[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The monosaccharide addition of an N-acetylglucosamine to serine and threonine residues of nuclear and cytosolic proteins (O-GlcNAc) is a posttranslational modification emerging as a general regulator of many cellular processes, including signal transduction, cell division, and transcription. The sole mouse O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) is essential for embryonic development. To understand the role of OGT in mouse development better, we mapped sites of O-GlcNAcylation of nuclear proteins in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Here, we unambiguously identify over 60 nuclear proteins as O-GlcNAcylated, several of which are crucial for mouse ESC cell maintenance. Furthermore, we extend the connection between OGT and Polycomb group genes from flies to mammals, showing Polycomb repressive complex 2 is necessary to maintain normal levels of OGT and for the correct cellular distribution of O-GlcNAc. Together, these results provide insight into how OGT may regulate transcription in early development, possibly by modifying proteins important to maintain the ESC transcriptional repertoire.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2011; 108(23):9490-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem (ES) cells are pluripotent cells that can self-renew indefinitely or be induced to differentiate into multiple cell lineages, and thus have the potential to be used in regenerative medicine. Pluripotency transcription factors (TFs), such as Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog, function in a regulatory circuit that silences the expression of key TFs required for differentiation and activates the expression of genes important for maintenance of pluripotency. In addition, proteins that remodel chromatin structure also play important roles in determining the ES cell-specific gene expression pattern. Here we review recent studies demonstrating the roles of enzymes that carry out one facet of chromatin regulation, nucleosome remodeling, in control of ES cell self-renewal and differentiation.
Current opinion in genetics & development 10/2010; 20(5):500-4. · 8.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One X chromosome, selected at random, is silenced in each female mammalian cell. Xist encodes a noncoding RNA that influences the probability that the cis-linked X chromosome will be silenced. We found that the A-repeat, a highly conserved element within Xist, is required for the accumulation of spliced Xist RNA. In addition, the A-repeat is necessary for X-inactivation to occur randomly. In combination, our data suggest that normal Xist RNA processing is important in the regulation of random X-inactivation. We propose that modulation of Xist RNA processing may be part of the stochastic process that determines which X chromosome will be inactivated.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic regulation of chromatin is dependent on both the histone protein isoforms and state of their post-translational modifications. The assignment of all post-translational modification sites for each individual intact protein isoform remains an experimental challenge. We present an on-line reversed phase LC tandem mass spectrometry approach for the separation of intact, unfractionated histones and a high resolution mass analyzer, the Orbitrap, with electron transfer dissociation capabilities to detect and record accurate mass values for the molecular and fragment ions observed. From a single LC-electron transfer dissociation run, this strategy permits the identification of the most abundant intact proteins, determination of the isoforms present, and the localization of post-translational modifications.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an RNA interference screen interrogating regulators of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell chromatin structure, we previously identified 62 genes required for ES cell viability. Among these 62 genes were Smc2 and -4, which are core components of the two mammalian condensin complexes. In this study, we show that for Smc2 and -4, as well as an additional 49 of the 62 genes, knockdown (KD) in somatic cells had minimal effects on proliferation or viability. Upon KD, Smc2 and -4 exhibited two phenotypes that were unique to ES cells and unique among the ES cell-lethal targets: metaphase arrest and greatly enlarged interphase nuclei. Nuclear enlargement in condensin KD ES cells was caused by a defect in chromatin compaction rather than changes in DNA content. The altered compaction coincided with alterations in the abundance of several epigenetic modifications. These data reveal a unique role for condensin complexes in interphase chromatin compaction in ES cells.
The Journal of Cell Biology 02/2010; 188(4):491-503. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) modifies chromatin to silence many embryonic patterning genes, restricting their expression to the appropriate cell populations. Two reports in Cell by Peng et al. (2009) and Shen et al. (2009) identify Jarid2/Jumonji, a new component of PRC2, which inhibits PRC2 enzymatic activity to fine-tune silencing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Male Specific Lethal (MSL) complex is enriched on the single X chromosome in male Drosophila cells and functions to upregulate X-linked gene expression and equalize X-linked gene dosage with XX females. The zinc finger protein Zn72D is required for productive splicing of the maleless (mle) transcript, which encodes an essential subunit of the MSL complex. In the absence of Zn72D, MLE levels are decreased, and as a result, the MSL complex no longer localizes to the X chromosome and dosage compensation is disrupted. To understand the molecular basis of Zn72D function, we identified proteins that interact with Zn72D.
Among several proteins that associate with Zn72D, we found the DEAD box helicase Belle (Bel). Simultaneous knockdown of Zn72D and bel restored MSL complex localization to the X chromosome and dosage compensation. MLE protein was restored to 70% of wild-type levels, although the level of productively spliced mle transcript was still four-fold lower than in wild-type cells. The increase in production of MLE protein relative to the amount of correctly spliced mle mRNA could not be attributed to an alteration in MLE stability.
