The human X-linked macrosatellite DXZ4 is a large tandem repeat located at Xq23 that is packaged into heterochromatin on the male X chromosome and female active X chromosome and, in response to X chromosome, inactivation is organized into euchromatin bound by the insulator protein CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) on the inactive X chromosome (Xi). The purpose served by this unusual epigenetic regulation is unclear, but suggests a Xi-specific gain of function for DXZ4. Other less extensive bands of euchromatin can be observed on the Xi, but the identity of the underlying DNA sequences is unknown. Here, we report the identification of two novel human X-linked tandem repeats, located 58 Mb proximal and 16 Mb distal to the macrosatellite DXZ4. Both tandem repeats are entirely contained within the transcriptional unit of novel spliced transcripts. Like DXZ4, the tandem repeats are packaged into Xi-specific CTCF-bound euchromatin. These sequences undergo frequent CTCF-dependent interactions with DXZ4 on the Xi, implicating DXZ4 as an epigenetically regulated Xi-specific structural element and providing the first putative functional attribute of a macrosatellite in the human genome.
DUX4 (Double Homeobox Protein 4) is a nuclear transcription factor encoded at each D4Z4 unit of a tandem-repeat array at human chromosome 4q35. DUX4 constitutes a major candidate pathogenic protein for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), the third most common form of inherited myopathy. A low-level expression of DUX4 compromises cell differentiation in myoblasts and its overexpression induces apoptosis in cultured cells and living organisms. In this work we explore potential molecular determinants of DUX4 mediating nuclear import and cell toxicity. Deletion of the hypothetical monopartite nuclear localization sequences RRRR23, RRKR98 and RRAR148 (i.e. NLS1, NLS2 and NLS3, respectively) only partially delocalizes DUX4 from the cell nuclei. Nuclear entrance guided by NLS1, NLS2 and NLS3 does not follow the classical nuclear import pathway mediated by α/β importins. NLS and homeodomain mutants from DUX4 are dramatically less cell-toxic than the wild type molecule, independently of their subcellular localization. A triple ΔNLS1-2-3 deletion mutant is still partially localized in the nuclei, indicating that additional sequences in DUX4 contribute to nuclear import. Deletion of ≥111 amino acids from the C-terminal of DUX4, on a ΔNLS1-2-3 background, almost completely re-localizes DUX4 to the cytoplasm, indicating that the C-ter tail contributes to subcellular trafficking of DUX4. Also, C-terminal deletion mutants of DUX4 on a NLS wild type background are less toxic than wild type DUX4. Results reported here indicate that DUX4 possesses redundant mechanisms to assure nuclear entrance and that its various transcription-factor associated domains play an essential role in cell toxicity.
Inactive DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 3B splice isoforms are associated with changes in DNA methylation, yet the mechanisms by which they act remain largely unknown. Using biochemical and cell culture assays, we show here that the inactive DNMT3B3 and DNMT3B4 isoforms bind to and regulate the activity of catalytically competent DNMT3A or DNMT3B molecules. DNMT3B3 modestly stimulated the de novo methylation activity of DNMT3A and also counteracted the stimulatory effects of DNMT3L, therefore leading to subtle and contrasting effects on activity. DNMT3B4, by contrast, significantly inhibited de novo DNA methylation by active DNMT3 molecules, most likely due to its ability to reduce the DNA binding affinity of co-complexes, thereby sequestering them away from their substrate. Immunocytochemistry experiments revealed that in addition to their effects on the intrinsic catalytic function of active DNMT3 enzymes, DNMT3B3 and DNMT34 drive distinct types of chromatin compaction and patterns of histone 3 lysine 9 tri-methylation (H3K9me3) deposition. Our findings suggest that regulation of active DNMT3 members through the formation of co-complexes with inactive DNMT3 variants is a general mechanism by which DNMT3 variants function. This may account for some of the changes in DNA methylation patterns observed during development and disease.
