This paper provides a laboratory workflow for single-nucleus RNA-sequencing (snRNA-seq) including a protocol for gentle nuclei isolation from fresh frozen tumor biopsies, making it possible to analyze biobanked material. To develop this protocol, we used non-frozen and frozen human bladder tumors and cell lines. We tested different lysis buffers (IgePal and Nuclei EZ) and incubation times in combination with different approaches for tissue and cell dissection: sectioning, semi-automated dissociation, manual dissociation with pestles, and semi-automated dissociation combined with manual dissociation with pestles. Our results showed that a combination of IgePal lysis buffer, tissue dissection by sectioning, and short incubation time was the best conditions for gentle nuclei isolation applicable for snRNA-seq, and we found limited confounding transcriptomic changes based on the isolation procedure. This protocol makes it possible to analyze biobanked material from patients with well-described clinical and histopathological information and known clinical outcomes with snRNA-seq.
The establishment, maintenance and dynamic regulation of three-dimensional (3D) chromatin structures provide an important means for partitioning of genome into functionally distinctive domains, which helps to define specialized gene expression programs associated with developmental stages and cell types. Increasing evidence supports critical roles for intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) harbored within transcription factors (TFs) and chromatin-modulatory proteins in inducing phase separation, a phenomenon of forming membrane-less condensates through partitioning of biomolecules. Such a process is also critically involved in the establishment of high-order chromatin structures and looping. IDR- and phase separation-driven 3D genome (re)organization often goes wrong in disease such as cancer. This review discusses about recent advances in understanding how phase separation of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) modulates chromatin looping and gene expression.
Lamins A/C are nuclear intermediate filament proteins that are involved in diverse cellular mechanical and biochemical functions. Here, we report that recognition of Lamins A/C by a commonly used antibody (JOL-2) that binds the Lamin A/C Ig-fold and other antibodies targeting similar epitopes is highly dependent on cell density, even though Lamin A/Clevels do not change. We propose that the effect is caused by partial unfolding or masking of the C’E and/or EF loops of the Ig-fold in response to cell spreading. Surprisingly, JOL-2 antibody labeling was insensitive to disruption of cytoskeletal filaments or the Linker of Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton (LINC) complex. Furthermore, neither nuclear stiffness nor nucleo-cytoskeletal force transmission changed with cell density. These findings are important for the interpretation of immunofluorescence data for Lamin A/C and also raise the intriguing prospect that the conformational changes may play a role in Lamin A/C mediated cellular function.
Eukaryotic cells organize their genome within the nucleus with a double-layered membrane structure termed the nuclear envelope (NE) as the physical barrier. The NE not only shields the nuclear genome but also spatially separates transcription from translation. Proteins of the NE including nucleoskeleton proteins, inner nuclear membrane proteins, and nuclear pore complexes have been implicated in interacting with underlying genome and chromatin regulators to establish a higher-order chromatin architecture. Here, I summarize recent advances in the knowledge of NE proteins that are involved in chromatin organization, gene regulation, and coordination of transcription and mRNA export. These studies support an emerging view of plant NE as a central hub that contributes to chromatin organization and gene expression in response to various cellular and environmental cues.
The eukaryotic nucleus displays a variety of membraneless compartments with distinct biomolecular composition and specific cellular activities. Emerging evidence indicates that protein-based liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) plays an essential role in the formation and dynamic regulation of heterochromatin compartmentalization. This feature is especially conspicuous at the pericentric heterochromatin domains. In this review, we will describe our understanding of heterochromatin organization and LLPS. In addition, we will highlight the increasing importance of multivalent weak homo- and heteromolecular interactions in LLPS-mediated heterochromatin compartmentalization in the complex environment inside living cells.
