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1.  Cytoplasmic TAF2–TAF8–TAF10 complex provides evidence for nuclear holo–TFIID assembly from preformed submodules 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6011.
General transcription factor TFIID is a cornerstone of RNA polymerase II transcription initiation in eukaryotic cells. How human TFIID—a megadalton-sized multiprotein complex composed of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and 13 TBP-associated factors (TAFs)—assembles into a functional transcription factor is poorly understood. Here we describe a heterotrimeric TFIID subcomplex consisting of the TAF2, TAF8 and TAF10 proteins, which assembles in the cytoplasm. Using native mass spectrometry, we define the interactions between the TAFs and uncover a central role for TAF8 in nucleating the complex. X-ray crystallography reveals a non-canonical arrangement of the TAF8–TAF10 histone fold domains. TAF2 binds to multiple motifs within the TAF8 C-terminal region, and these interactions dictate TAF2 incorporation into a core–TFIID complex that exists in the nucleus. Our results provide evidence for a stepwise assembly pathway of nuclear holo–TFIID, regulated by nuclear import of preformed cytoplasmic submodules.
TFIID is an essential transcription factor complex that controls the expression of most protein-coding genes in eukaryotes. Here the authors identify and characterize a complex containing TAF2, TAF8 and TAF10, which assembles in the cytoplasm before integration into the nuclear holo–TFIID complex.
PMCID: PMC4309443  PMID: 25586196
2.  Glucagon regulates gluconeogenesis through KAT2B- and WDR5-mediated epigenetic effects 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(10):4318-4328.
Circulating pancreatic glucagon is increased during fasting and maintains glucose balance by stimulating hepatic gluconeogenesis. Glucagon triggering of the cAMP pathway upregulates the gluconeogenic program through the phosphorylation of cAMP response element–binding protein (CREB) and the dephosphorylation of the CREB coactivator CRTC2. Hormonal and nutrient signals are also thought to modulate gluconeogenic gene expression by promoting epigenetic changes that facilitate assembly of the transcriptional machinery. However, the nature of these modifications is unclear. Using mouse models and in vitro assays, we show that histone H3 acetylation at Lys 9 (H3K9Ac) was elevated over gluconeogenic genes and contributed to increased hepatic glucose production during fasting and in diabetes. Dephosphorylation of CRTC2 promoted increased H3K9Ac through recruitment of the lysine acetyltransferase 2B (KAT2B) and WD repeat–containing protein 5 (WDR5), a core subunit of histone methyltransferase (HMT) complexes. KAT2B and WDR5 stimulated the gluconeogenic program through a self-reinforcing cycle, whereby increases in H3K9Ac further potentiated CRTC2 occupancy at CREB binding sites. Depletion of KAT2B or WDR5 decreased gluconeogenic gene expression, consequently breaking the cycle. Administration of a small-molecule KAT2B antagonist lowered circulating blood glucose concentrations in insulin resistance, suggesting that this enzyme may be a useful target for diabetes treatment.
PMCID: PMC3784539  PMID: 24051374
3.  A Dual Role for SAGA-Associated Factor 29 (SGF29) in ER Stress Survival by Coordination of Both Histone H3 Acetylation and Histone H3 Lysine-4 Trimethylation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70035.
The SGF29 protein binds to tri-methylated lysine-4 of histone H3 (H3K4me3), which is a histone modification associated with active promoters. Human SGF29 is a subunit of the histone acetyltransferase module of the SAGA (Spt-Ada-Gcn5 acetyltransferase) and ATAC (Ada-Two-A-containing 2A) co-activator complexes. Previous work revealed that the SAGA complex is recruited to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress target genes and required for their induction. Here, we report the involvement of SGF29 in the survival of human cells from ER stress. SGF29 knockdown results in impaired transcription of the ER stress genes GRP78 and CHOP. Besides histone H3K14 acetylation, we find that SGF29 is also required for the maintenance of H3K4me3 at these genes, which is already present prior to ER stress. Reduced levels of H3K4me3 in the absence of SGF29 correlate with a decreased association of ASH2L, which is a core component of the SET1/MLL complexes, to GFP78 and CHOP. In conclusion, our results suggest that the H3K4me3-binding protein SGF29 plays a central and dual role in the ER stress response. Prior to ER stress, the protein coordinates H3K4me3 levels, thereby maintaining a ‘poised’ chromatin state on ER stress target gene promoters. Following ER stress induction, SGF29 is required for increased H3K14 acetylation on these genes, which then results in full transcriptional activation, thereby promoting cell survival.