The catalogue of genes expressed at different levels in the two sexes is growing, and the mechanisms underlying sex differences in regulation of the mammalian transcriptomes are being explored. Here we report that the expression of the imprinted non-protein-coding maternally expressed gene H19 was female-biased specifically in the female mouse eye (1.9-fold, p = 3.0E−6) while not being sex-biased in other somatic tissues. The female-to-male expression fold-change of H19 fell in the range expected from an effect of biallelic versus monoallelic expression. Recently, the possibility of sex-specific parent-of-origin allelic expression has been debated. This led us to hypothesize that H19 might express biallelically in the female mouse eye, thus escape its silencing imprint on the paternal allele specifically in this tissue. We therefore performed a sex-specific imprinting assay of H19 in female and male eye derived from a cross between Mus musculus and Mus spretus. However, this analysis demonstrated that H19 was exclusively expressed from the maternal gene copy, disproving the escape hypothesis. Instead, this supports that the female-biased expression of H19 is the result of upregulation of the single maternal. Furthermore, if H19 would have been expressed from both gene copies in the female eye, an associated downregulation of Insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) was expected, since H19 and Igf2 compete for a common enhancer element located in the H19/Igf2 imprinted domain. On the contrary we found that also Igf2 was significantly upregulated in its expression in the female eye (1.2-fold, p = 6.1E−3), in further agreement with the conclusion that H19 is monoallelically elevated in females. The female-biased expression of H19 and Igf2 specifically in the eye may contribute to our understanding of sex differences in normal as well as abnormal eye physiology and processes.
B-chromosomes are frequently argued to be genetically inert elements, but activity for some particular genes has been reported, especially for ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes whose expression can easily be detected at the cytological level by the visualization of their phenotypic expression, i.e., the nucleolus. The B24 chromosome in the grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans frequently shows a nucleolus attached to it during meiotic prophase I. Here we show the presence of rRNA transcripts that unequivocally came from the B24 chromosome. To detect these transcripts, we designed primers specifically anchoring at the ITS-2 region, so that the reverse primer was complementary to the B chromosome DNA sequence including a differential adenine insertion being absent in the ITS2 of A chromosomes. PCR analysis carried out on genomic DNA showed amplification in B-carrying males but not in B-lacking ones. PCR analyses performed on complementary DNA showed amplification in about half of B-carrying males. Joint cytological and molecular analysis performed on 34 B-carrying males showed a close correspondence between the presence of B-specific transcripts and of nucleoli attached to the B chromosome. In addition, the molecular analysis revealed activity of the B chromosome rDNA in 10 out of the 13 B-carrying females analysed. Our results suggest that the nucleoli attached to B chromosomes are actively formed by expression of the rDNA carried by them, and not by recruitment of nucleolar materials formed in A chromosome nucleolar organizing regions. Therefore, B-chromosome rDNA in E. plorans is functional since it is actively transcribed to form the nucleolus attached to the B chromosome. This demonstrates that some heterochromatic B chromosomes can harbour functional genes.
In D. melanogaster polytene chromosomes, intercalary heterochromatin (IH) appears as large dense bands scattered in euchromatin and comprises clusters of repressed genes. IH displays distinctly low gene density, indicative of their particular regulation. Genes embedded in IH replicate late in the S phase and become underreplicated. We asked whether localization and organization of these late-replicating domains is conserved in a distinct cell type. Using published comprehensive genome-wide chromatin annotation datasets (modENCODE and others), we compared IH organization in salivary gland cells and in a Kc cell line. We first established the borders of 60 IH regions on a molecular map, these regions containing underreplicated material and encompassing ∼12% of Drosophila genome. We showed that in Kc cells repressed chromatin constituted 97% of the sequences that corresponded to IH bands. This chromatin is depleted for ORC-2 binding and largely replicates late. Differences in replication timing between the cell types analyzed are local and affect only sub-regions but never whole IH bands. As a rule such differentially replicating sub-regions display open chromatin organization, which apparently results from cell-type specific gene expression of underlying genes. We conclude that repressed chromatin organization of IH is generally conserved in polytene and non-polytene cells. Yet, IH domains do not function as transcription- and replication-regulatory units, because differences in transcription and replication between cell types are not domain-wide, rather they are restricted to small “islands” embedded in these domains. IH regions can thus be defined as a special class of domains with low gene density, which have narrow temporal expression patterns, and so displaying relatively conserved organization.