The eukaryotic genome is organized in three dimensions within the nucleus. Transcriptionally active chromatin is spatially separated from silent heterochromatin, a large fraction of which is located at the nuclear periphery. However, the mechanisms by which chromatin is localized at the nuclear periphery remain poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that Proline Rich 14 (PRR14) protein organizes H3K9me3-modified heterochromatin at the nuclear lamina. We show that PRR14 dynamically associates with both the nuclear lamina and heterochromatin, and is able to reorganize heterochromatin in the nucleus of interphase cells independent of mitosis. We characterize two functional HP1-binding sites within PRR14 that contribute to its association with heterochromatin. We also demonstrate that PPR14 forms an anchoring surface for heterochromatin at the nuclear lamina where it interacts dynamically with HP1-associated chromatin. Our study proposes a model of dynamic heterochromatin organization at the nuclear lamina via the PRR14 tethering protein.
Enhancers are cis-regulatory elements that can stimulate gene expression from distance, and drive precise spatiotemporal gene expression profiles during development. Functional enhancers display specific features including an open chromatin conformation, Histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation, Histone H3 lysine 4 mono-methylation enrichment, and enhancer RNAs production. These features are modified upon developmental cues which impacts their activity. In this review, we describe the current state of knowledge about enhancer functions and the diverse chromatin signatures found on enhancers. We also discuss the dynamic changes of enhancer chromatin signatures, and their impact on lineage specific gene expression profiles, during development or cellular differentiation.
Autophagy has emerged as a key regulator of cell metabolism. Recently, we have demonstrated that autophagy is involved in RNA metabolism by regulating ribosomal RNA (rRNA) synthesis. We found that autophagy-deficient cells display much higher 47S precursor rRNA level, which is caused by the accumulation of SQSTM1/p62 (sequestosome 1) but not other autophagy receptors. Mechanistically, SQSTM1 accumulation potentiates the activation of MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase) complex 1 (MTORC1) signaling, which facilitates the assembly of RNA polymerase I pre-initiation complex at ribosomal DNA (rDNA) promoter regions and leads to the activation of rDNA transcription. Finally, we showed that SQSTM1 accumulation is responsible for the increase in protein synthesis, cell growth and cell proliferation in autophagy-deficient cells. Taken together, our findings reveal a regulatory role of autophagy and autophagy receptor SQSTM1 in rRNA synthesis and may provide novel mechanisms for the hyperactivated rDNA transcription in autophagy-related human diseases.
Abbreviations: 5-FUrd: 5-fluorouridine; LAP: MAP1LC3/LC3-associated phagocytosis; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; PIC: pre-initiation complex; POLR1: RNA polymerase I; POLR1A: RNA polymerase I subunit A; rDNA: ribosomal DNA; RRN3: RRN3 homolog, RNA polymerase I transcription factor; rRNA: ribosomal RNA; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; TP53INP2: tumor protein p53 inducible nuclear protein 2; UBTF: upstream binding transcription factor.
Dictyostelium amoebae perform a semi-closed mitosis, in which the nuclear envelope is fenestrated at the insertion sites of the mitotic centrosomes and around the central spindle during karyokinesis. During late telophase the centrosome relocates to the cytoplasmic side of the nucleus, the central spindle disassembles and the nuclear fenestrae become closed. Our data indicate that Dictyostelium spastin (DdSpastin) is a microtubule-binding and severing type I membrane protein that plays a role in this process. Its mitotic localization is in agreement with a requirement for the removal of microtubules that would hinder closure of the fenestrae. Furthermore, DdSpastin interacts with the HeH/ LEM-family protein Src1 in BioID analyses as well as the inner nuclear membrane protein Sun1, and shows subcellular co-localizations with Src1, Sun1, the ESCRT component CHMP7 and the IST1-like protein filactin, suggesting that the principal pathway of mitotic nuclear envelope remodeling is conserved between animals and Dictyostelium amoebae.