PMCID: PMC3720948  PMID: 23894581
4.  H3K9 and H3K14 acetylation co-occur at many gene regulatory elements, while H3K14ac marks a subset of inactive inducible promoters in mouse embryonic stem cells 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:424.
Transcription regulation in pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells is a complex process that involves multitude of regulatory layers, one of which is post-translational modification of histones. Acetylation of specific lysine residues of histones plays a key role in regulating gene expression.
Here we have investigated the genome-wide occurrence of two histone marks, acetylation of histone H3K9 and K14 (H3K9ac and H3K14ac), in mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells. Genome-wide H3K9ac and H3K14ac show very high correlation between each other as well as with other histone marks (such as H3K4me3) suggesting a coordinated regulation of active histone marks. Moreover, the levels of H3K9ac and H3K14ac directly correlate with the CpG content of the promoters attesting the importance of sequences underlying the specifically modified nucleosomes. Our data provide evidence that H3K9ac and H3K14ac are also present over the previously described bivalent promoters, along with H3K4me3 and H3K27me3. Furthermore, like H3K27ac, H3K9ac and H3K14ac can also differentiate active enhancers from inactive ones. Although, H3K9ac and H3K14ac, a hallmark of gene activation exhibit remarkable correlation over active and bivalent promoters as well as distal regulatory elements, a subset of inactive promoters is selectively enriched for H3K14ac.
Our study suggests that chromatin modifications, such as H3K9ac and H3K14ac, are part of the active promoter state, are present over bivalent promoters and active enhancers and that the extent of H3K9 and H3K14 acetylation could be driven by cis regulatory elements such as CpG content at promoters. Our study also suggests that a subset of inactive promoters is selectively and specifically enriched for H3K14ac. This observation suggests that histone acetyl transferases (HATs) prime inactive genes by H3K14ac for stimuli dependent activation. In conclusion our study demonstrates a wider role for H3K9ac and H3K14ac in gene regulation than originally thought.
PMCID: PMC3473242  PMID: 22920947
ChIP-seq; Histone acetylation; CpG islands; Embryonic stem cells; Gene regulation; Genome-wide mapping; Bivalent promoters, Epigenetics
5.  Protein Kinase A-mediated Serine 35 Phosphorylation Dissociates Histone H1.4 from Mitotic Chromosome* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2011;286(41):35843-35851.
Global histone H1 phosphorylation correlates with cell cycle progression. However, the function of site-specific H1 variant phosphorylation remains unclear. Our mass spectrometry analysis revealed a novel N-terminal phosphorylation of the major H1 variant H1.4 at serine 35 (H1.4S35ph), which accumulates at mitosis immediately after H3 phosphorylation at serine 10. Protein kinase A (PKA) was found to be a kinase for H1.4S35. Importantly, Ser-35-phosphorylated H1.4 dissociates from mitotic chromatin. Moreover, H1.4S35A substitution mutant cannot efficiently rescue the mitotic defect following H1.4 depletion, and inhibition of PKA activity increases the mitotic chromatin compaction depending on H1.4. Our results not only indicate that PKA-mediated H1.4S35 phosphorylation dissociates H1.4 from mitotic chromatin but also suggest that this phosphorylation is necessary for specific mitotic functions.
PMCID: PMC3195632  PMID: 21852232
Cell Cycle; Chromatin; Mitosis; Protein Kinase A (PKA); Protein Phosphorylation; Histone H1
6.  seqMINER: an integrated ChIP-seq data interpretation platform 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(6):e35.
In a single experiment, chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) provides genome-wide information about a given covalent histone modification or transcription factor occupancy. However, time efficient bioinformatics resources for extracting biological meaning out of these gigabyte-scale datasets are often a limiting factor for data interpretation by biologists. We created an integrated portable ChIP-seq data interpretation platform called seqMINER, with optimized performances for efficient handling of multiple genome-wide datasets. seqMINER allows comparison and integration of multiple ChIP-seq datasets and extraction of qualitative as well as quantitative information. seqMINER can handle the biological complexity of most experimental situations and proposes methods to the user for data classification according to the analysed features. In addition, through multiple graphical representations, seqMINER allows visualization and modelling of general as well as specific patterns in a given dataset. To demonstrate the efficiency of seqMINER, we have carried out a comprehensive analysis of genome-wide chromatin modification data in mouse embryonic stem cells to understand the global epigenetic landscape and its change through cellular differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3064796  PMID: 21177645
7.  TAF6δ orchestrates an apoptotic transcriptome profile and interacts functionally with p53 
BMC Molecular Biology  2010;11:10.