DXZ4 is an X-linked macrosatellite composed of 12–100 tandemly arranged 3-kb repeat units. In females, it adopts opposite chromatin arrangements at the two alleles in response to X-chromosome inactivation. In males and on the active X chromosome, it is packaged into heterochromatin, but on the inactive X chromosome (Xi), it adopts a euchromatic conformation bound by CTCF. Here we report that the ubiquitous transcription factor YY1 associates with the euchromatic form of DXZ4 on the Xi. The binding of YY1 close to CTCF is reminiscent of that at other epigenetically regulated sequences, including sites of genomic imprinting, and at the X-inactivation centre, suggesting a common mode of action in this arrangement. As with CTCF, binding of YY1 to DXZ4 in vitro is not blocked by CpG methylation, yet in vivo both proteins are restricted to the hypomethylated form. In several male carcinoma cell lines, DXZ4 can adopt a Xi-like conformation in response to cellular transformation, characterized by CpG hypomethylation and binding of YY1 and CTCF. Analysis of a male melanoma cell line and normal skin cells from the same individual confirmed that a transition in chromatin state occurred in response to transformation.
Transmembrane protein 18 (TMEM18) has previously been connected to cell migration and obesity. However, the molecular function of the protein has not yet been described. Here we show that TMEM18 localises to the nuclear membrane and binds to DNA in a sequence-specific manner. The protein binds DNA with its positively charged C-terminus that contains also a nuclear localisation signal. Increase in the amount of TMEM18 in cells suppresses expression from a reporter vector with the TMEM18 target sequence. TMEM18 is a small protein of 140 residues and is predicted to be mostly alpha-helical with three transmembrane parts. As a consequence the DNA binding by TMEM18 would bring the chromatin very near to nuclear membrane. We speculate that this closed perinuclear localisation of TMEM18-bound DNA might repress transcription from it.
Macrosatellites are some of the most polymorphic regions of the human genome, yet many remain uncharacterized despite the association of some arrays with disease susceptibility. This study sought to explore the polymorphic nature of the X-linked macrosatellite DXZ4. Four aspects of DXZ4 were explored in detail, including tandem repeat copy number variation, array instability, monomer sequence polymorphism and array expression. DXZ4 arrays contained between 12 and 100 3.0 kb repeat units with an average array containing 57. Monomers were confirmed to be arranged in uninterrupted tandem arrays by restriction digest analysis and extended fiber FISH, and therefore DXZ4 encompasses 36–288 kb of Xq23. Transmission of DXZ4 through three generations in three families displayed a high degree of meiotic instability (8.3%), consistent with other macrosatellite arrays, further highlighting the unstable nature of these sequences in the human genome. Subcloning and sequencing of complete DXZ4 monomers identified numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms and alleles for the three microsatellite repeats located within each monomer. Pairwise comparisons of DXZ4 monomer sequences revealed that repeat units from an array are more similar to one another than those originating from different arrays. RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed significant variation in DXZ4 expression both within and between cell lines. DXZ4 transcripts could be detected originiating from both the active and inactive X chromosome. Expression levels of DXZ4 varied significantly between males, but did not relate to the size of the array, nor did inheritance of the same array result in similar expression levels. Collectively, these studies provide considerable insight into the polymorphic nature of DXZ4, further highlighting the instability and variation potential of macrosatellites in the human genome.
Comparative sequence analysis is a powerful means with which to identify functionally relevant non-coding DNA elements through conserved nucleotide sequence. The macrosatellite DXZ4 is a polymorphic, uninterrupted, tandem array of 3-kb repeat units located exclusively on the human X chromosome. While not obviously protein coding, its chromatin organization suggests differing roles for the array on the active and inactive X chromosomes.
In order to identify important elements within DXZ4, we explored preservation of DNA sequence and chromatin conformation of the macrosatellite in primates. We found that DXZ4 DNA sequence conservation beyond New World monkeys is limited to the promoter and CTCF binding site, although DXZ4 remains a GC-rich tandem array. Investigation of chromatin organization in macaques revealed that DXZ4 in males and on the active X chromosome is packaged into heterochromatin, whereas on the inactive X, DXZ4 was euchromatic and bound by CTCF.
Collectively, these data suggest an important conserved role for DXZ4 on the X chromosome involving expression, CTCF binding and tandem organization.
Macrosatellites are some of the largest variable number tandem repeats in the human genome, but what role these unusual sequences perform is unknown. Their importance to human health is clearly demonstrated by the 4q35 macrosatellite D4Z4 that is associated with the onset of the muscle degenerative disease facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. Nevertheless, many other macrosatellite arrays in the human genome remain poorly characterized.