Nuclear rupture has long been associated with deficits or defects in lamins, with recent results also indicating a role for actomyosin stress, but key physical determinants of rupture remain unclear. Here, lamin-B filaments stably interact with the nuclear membrane at sites of low Gaussian curvature yet dilute at high curvature to favor rupture, whereas lamin-A depletion requires high strain-rates. Live-cell imaging of lamin-B1 gene-edited cancer cells is complemented by fixed-cell imaging of rupture in: iPS-derived progeria patients cells, cells within beating chick embryo hearts, and cancer cells with multi-site rupture after migration through small pores. Data fit a model of stiff filaments that detach from a curved surface.Rupture is modestly suppressed by inhibiting myosin-II and by hypotonic stress, which slow the strain-rates. Lamin-A dilution and rupture probability indeed increase above a threshold rate of nuclear pulling. Curvature-sensing mechanisms of proteins at plasma membranes, including Piezo1, might thus apply at nuclear membranes.
Summary statement: High nuclear curvature drives lamina dilution and nuclear envelope rupture even when myosin stress is inhibited. Stiff filaments generally dilute from sites of high Gaussian curvature, providing mathematical fits of experiments.
The study of nuclear matrix (NuMat) over the last 40 years has been limited to either isolated nuclei from tissues or cells grown in culture. Here, we provide a protocol for NuMat preparation in intact Drosophila melanogaster embryos and its use in dissecting the components of nuclear architecture. The protocol does not require isolation of nuclei and therefore maintains the three-dimensional milieu of an intact embryo, which is biologically more relevant compared to cells in culture. One of the advantages of this protocol is that only a small number of embryos are required. The protocol has been extended to larval tissues like salivary glands with little modification. Taken together, it becomes possible to carry out such studies in parallel to genetic experiments using mutant/transgenic flies. This protocol, therefore, opens the powerful field of fly genetics to cell biology in the study of nuclear architecture.
Summary: Nuclear Matrix is a biochemically defined entity and a basic component of the nuclear architecture. Here we present a protocol to isolate and visualize Nuclear Matrix in situ in the Drosophila melanogaster and its potential applications.
Nuclear Speckles (NS) are phase-separated condensates of protein and RNA whose components dynamically coordinate RNA transcription, splicing, transport and DNA repair. NS, probed largely by imaging studies, remained historically well known as Interchromatin Granule Clusters, and biochemical properties, especially their association with Chromatin have been largely unexplored. In this study, we tested whether NS exhibit any stable association with chromatin and show that limited DNAse-1 nicking of chromatin leads to the collapse of NS into isotropic distribution or aggregates of constituent proteins without affecting other nuclear structures. Further biochemical probing revealed that NS proteins were tightly associated with chromatin, extractable only by high-salt treatment just like histone proteins. NS were also co-released with solubilised mono-dinucleosomal chromatin fraction following the MNase digestion of chromatin. We propose a model that NS-chromatin constitutes a “putative stable association” whose coupling might be subject to the combined regulation from both chromatin and NS changes.
Abbreviations: NS: Nuclear speckles; DSB: double strand breaks; PTM: posttranslational modifications; DDR: DNA damage repair; RBP-RNA binding proteins; TAD: topologically associated domains; LCR: low complexity regions; IDR: intrinsically disordered regions.
The compaction of linear DNA into micrometer-sized nuclear boundaries involves the establishment of specific three-dimensional (3D) DNA structures complexed with histone proteins that
form chromatin. The resulting structures modulate essential nuclear processes such as transcription, replication, and repair to facilitate or impede their multi-step progression and these contribute to dynamic modification of the 3D-genome organization. It is generally accepted that
protein–protein and protein–DNA interactions form the basis of 3D-genome organization.
However, the constant generation of mechanical forces, torques, and other stresses produced
by various proteins translocating along DNA could be playing a larger role in genome organization than currently appreciated. Clearly, a thorough understanding of the mechanical determinants imposed by DNA transactions on the 3D organization of the genome is required. We
provide here an overview of our current knowledge and highlight the importance of DNA and
chromatin mechanics in gene expression.