TFIID is a multiprotein complex that plays a pivotal role in the regulation of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription owing to its core promoter recognition and co-activator functions. TAF6 is a core TFIID subunit whose splice variants include the major TAF6α isoform that is ubiquitously expressed, and the inducible TAF6δ. In contrast to TAF6α, TAF6δ is a pro-apoptotic isoform with a 10 amino acid deletion in its histone fold domain that abolishes its interaction with TAF9. TAF6δ expression can dictate life versus death decisions of human cells.
Here we define the impact of endogenous TAF6δ expression on the global transcriptome landscape. TAF6δ was found to orchestrate a transcription profile that included statistically significant enrichment of genes of apoptotic function. Interestingly, gene expression patterns controlled by TAF6δ share similarities with, but are not equivalent to, those reported to change following TAF9 and/or TAF9b depletion. Finally, because TAF6δ regulates certain p53 target genes, we tested and demonstrated a physical and functional interaction between TAF6δ and p53.
Together our data define a TAF6δ-driven apoptotic gene expression program and show crosstalk between the p53 and TAF6δ pathways.
PMCID: PMC2827470  PMID: 20096117
8.  Histone H3 Tails Containing Dimethylated Lysine and Adjacent Phosphorylated Serine Modifications Adopt a Specific Conformation during Mitosis and Meiosis▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(5):1739-1754.
Condensation of chromatin, mediated in part by posttranslational modifications of histones, is essential for cell division during mitosis. Histone H3 tails are dimethylated on lysine (Kme2) and become phosphorylated on serine (Sp) residues during mitosis. We have explored the possibility that these double modifications are involved in the establishment of H3 tail conformations during the cell cycle. Here we describe a specific chromatin conformation occurring at Kme2 and adjacently phosphorylated S of H3 tails upon formation of a hydrogen bond. This conformation appears exclusively between early prophase and early anaphase of the mitosis, when chromatin condensation is highest. Moreover, we observed that the conformed H3Kme2Sp tail is present at the diplotene and metaphase stages in spermatocytes and oocytes. Our data together with results obtained by cryoelectron microscopy suggest that the conformation of Kme2Sp-modified H3 tails changes during mitosis and meiosis. This is supported by biostructural modeling of a modified histone H3 tail bound by an antibody, indicating that Kme2Sp-modified H3 tails can adopt at least two different conformations. Thus, the H3K9me2S10p and the H3K27me2S28p sites are involved in the acquisition of specific chromatin conformations during chromatin condensation for cell division.
PMCID: PMC2258789  PMID: 18180282
9.  TATA binding protein associated factor 3 (TAF3) interacts with p53 and inhibits its function 
The tumour suppressor protein p53 is a sequence specific DNA-binding transcription regulator, which exerts its versatile roles in genome protection and apoptosis by affecting the expression of a large number of genes. In an attempt to obtain a better understanding of the mechanisms by which p53 transcription function is regulated, we studied p53 interactions.
We identified BIP2 (Bric-à-brac interacting protein 2), the fly homolog of TAF3, a histone fold and a plant homeodomain containing subunit of TFIID, as an interacting partner of Drosophila melanogaster p53 (Dmp53). We detected physical interaction between the C terminus of Dmp53 and the central region of TAF3 both in yeast two hybrid assays and in vitro. Interestingly, DmTAF3 can also interact with human p53, and mammalian TAF3 can bind to both Dmp53 and human p53. This evolutionarily conserved interaction is functionally significant, since elevated TAF3 expression severely and selectively inhibits transcription activation by p53 in human cell lines, and it decreases the level of the p53 protein as well.
We identified TAF3 as an evolutionarily conserved negative regulator of p53 transcription activation function.
PMCID: PMC2441632  PMID: 18549481
10.  Identification of a Small TAF Complex and Its Role in the Assembly of TAF-Containing Complexes 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(3):e316.