Here we describe the organization, tandem repeat copy number variation, transmission stability and expression of four macrosatellite arrays in the human genome: the TAF11-Like array located on chromosomes 5p15.1, the SST1 arrays on 4q28.3 and 19q13.12, the PRR20 array located on chromosome 13q21.1, and the ZAV array at 9q32. All are polymorphic macrosatellite arrays that at least for TAF11-Like and SST1 show evidence of meiotic instability. With the exception of the SST1 array that is ubiquitously expressed, all are expressed at high levels in the testis and to a lesser extent in the brain.
Our results extend the number of characterized macrosatellite arrays in the human genome and provide the foundation for formulation of hypotheses to begin assessing their functional role in the human genome.
Chromosomal replication results in the duplication not only of DNA sequence but also of the patterns of histone modification, DNA methylation, and nucleoprotein structure that constitute epigenetic information. Pericentromeric heterochromatin in human cells is characterized by unique patterns of histone and DNA modification. Here, we describe association of the Mi-2/NuRD complex with specific segments of pericentromeric heterochromatin consisting of Satellite II DNA located on human chromosomes 1, 9 and 16 in some, but not all cell types. This association is linked in part to DNA replication and chromatin assembly, and may suggest a role in these processes. Mi-2/NuRD accumulation is independent of Polycomb association and is characterized by a unique pattern of histone modification. We propose that Mi-2/NuRD constitutes an enzymatic component of a pathway for assembly and maturation of chromatin utilized by rapidly proliferating lymphoid cells for replication of constitutive heterochromatin.
Although the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 is one of the most extensively characterized genetic loci, much less is known about its upstream variable number tandem repeat element, the RNU2 locus. RNU2 encodes the U2 small nuclear RNA, an essential splicing element, but this locus is missing from the human genome assembly due to the inherent difficulty in the assembly of repetitive sequences. To fill the gap between RNU2 and BRCA1, we have reconstructed the physical map of this region by re-examining genomic clone sequences of public databases, which allowed us to precisely localize the RNU2 array 124 kb telomeric to BRCA1. We measured by performing FISH analyses on combed DNA for the first time the exact number of repeats carried by each of the two alleles in 41 individuals and found a range of 6-82 copies and a level of heterozygosity of 98%. The precise localisation of the RNU2 locus in the genome reference assembly and the implementation of a new technical tool to study it will make the detailed exploration of this locus possible. This recently neglected macrosatellite could be valuable for evaluating the potential role of structural variations in disease due to its location next to a major cancer susceptibility gene.
Knockdown of the insulator factor CCCTC binding factor (CTCF), which binds XL9, an intergenic element located between HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQA1, was found to diminish expression of these genes. The mechanism involved interactions between CTCF and class II transactivator (CIITA), the master regulator of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) gene expression, and the formation of long-distance chromatin loops between XL9 and the proximal promoter regions of these MHC-II genes. The interactions were inducible and dependent on the activity of CIITA, regulatory factor X, and CTCF. RNA fluorescence in situ hybridizations show that both genes can be expressed simultaneously from the same chromosome. Collectively, the results suggest a model whereby both HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQA1 loci can interact simultaneously with XL9, and describe a new regulatory mechanism for these MHC-II genes involving the alteration of the general chromatin conformation of the region and their regulation by CTCF.
One of several features acquired by chromatin of the inactive X chromosome (Xi) is enrichment for the core histone H2A variant macroH2A within a distinct nuclear structure referred to as a macrochromatin body (MCB). In addition to localizing to the MCB, macroH2A accumulates at a perinuclear structure centered at the centrosome. To better understand the association of macroH2A1 with the centrosome and the formation of an MCB, we investigated the distribution of macroH2A1 throughout the somatic cell cycle. Unlike Xi-specific RNA, which associates with the Xi throughout interphase, the appearance of an MCB is predominantly a feature of S phase. Although the MCB dissipates during late S phase and G2 before reforming in late G1, macroH2A1 remains associated during mitosis with specific regions of the Xi, including at the X inactivation center. This association yields a distinct macroH2A banding pattern that overlaps with the site of histone H3 lysine-4 methylation centered at the DXZ4 locus in Xq24. The centrosomal pool of macroH2A1 accumulates in the presence of an inhibitor of the 20S proteasome. Therefore, targeting of macroH2A1 to the centrosome is likely part of a degradation pathway, a mechanism common to a variety of other chromatin proteins.