A double membrane bilayer perforated by nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) governs the shape of the nucleus, the prominent distinguishing organelle of a eukaryotic cell. Despite the absence of lamins in yeasts, the nuclear morphology is stably maintained and shape changes occur in a regulated fashion. In a quest to identify factors that contribute to regulation of nuclear shape and function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we used a fluorescence imaging based approach. Here we report the identification of a novel protein, Uip4p, that is required for regulation of nuclear morphology. Loss of Uip4 compromises NPC function and loss of nuclear envelope (NE) integrity. Our localization studies show that Uip4 localizes to the NE and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the localization and expression of Uip4 is regulated during growth, which is crucial for NPC distribution.
Cellular senescence provokes a dramatic alteration of chromatin organization and gene expression profile of proinflammatory factors, thereby contributing to various age-related pathologies via the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Chromatin organization and global gene expression are maintained through the CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF). However, the molecular mechanism underlying CTCF regulation and its association with SASP gene expression remains to be fully elucidated. A recent study by our team showed that noncoding RNA (ncRNA) derived from normally silenced pericentromeric repetitive sequences directly impair the DNA binding of CTCF. This CTCF disturbance increases the accessibility of chromatin at the loci of SASP genes and caused the transcription of inflammatory factors. This mechanism may promote malignant transformation.
Lamins are the major constituent of the nuclear lamina, a protein meshwork underlying the inner nuclear membrane. Nuclear lamins are type V intermediate filaments that assemble into ~3.5 nm thick filaments. To date, only the conditions for the in vitro assembly of Caenorhabditis elegans lamin (Ce-lamin) are known. Here, we investigated the assembly of Ce-lamin filaments by cryo-electron microscopy and tomography. We show that Ce-lamin is composed of ~3.5 nm protofilaments that further interact in vitro and are often seen as 6–8 nm thick filaments. We show that the assembly of lamin filaments is undisturbed by the removal of flexible domains, that is, the intrinsically unstructured head and tail domains. In contrast, much of the coiled-coil domains are scaffold elements that are essential for filament assembly. Moreover, our results suggest that Ce-lamin helix 1A has a minor scaffolding role but is important to the lateral assembly regulation of lamin protofilaments.
Activation of transcription results in coordinated movement of chromatin over a range of micrometers. To investigate how transcriptional regulation affects the mobility of RNA Pol II molecules and whether this movement response depends on the coordinated movement of chromatin, we used our Dense Flow reConstruction and Correlation (DFCC) method. Using DFCC, we studies the nucleus-wide coherent movements of RNA Pol II in the context of DNA in humancancer cells. This study showed the dependance of coherent movements of RNA Pol II molecules (above 1 µm) on transcriptional activity. Here, we share the dataset of this study, includes nucleus-wide live imaging and analysis of DNA and RNA polymerase II in different transcription states, and the code for teh analysis. Our dataset may provide researchers interested in the long-range organization of chromatin in living cell images with the ability to link the structural genomic compartment to dynamic information. .
Nuclear lamins and transport are intrinsically linked, but their relationship is yet to be fully unraveled. A multitude of complex, coupled interactions between lamins and nucleoporins (Nups), which mediate active transport into and out of the nucleus, combined with well documented dysregulation of lamins in many cancers, suggests that lamins and nuclear transport may play a pivotal role in carcinogenesis and the preservation of cancer. Changes of function related to lamin/Nup activity can principally lead to DNA damage, further increasing the genetic diversity within a tumor, which could lead to the reduction the effectiveness of antineoplastic treatments. This review discusses and synthesizes different connections of lamins to nuclear transport and offers a number of outlook questions, the answers to which could reveal a new perspective on the connection of lamins to molecular transport of cancer therapeutics, in addition to their established role in nuclear mechanics.