These data indicate that Zn72D and Bel work together to control mle splicing and protein levels. Thus Zn72D and Bel may be factors that coordinate splicing and translational regulation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histone modifications affect chromatin dynamics on several levels by serving as binding sites for regulatory proteins. In many cell types, including embryonic stem cells (ESCs), a subset of genes is marked with histone modifications thought to be both activating and repressing: H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) and lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3), respectively. As a result, genes bearing this "bivalent" mark are transcribed at low levels, but are primed for activation, should the cell receive the appropriate cues during differentiation. Recently, we found that the Tip60-p400 acetyltransferase and histone exchange complex is necessary to maintain normal self-renewal in mouse ESCs. While Tip60-p400 has histone acetyltransferase activity, which is generally associated with transcriptional activation, it acts predominantly as a repressor of genes expressed during differentiation. Surprisingly, in ESCs Tip60-p400 localizes to the promoters of genes marked by H3K4me3, which include both highly expressed genes and "bivalent" genes expressed at low levels. Tip60-p400 acetylates histones at these targets, including the promoters for developmental regulators it helps to silence in ESCs. This suggests that the effect of chromatin modifications on transcription is not always simply positive or negative. Rather, we propose that the impact of specific modifications at each promoter is determined by the chromatin context in which they are found.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-chromosome inactivation occurs randomly for one of the two X chromosomes in female cells during development. Inactivation occurs when RNA transcribed from the Xist gene on the X chromosome from which it is expressed spreads to coat the whole X chromosome. In the first issue of Epigenetics and Chromatin, Nesterova and colleagues investigate the role of the RNA interference pathway enzyme Dicer in DNA methylation of the Xist promoter.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A FASEB conference on "Transcriptional Regulation during Cell Growth, Differentiation and Development" met in June, 2008, just outside of Aspen in Snowmass Village, Colorado. The meeting covered a broad range of topics, including the structure of transcription factors (TFs), Preinitiation Complex (PIC) assembly, RNA polymerase II (Pol II) pausing, genome-wide patterns of histone modifications, and the role of TFs in development.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proper regulation of chromatin structure is necessary for the maintenance of cell type-specific gene expression patterns. The embryonic stem cell (ESC) expression pattern governs self-renewal and pluripotency. Here, we present an RNAi screen in mouse ESCs of 1008 loci encoding chromatin proteins. We identified 68 proteins that exhibit diverse phenotypes upon knockdown (KD), including seven subunits of the Tip60-p400 complex. Phenotypic analyses revealed that Tip60-p400 is necessary to maintain characteristic features of ESCs. We show that p400 localization to the promoters of both silent and active genes is dependent upon histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3). Furthermore, the Tip60-p400 KD gene expression profile is enriched for developmental regulators and significantly overlaps with that of the transcription factor Nanog. Depletion of Nanog reduces p400 binding to target promoters without affecting H3K4me3 levels. Together, these data indicate that Tip60-p400 integrates signals from Nanog and H3K4me3 to regulate gene expression in ESCs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A general model for the early recognition and colocalization of homologous DNA sequences is proposed. We show, on thermodynamic grounds, how the distance between two homologous DNA sequences is spontaneously regulated by the concentration and affinity of diffusible mediators binding them, which act as a switch between two phases corresponding to independence or colocalization of pairing regions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Meiosis is the specialized cell division required in sexual reproduction. During its early stages, in the mother cell nucleus, homologous chromosomes recognize each other and colocalize in a crucial step that remains one of the most mysterious of meiosis. Starting from recent discoveries on the system molecular components and interactions, we discuss a statistical mechanics model of chromosome early pairing. Binding molecules mediate long-distance interaction of special DNA recognition sequences and, if their concentration exceeds a critical threshold, they induce a spontaneous colocalization transition of chromosomes, otherwise independently diffusing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammals balance X-linked gene dosage by silencing one X chromosome in female cells, a process that begins with counting the number of X chromosomes. Recent reports suggest homologous X chromosome pairing may be a prerequisite for silencing, providing a basis for counting by ensuring that silencing only occurs in cells with two X chromosomes.