XIST; macroH2A; chromatin; centrosome; aggresome
Chromatin on the mammalian inactive X chromosome differs in a number of ways from that on the active X. One protein, macroH2A, whose amino terminus is closely related to histone H2A, is enriched on the heterochromatic inactive X chromosome in female cells. Here, we report the identification and localization of a novel and more distant histone variant, designated H2A-Bbd, that is only 48% identical to histone H2A. In both interphase and metaphase female cells, using either a myc epitope–tagged or green fluorescent protein–tagged H2A-Bbd construct, the inactive X chromosome is markedly deficient in H2A-Bbd staining, while the active X and the autosomes stain throughout. In double-labeling experiments, antibodies to acetylated histone H4 show a pattern of staining indistinguishable from H2A-Bbd in interphase nuclei and on metaphase chromosomes. Chromatin fractionation demonstrates association of H2A-Bbd with the histone proteins. Separation of micrococcal nuclease–digested chromatin by sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation shows cofractionation of H2A-Bbd with nucleosomes, supporting the idea that H2A-Bbd is incorporated into nucleosomes as a substitute for the core histone H2A. This finding, in combination with the overlap with acetylated forms of H4, raises the possibility that H2A-Bbd is enriched in nucleosomes associated with transcriptionally active regions of the genome. The distribution of H2A-Bbd thus distinguishes chromatin on the active and inactive X chromosomes.
histones; X chromosome inactivation; euchromatin; histone H4 acetylation; macroH2A
Chromatin on the inactive X chromosome (Xi) of female mammals
is enriched for the histone variant macroH2A that can be detected
at interphase as a distinct nuclear structure referred to as a macro chromatin
body (MCB). Green fluorescent protein-tagged and Myc epitope-tagged
macroH2A readily form an MCB in the nuclei of transfected female,
but not male, cells. Using targeted disruptions, we have identified
two macrochromatin domains within macroH2A that are independently
capable of MCB formation and association with the Xi. Complete removal
of the non-histone C-terminal tail does not reduce the efficiency
of association of the variant histone domain of macroH2A with the
Xi, indicating that the histone portion alone can target the Xi.
The non-histone domain by itself is incapable of MCB formation.
However, when directed to the nucleosome by fusion to core histone
H2A or H2B, the non-histone tail forms an MCB that appears identical
to that of the endogenous protein. Mutagenesis of the non-histone
portion of macroH2A localized the region required for MCB formation
and targeting to the Xi to an ∼190 amino
The expression of At4g34880 gene encoding amidase in Arabidopsis was characterized in this study. A promoter region of 1.5 kb on the upstream of the start codon of the gene (referred as AmidP) was fused with uidA (GUS) reporter gene, and transformed into Arabidopsis plant for determining its spatial expression. The results indicated that AmidP drived GUS expression in vascular system, predominately in leaves. Truncation analysis of AmidP demonstrated that VASCULAR VEIN ELEMENT (VVE) motif with a region of 176 bp sequence (−1500 to −1324) was necessary and sufficient to direct the vascular vein specific GUS expression in the transgenic plant. Tandem copy of VVE increased vascular system expression, and 5′- and 3′- deletions of VVE motif in combination with a truncated −65 CaMV 35S minimal promoter showed that 11bp cis-acting element, naming DOF2 domain, played an essential role for the vascular vein specific expression. Meanwhile, it was also observed that the other cis-acting elements among the VVE region are also associated with specificity or strength of GUS activities in vascular system.
Due to the self-propagating nature of the heterochromatic modification H3K27me3, chromatin barrier activities are required to demarcate the boundary and prevent it from encroaching into euchromatic regions. Studies in Drosophila and vertebrate systems have revealed several important chromatin barrier elements and their respective binding factors. However, epigenomic data indicate that the binding of these factors are not exclusive to chromatin boundaries. To gain a comprehensive understanding of facultative heterochromatin boundaries, we developed a two-tiered method to identify the Chromatin Transitional Region (CTR), i.e. the nucleosomal region that shows the greatest transition rate of the H3K27me3 modification as revealed by ChIP-Seq. This approach was applied to identify CTRs in Drosophila S2 cells and human HeLa cells. Although many insulator proteins have been characterized in Drosophila, less than half of the CTRs in S2 cells are associated with known insulator proteins, indicating unknown mechanisms remain to be characterized. Our analysis also revealed that the peak binding of insulator proteins are usually 1–2 nucleosomes away from the CTR. Comparison of CTR-associated insulator protein binding sites vs. those in heterochromatic region revealed that boundary-associated binding sites are distinctively flanked by nucleosome destabilizing sequences, which correlates with significant decreased nucleosome density and increased binding intensities of co-factors. Interestingly, several subgroups of boundaries have enhanced H3.3 incorporation but reduced nucleosome turnover rate. Our genome-wide study reveals that diverse mechanisms are employed to define the boundaries of facultative heterochromatin. In both Drosophila and mammalian systems, only a small fraction of insulator protein binding sites co-localize with H3K27me3 boundaries. However, boundary-associated insulator binding sites are distinctively flanked by nucleosome destabilizing sequences, which correlates with significantly decreased nucleosome density and increased binding of co-factors.
