Assaying chromatin structure and remodeling by restriction enzyme accessibility.
ABSTRACT The packaging of eukaryotic DNA into nucleosomes, the fundamental unit of chromatin, creates a barrier to nuclear processes, such as transcription, DNA replication, recombination, and repair. This obstructive nature of chromatin can be overcome by the enzymatic activity of chromatin remodeling complexes, which create a more favorable environment for the association of essential factors and regulators to sequences within target genes. Here, we describe a detailed approach for analyzing chromatin architecture and remodeling by restriction endonuclease hypersensitivity assay. This procedure uses restriction endonucleases to characterize changes in chromatin that accompany nucleosome remodeling. The specific experimental example described in this article is the BRG1 complex-dependent chromatin remodeling of the steroid hormone-responsive mouse mammary tumor virus promoter. Through the use of these methodologies one is able to quantify changes at specific nucleosomes in response to regulatory signals.
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ABSTRACT: Steroid hormone receptor (SR) signaling leads to widespread changes in gene expression, and aberrant SR signaling can lead to malignancies including breast, prostate, and lung cancers. Chromatin remodeling is an essential component of SR signaling, and defining the process of chromatin and nucleosome remodeling during signaling is critical to the continued development of related therapies. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is a key SR that activates numerous promoters including the well defined MMTV promoter. The activation of MMTV by GR provides an excellent model for teasing apart the sequence of events between hormone treatment and changes in gene expression. Comparing hormone-induced transcription from stably integrated promoters with defined nucleosomal structure to that from transiently expressed, unstructured promoters permits key distinctions between interactions that require remodeling and those that do not. The importance of co-activators and histone modifications prior to remodeling and the formation of the preinitiation complex that follows can also be clarified by defining key transition points in the propagation of hormonal signals. Combined with detailed mapping of proteins along the promoter, a temporal and spatial understanding of the signaling and remodeling processes begins to emerge. In this review, we examine SR signaling with a focus on GR activation of the MMTV promoter. We also discuss the ATP-dependent remodeling complex SWI/SNF, which provides the necessary remodeling activity during GR signaling and interacts with several SRs. BRG1, the central ATPase of SWI/SNF, also interacts with a set of BAF proteins that help determine the specialized function and fine-tuned regulation of BRG1 remodeling activity. BRG1 regulation comes from its own subdomains as well as its interactive partners. In particular, the HSA domain region of BRG1 and unique features of its ATPase homology appear to play key roles in regulating remodeling function. Details of the inter-workings of this chromatin remodeling protein continue to be revealed and promise to improve our understanding of the mechanism of chromatin remodeling during steroid hormone signaling. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Chromatin in time and space.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 03/2012; 1819(7):716-26. DOI:10.1016/j.bbagrm.2012.02.019 · 4.66 Impact Factor