Current Biology 04/2008; 18(6):R255-6. · 9.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In organisms with sex chromosomes, dosage compensation equalizes gene expression between the sexes. In Drosophila melanogaster males, the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex of proteins and two noncoding roX RNAs coat the X chromosome, resulting in a twofold transcriptional upregulation to equalize gene expression with that of females. How MSL complex enrichment on the X chromosome is regulated is not well understood. We performed an RNA interference screen to identify new factors required for dosage compensation. Using a Drosophila Schneider S2 cell line in which green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged MSL2 localizes to the X chromosome, we assayed approximately 7,200 knockdowns for their effects on GFP-MSL2 distribution. One factor identified is the zinc finger protein Zn72D. In its absence, the MSL complex no longer coats the X chromosome. We demonstrate that Zn72D is required for productive splicing of the transcript for the MSL protein Maleless, explaining the dosage compensation defect. However, Zn72D is required for the viability of both sexes, indicating its functions are not sex specific. Consistent with this, Zn72D colocalizes with elongating RNA polymerase II, implicating it as a more general factor involved in RNA metabolism.
Molecular and cellular biology 01/2008; 27(24):8760-9. · 6.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress activates a set of signaling pathways, collectively termed the unfolded protein response (UPR). The three UPR branches (IRE1, PERK, and ATF6) promote cell survival by reducing misfolded protein levels. UPR signaling also promotes apoptotic cell death if ER stress is not alleviated. How the UPR integrates its cytoprotective and proapoptotic outputs to select between life or death cell fates is unknown. We found that IRE1 and ATF6 activities were attenuated by persistent ER stress in human cells. By contrast, PERK signaling, including translational inhibition and proapoptotic transcription regulator Chop induction, was maintained. When IRE1 activity was sustained artificially, cell survival was enhanced, suggesting a causal link between the duration of UPR branch signaling and life or death cell fate after ER stress. Key findings from our studies in cell culture were recapitulated in photoreceptors expressing mutant rhodopsin in animal models of retinitis pigmentosa.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of mammalian genes are expressed from only one of the two homologous chromosomes, selected at random in each cell. These include genes subject to X-inactivation, olfactory receptor (OR) genes, and several classes of immune system genes. The means by which monoallelic expression is established are only beginning to be understood. Using a cytological assay, we show that the two homologous alleles of autosomal random monoallelic loci differ from each other in embryonic stem (ES) cells, before establishment of monoallelic expression. The Polycomb Group gene Eed is required to establish this distinctive behavior. In addition, we found that when Eed mutant ES cells are differentiated, they fail to establish asynchronous replication timing at OR loci. These results suggest a common mechanism for random monoallelic expression on autosomes and the X chromosome, and implicate Eed in establishing differences between homologous OR loci before and after differentiation.
The Journal of Cell Biology 11/2007; 179(2):269-76. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SummaryX chromosome inactivation in mammals requires expression of the gene Xist, which maps to the X chromosome inactivation centre (Xic) and encodes an untranslated RNA. Truncation of Xist RNA by gene targeting is lethal for female embryos and prevents the inactivation of the X chromosome carrying the deletion. This indicates that Xist RNA is necessary for initiation and propagation of the inactivation process. Xist is transcribed from the inactive X and its expression is silenced by DNA methylation, suggesting that methylation is crucial for shielding the active X chromosome against the inactivation process. Gene transfer experiments using transgmes the size of yeast artificial chromosome have determind that a 450 kb fragment of DNA carrying Xist acts as an inactivation centre and is sufficient for initiation, propagation and maintenance of the inactive state. The elements for counting and choosing X chromosomes are part of the transgene. We have shown that X inactivation is mediated by a post-translational mechanism, i.e. the stabilization of Xist RNA, rather than by the regulation of the Xist promoter.
Novartis Foundation symposium 09/2007; 214:200 - 213.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histone variants replace the core histones in a substantial fraction of nucleosomes, affecting chromatin structure and impacting chromatin-templated processes. In many instances incorporation of histone variants results in formation of specialized regions of chromatin. Proper localization of histone variants to distinct regions of the genome is critical for their function, yet how this specific localization is achieved remains unclear. macroH2A1 is enriched on the inactive X chromosome in female mammalian cells, where it functions to maintain gene silencing. macroH2A1 consists of a histone H2A-like histone domain and a large, globular C-terminal macro domain that is not present in other histone proteins. The histone domain of macroH2A1 is alone sufficient to direct enrichment on the inactive X chromosome when expressed in female cells, indicating that sequences important for correct localization lie in this domain. Here we investigate whether divergent sequences of the H2A variant macroH2A1 contribute to its correct localization. We mapped the regions of the macroH2A1 histone domain that are sufficient for localization to the inactive X chromosome using chimeras between H2A and the histone domain of macroH2A1. Multiple short sequences dispersed along the macroH2A1 histone domain individually supported enrichment on the inactive X chromosome when introduced into H2A. These sequences map to the surface of the macroH2A1/H2B dimer, but are buried in the crystal structure of the macroH2A1 containing nucleosome, suggesting that they may contribute to recognition by macroH2A1/H2B deposition factors.
Journal of Molecular Biology 09/2007; 371(1):11-8. · 3.91 Impact Factor