TFIID plays a role in nucleating RNA polymerase II preinitiation complex assembly on protein-coding genes. TFIID is a multisubunit complex comprised of the TATA box binding protein (TBP) and 14 TBP-associated factors (TAFs). Another class of multiprotein transcriptional regulatory complexes having histone acetyl transferase (HAT) activity, and containing TAFs, includes TFTC, STAGA and the PCAF/GCN5 complex. Looking for as yet undiscovered subunits by a proteomic approach, we had identified TAF8 and SPT7L in human TFTC preparations. Subsequently, however, we demonstrated that TAF8 was not a stable component of TFTC, but that it is present in a small TAF complex (SMAT), containing TAF8, TAF10 and SPT7L, that co-purified with TFTC. Thus, TAF8 is a subunit of both TFIID and SMAT. The latter has to be involved in a pathway of complex formation distinct from the other known TAF complexes, since these three histone fold (HF)-containing proteins (TAF8, TAF10 and SPT7L) can never be found together either in TFIID or in STAGA/TFTC HAT complexes. Here we show that TAF8 is absolutely necessary for the integration of TAF10 in a higher order TFIID core complex containing seven TAFs. TAF8 forms a heterodimer with TAF10 through its HF and proline rich domains, and also interacts with SPT7L through its C-terminal region, and the three proteins form a complex in vitro and in vivo. Thus, the TAF8-TAF10 and TAF10-SPT7L HF pairs, and also the SMAT complex, seem to be important regulators of the composition of different TFIID and/or STAGA/TFTC complexes in the nucleus and consequently may play a role in gene regulation.
PMCID: PMC1820849  PMID: 17375202
11.  Two Isoforms of Drosophila TRF2 Are Involved in Embryonic Development, Premeiotic Chromatin Condensation, and Proper Differentiation of Germ Cells of Both Sexes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(20):7492-7505.
The Drosophila TATA box-binding protein (TBP)-related factor 2 (TRF2 or TLF) was shown to control a subset of genes different from that controlled by TBP. Here, we have investigated the structure and functions of the trf2 gene. We demonstrate that it encodes two protein isoforms: the previously described 75-kDa TRF2 and a newly identified 175-kDa version in which the same sequence is preceded by a long N-terminal domain with coiled-coil motifs. Chromatography of Drosophila embryo extracts revealed that the long TRF2 is part of a multiprotein complex also containing ISWI. Both TRF2 forms are detected at the same sites on polytene chromosomes and have the same expression patterns, suggesting that they fulfill similar functions. A study of the manifestations of the trf2 mutation suggests an essential role of TRF2 during embryonic Drosophila development. The trf2 gene is strongly expressed in germ line cells of adult flies. High levels of TRF2 are found in nuclei of primary spermatocytes and trophocytes with intense transcription. In ovaries, TRF2 is present both in actively transcribing nurse cells and in the transcriptionally inactive oocyte nuclei. Moreover, TRF2 is essential for premeiotic chromatin condensation and proper differentiation of germ cells of both sexes.
PMCID: PMC1636870  PMID: 17015475
12.  A Novel Human Ada2 Homologue Functions with Gcn5 or Brg1 To Coactivate Transcription 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(19):6944-6957.
In yeast, the transcriptional adaptor yeast Ada2 (yAda2) is a part of the multicomponent SAGA complex, which possesses histone acetyltransferase activity through action of the yGcn5 catalytic enzyme. yAda2, among several SAGA proteins, serves to recruit SAGA to genes via interactions with promoter-bound transcription factors. Here we report identification of a new human Ada2 homologue, hAda2β. Ada2β differs both biochemically and functionally from the previously characterized hAda2α, which is a stable component of the human PCAF (human Gcn5 homologue) acetylase complex. Ada2β, relative to Ada2α, interacted selectively, although not stably, with the Gcn5-containing histone acetylation complex TFTC/STAGA. In addition, Ada2β interacted with Baf57 (a component of the human Swi/Snf complex) in a yeast two-hybrid screen and associated with human Swi/Snf in vitro. In functional assays, hAda2β (but not Ada2α), working in concert with Gcn5 (but not PCAF) or Brg1 (the catalytic component of hSwi/Snf complex), increased transcription via the B-cell-specific transcription factor Pax5/BSAP. These findings support the view that Gcn5 and PCAF have distinct roles in vivo and suggest a new mechanism of coactivator function, in which a single adaptor protein (Ada2β) can coordinate targeting of both histone acetylation and chromatin remodeling activities.
PMCID: PMC193946  PMID: 12972612
13.  The TFIID Components Human TAFII140 and Drosophila BIP2 (TAFII155) Are Novel Metazoan Homologues of Yeast TAFII47 Containing a Histone Fold and a PHD Finger 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(15):5109-5121.