DNA binding domain of the transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) from Xanthomonas sp. consists of tandem repeats that can be rearranged according to a simple cipher to target new DNA sequences with high DNA-binding specificity. This technology has been successfully applied in varieties of species for genome engineering. However, assembling long TALE tandem repeats remains a big challenge precluding wide use of this technology. Although several new methodologies for efficiently assembling TALE repeats have been recently reported, all of them require either sophisticated facilities or skilled technicians to carry them out. Here, we described a simple and efficient method for generating customized TALE nucleases (TALENs) and TALE transcription factors (TALE-TFs) based on TALE repeat tetramer library. A tetramer library consisting of 256 tetramers covers all possible combinations of 4 base pairs. A set of unique primers was designed for amplification of these tetramers. PCR products were assembled by one step of digestion/ligation reaction. 12 TALE constructs including 4 TALEN pairs targeted to mouse Gt(ROSA)26Sor gene and mouse Mstn gene sequences as well as 4 TALE-TF constructs targeted to mouse Oct4, c-Myc, Klf4 and Sox2 gene promoter sequences were generated by using our method. The construction routines took 3 days and parallel constructions were available. The rate of positive clones during colony PCR verification was 64% on average. Sequencing results suggested that all TALE constructs were performed with high successful rate. This is a rapid and cost-efficient method using the most common enzymes and facilities with a high success rate.
Gene expression is a multi-step process which requires recruitment of several factors to promoters. One of the factors, Sen1p is an RNA/DNA helicase implicated in transcriptional termination and RNA processing in yeast. In the present study, we have identified a novel function of Sen1p that regulates the expression of ribonucleotide reductase RNR1 gene, which is essential for maintaining genomic integrity. Cells with mutation in the helicase domain or lacking N-terminal domain of Sen1p displayed a drastic decrease in the basal level transcription of RNR1 gene and showed enhanced sensitivity to various DNA damaging agents. Moreover, SEN1 mutants [Sen1-1 (G1747D), Sen1-2 (Δ1-975)] exhibited defects in DNA damage checkpoint activation. Surprisingly, CRT1 deletion in Sen1p mutants (Sen1-1, Sen1-2) was partly able to rescue the slow growth phenotype upon genotoxic stress. Altogether, our observations suggest that Sen1p is required for cell protection against DNA damage by regulating the expression of DNA repair gene RNR1. Thus, the misregulation of Sen1p regulated genes can cause genomic instability that may lead to neurological disorders and premature aging.
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is linked to the deletion of the D4Z4 arrays at chromosome 4q35. Recent studies suggested that aberrant expression of double homeobox 4 (DUX4) from the last D4Z4 repeat causes FSHD. The aim of this study is to determine transcriptomic responses to ectopically expressed DUX4 in human and mouse cells of muscle lineage. We expression profiled human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells and mouse C2C12 cells transfected with expression vectors of DUX4 using the Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Arrays and Mouse Genome 430 2.0 Arrays, respectively. A total of 2267 and 150 transcripts were identified to be differentially expressed in the RD and C2C12 cells, respectively. Amongst the transcripts differentially expressed in the RD cells, MYOD and MYOG (2 fold, p<0.05), and six MYOD downstream targets were up-regulated in RD but not C2C12 cells. Furthermore, 13 transcripts involved in germline function were dramatically induced only in the RD cells expressing DUX4. The top 3 IPA canonical pathways affected by DUX4 were different between the RD (inflammation, BMP signaling and NRF-2 mediated oxidative stress) and the C2C12 cells (p53 signaling, cell cycle regulation and cellular energy metabolism). Amongst the 40 transcripts shared by the RD and C2C12 cells, UTS2 was significantly induced by 76 fold and 224 fold in the RD and C2C12 cells, respectively. The differential expression of MYOD, MYOG and UTS2 were validated using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. We further validated the differentially expressed genes in immortalized FSHD myoblasts and showed up-regulation of MYOD, MYOG, ZSCAN4 and UTS2. The results suggest that DUX4 regulates overlapped and distinct groups of genes and pathways in human and mouse cells as evident by the selective up-regulation of genes involved in myogenesis and gametogenesis in human RD and immortalized cells as well as the different molecular pathways identified in the cells.
