-induced DNA damage requires PARP activity but does not require H2AX, RNF8, BMI1 nor PI-3-related kinases. The importance of CBX4 in the DDR was confirmed by the depletion of CBX4, which resulted in decreased cellular resistance to ionizing radiation. Our results reveal a direct role for CBX4 in the DDR pathway.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks222
PMCID: PMC3384338  PMID: 22402492
3.  BMI1-mediated histone ubiquitylation promotes DNA double-strand break repair 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;191(1):45-60.
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.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201003034
PMCID: PMC2953429  PMID: 20921134
4.  Characterization of the histone H2A.Z-1 and H2A.Z-2 isoforms in vertebrates 
BMC Biology  2009;7:86.
Background
Within chromatin, the histone variant H2A.Z plays a role in many diverse nuclear processes including transcription, preventing the spread of heterochromatin and epigenetic transcriptional memory. The molecular mechanisms of how H2A.Z mediates its effects are not entirely understood. However, it is now known that H2A.Z has two protein isoforms in vertebrates, H2A.Z-1 and H2A.Z-2, which are encoded by separate genes and differ by 3 amino acid residues.
Results
We report that H2A.Z-1 and H2A.Z-2 are expressed across a wide range of human tissues, they are both acetylated at lysine residues within the N-terminal region and they exhibit similar, but nonidentical, distributions within chromatin. Our results suggest that H2A.Z-2 preferentially associates with H3 trimethylated at lysine 4 compared to H2A.Z-1. The phylogenetic analysis of the promoter regions of H2A.Z-1 and H2A.Z-2 indicate that they have evolved separately during vertebrate evolution.
Conclusions
Our biochemical, gene expression, and phylogenetic data suggest that the H2A.Z-1 and H2A.Z-2 variants function similarly yet they may have acquired a degree of functional independence.
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-7-86
PMCID: PMC2805615  PMID: 20003410
5.  Nucleoplasmic β-actin exists in a dynamic equilibrium between low-mobility polymeric species and rapidly diffusing populations 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;172(4):541-552.
β-Actin, once thought to be an exclusively cytoplasmic protein, is now known to have important functions within the nucleus. Nuclear β-actin associates with and functions in chromatin remodeling complexes, ribonucleic acid polymerase complexes, and at least some ribonucleoproteins. Proteins involved in regulating actin polymerization are also found in the interphase nucleus. We define the dynamic properties of nuclear actin molecules using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Our results indicate that actin and actin-containing complexes are reduced in their mobility through the nucleoplasm diffusing at ∼0.5 μm2 s−1. We also observed that ∼20% of the total nuclear actin pool has properties of polymeric actin that turns over rapidly. This pool could be detected in endogenous nuclear actin by using fluorescent polymeric actin binding proteins and was sensitive to drugs that alter actin polymerization. Our results validate previous reports of polymeric forms of nuclear actin observed in fixed specimens and reveal that these polymeric forms are very dynamic.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200507101
PMCID: PMC2063674  PMID: 16476775

Results 1-5 (5)