The RNA polymerase II transcription factor TFIID comprises the TATA binding protein (TBP) and a set of TBP-associated factors (TAFIIs). TFIID has been extensively characterized for yeast, Drosophila, and humans, demonstrating a high degree of conservation of both the amino acid sequences of the constituent TAFIIs and overall molecular organization. In recent years, it has been assumed that all the metazoan TAFIIs have been identified, yet no metazoan homologues of yeast TAFII47 (yTAFII47) and yTAFII65 are known. Both of these yTAFIIs contain a histone fold domain (HFD) which selectively heterodimerizes with that of yTAFII25. We have cloned a novel mouse protein, TAFII140, containing an HFD and a plant homeodomain (PHD) finger, which we demonstrated by immunoprecipitation to be a mammalian TFIID component. TAFII140 shows extensive sequence similarity to Drosophila BIP2 (dBIP2) (dTAFII155), which we also show to be a component of Drosophila TFIID. These proteins are metazoan homologues of yTAFII47 as their HFDs selectively heterodimerize with dTAFII24 and human TAFII30, metazoan homologues of yTAFII25. We further show that yTAFII65 shares two domains with the Drosophila Prodos protein, a recently described potential dTAFII. These conserved domains are critical for yTAFII65 function in vivo. Our results therefore identify metazoan homologues of yTAFII47 and yTAFII65.
PMCID: PMC87236  PMID: 11438666
14.  Histone Folds Mediate Selective Heterodimerization of Yeast TAFII25 with TFIID Components yTAFII47 and yTAFII65 and with SAGA Component ySPT7 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(5):1841-1853.
We show that the yeast TFIID (yTFIID) component yTAFII47 contains a histone fold domain (HFD) with homology to that previously described for hTAFII135. Complementation in vivo indicates that the yTAFII47 HFD is necessary and sufficient for vegetative growth. Mutation of highly conserved residues in the α1 helix of the yTAFII47 HFD results in a temperature-sensitive phenotype which can be suppressed by overexpression of yTAFII25, as well as by yTAFII40, yTAFII19, and yTAFII60. In yeast two-hybrid and bacterial coexpression assays, the yTAFII47 HFD selectively heterodimerizes with yTAFII25, which we show contains an HFD with homology to the hTAFII28 family We additionally demonstrate that yTAFII65 contains a functional HFD which also selectively heterodimerizes with yTAFII25. These results reveal the existence of two novel histone-like pairs in yTFIID. The physical and genetic interactions described here show that the histone-like yTAFIIs are organized in at least two substructures within TFIID rather than in a single octamer-like structure as previously suggested. Furthermore, our results indicate that ySPT7 has an HFD homologous to that of yTAFII47 which selectively heterodimerizes with yTAFII25, defining a novel histone-like pair in the SAGA complex.
PMCID: PMC86751  PMID: 11238921
15.  EWS, but Not EWS-FLI-1, Is Associated with Both TFIID and RNA Polymerase II: Interactions between Two Members of the TET Family, EWS and hTAFII68, and Subunits of TFIID and RNA Polymerase II Complexes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(3):1489-1497.
The t(11;22) chromosomal translocation specifically linked to Ewing sarcoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumor results in a chimeric molecule fusing the amino-terminus-encoding region of the EWS gene to the carboxyl-terminal DNA-binding domain encoded by the FLI-1 gene. As the function of the protein encoded by the EWS gene remains unknown, we investigated the putative role of EWS in RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription by comparing its activity with that of its structural homolog, hTAFII68. We demonstrate that a portion of EWS is able to associate with the basal transcription factor TFIID, which is composed of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and TBP-associated factors (TAFIIs). In vitro binding studies revealed that both EWS and hTAFII68 interact with the same TFIID subunits, suggesting that the presence of EWS and that of hTAFII68 in the same TFIID complex may be mutually exclusive. Moreover, EWS is not exclusively associated with TFIID but, similarly to hTAFII68, is also associated with the Pol II complex. The subunits of Pol II that interact with EWS and hTAFII68 have been identified, confirming the association with the polymerase. In contrast to EWS, the tumorigenic EWS–FLI-1 fusion protein is not associated with either TFIID or Pol II in Ewing cell nuclear extracts. These observations suggest that EWS and EWS–FLI-1 may play different roles in Pol II transcription.
PMCID: PMC108863  PMID: 9488465

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