Epigenetic inactivation of chromatin plays an important role in determining cell phenotype in both normal and cancer cells, but our knowledge is still incomplete with respect to any potential monoallelic nature of the phenomenon. We have genotyped DNA isolated from chromatin of two colorectal cancer-derived lines and a culture of normal human intestinal epithelial cells (HIEC), which was immunoprecipitated with antibodies to acetylated vs. methylated histone H3K9, and presented the data as B allele frequency differences over multiple single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) moving window averages. [B allele is an arbitrary term defined as one of the two alleles at any given SNP, named A and B]. Three different validation tests confirmed that peaks exhibiting differences represented monoallelic domains. These complementary tests confirmed the following: 1) genes in the regions of high B allele frequency difference were expressed monoallelically; 2) in normal cells all five imprinting control regions which carried heterozygous SNPs were characterized by B allele difference peaks; and 3) the haplotypes in the B allele difference peaks were faithfully maintained in the chromatin immunoprecipitated with the respective antibodies. In both samples most of the monoallelic domains were found at the boundaries between regions of open and closed chromatin. With respect to the cancer line, this supports the established concept of conformation spreading, but the results from the normal cells were unexpected. Since these cells were polyclonal, the monoallelic structures were probably not determined by random choice as occurs in X-inactivation, so we propose that epigenetic inactivation in some domains may be heritable and polymorphic in normal human cells.
Previously, we showed that aminoglycoside phosphotransferases catalyze the formation of a specific inhibitor of the SWI2/SNF2 proteins. Aminoglycoside phosphotransferases, for example neomycin-resistant genes, are used extensively as selection markers in mammalian transfections as well as in transgenic studies. However, introduction of the neomycin-resistant gene is fraught with variability in gene expression. We hypothesized that the introduction of neomycin-resistant genes into mammalian cells results in inactivation of SWI2/SNF2 proteins thereby leading to global epigenetic changes.
Using fluorescence spectroscopy we have shown that the inhibitor, known as Active DNA-dependent ATPase A
Domain inhibitor (ADAADi), binds to the SWI2/SNF2 proteins in the absence as well as presence of ATP and DNA. This binding occurs via a specific region known as Motif Ia leading to a conformational change in the SWI2/SNF2 proteins that precludes ATP hydrolysis. ADAADi is produced from a plethora of aminoglycosides including G418 and Streptomycin, two commonly used antibiotics in mammalian cell cultures. Mammalian cells are sensitive to ADAADi; however, cells stably transfected with neomycin-resistant genes are refractory to ADAADi. In resistant cells, endogenous SWI2/SNF2 proteins are inactivated which results in altered histone modifications. Microarray data shows that the changes in the epigenome are reflected in altered gene expression. The microarray data was validated using real-time PCR. Finally, we show that the epigenetic changes are quantized.
The use of neomycin-resistant genes revolutionized mammalian transfections even though questions linger about efficacy. In this study, we have demonstrated that selection of neomycin-resistant cells results in survival of only those cells that have undergone epigenetic changes, and therefore, data obtained using these resistant genes as selection markers need to be cautiously evaluated.
Replicating the genome prior to each somatic cell division not only requires precise duplication of the genetic information, but also accurately reestablishing the epigenetic signatures that instruct how the genetic material is to be interpreted in the daughter cells. The mammalian inactive X chromosome (Xi), which is faithfully inherited in a silent state in each daughter cell, provides an excellent model of epigenetic regulation. While much is known about the early stages of X chromosome inactivation, much less is understood with regards to retaining the Xi chromatin through somatic cell division. Here we report that the WSTF-ISWI chromatin remodeling complex (WICH) associates with the Xi during late S-phase as the Xi DNA is replicated. Elevated levels of WICH at the Xi is restricted to late S-phase and appears before BRCA1 and γ-H2A.X. The sequential appearance of WICH and BRCA1/γ-H2A.X implicate each as performing important but distinct roles in the maturation and maintenance of heterochromatin at the Xi.