Nucleus, chromatin, and chromosome organization studies heavily rely on fluorescence microscopy imaging to elucidate the distribution and abundance of structural and regulatory components. Three-dimensional (3D) image stacks are a source of quantitative data on signal intensity level and distribution and on the type and shape of distribution patterns in space. Their analysis can lead to novel insights that are otherwise missed in qualitative-only analyses. Quantitative image analysis requires specific software and workflows for image rendering, processing, segmentation, setting measurement points and reference frames and exporting target data before further numerical processing and plotting. These tasks often call for the development of customized computational scripts and require an expertise that is not broadly available to the community of experimental biologists. Yet, the increasing accessibility of high- and super-resolution imaging methods fuels the demand for user-friendly image analysis workflows. Here, we provide a compendium of strategies developed by participants of a training school from the COST action INDEPTH to analyze the spatial distribution of nuclear and chromosomal signals from 3D image stacks, acquired by diffraction-limited confocal microscopy and super-resolution microscopy methods (SIM and STED). While the examples make use of one specific commercial software package, the workflows can easily be adapted to concurrent commercial and open-source software. The aim is to encourage biologists lacking custom-script-based expertise to venture into quantitative image analysis and to better exploit the discovery potential of their images.
Abbreviations: 3D FISH: three-dimensional fluorescence in situ hybridization; 3D: three-dimensional; ASY1: ASYNAPTIC 1; CC: chromocenters; CO: Crossover; DAPI: 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; DMC1: DNA MEIOTIC RECOMBINASE 1; DSB: Double-Strand Break; FISH: fluorescence in situ hybridization; GFP: GREEN FLUORESCENT PROTEIN; HEI10: HUMAN ENHANCER OF INVASION 10; NCO: Non-Crossover; NE: Nuclear Envelope; Oligo-FISH: oligonucleotide fluorescence in situ hybridization; RNPII: RNA Polymerase II; SC: Synaptonemal Complex; SIM: structured illumination microscopy; ZMM (ZIP: MSH4: MSH5 and MER3 proteins); ZYP1: ZIPPER-LIKE PROTEIN 1.
Access to DNA is a prerequisite to the execution of essential cellular processes that include transcription, replication, chromosomal segregation, and DNA repair. How the proteins that regulate these processes function in the context of chromatin and its dynamic architectures is an intensive field of study. Over the past decade, genome-wide assays and new imaging approaches have enabled a greater understanding of how access to the genome is regulated by nucleosomes and associated proteins. Additional mechanisms that may control DNA accessibility in vivo include chromatin compaction and phase separation – processes that are beginning to be understood. Here, we review the ongoing development of accessibility measurements, we summarize the different molecular and structural mechanisms that shape the accessibility landscape, and we detail the many important biological functions that are linked to chromatin accessibility.
The kinetochore is a large proteinaceous structure assembled on the centromeres of chromosomes. The complex machinery links chromosomes to the mitotic spindle and is essential for accurate chromosome segregation during cell division. The kinetochore is composed of two submodules: the inner and outer kinetochore. The inner kinetochore is assembled on centromeric chromatin and persists with centromeres throughout the cell cycle. The outer kinetochore attaches microtubules to the inner kinetochore, and assembles only during mitosis. The review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms governing the proper assembly of the outer kinetochore during mitosis and highlights open questions for future investigation.
The nucleus, central to cellular activity, relies on both direct mechanical input as well as its molecular transducers to sense external stimuli and respond by regulating intra-nuclear chromatin organization that determines cell function and fate. In mesenchymal stem cells of musculoskeletal tissues, changes in nuclear structures are emerging as a key modulator of their differentiation and proliferation programs. In this review we will first introduce the structural elements of the nucleoskeleton and discuss the current literature on how nuclear structure and signaling are altered in relation to environmental and tissue level mechanical cues. We will focus on state-of-the-art techniques to apply mechanical force and methods to measure nuclear mechanics in conjunction with DNA, RNA, and protein visualization in living cells. Ultimately, combining real-time nuclear deformations and chromatin dynamics can be a powerful tool to study mechanisms of how forces affect the dynamics of genome function.
Chromosomes are the carriers of inheritable traits and define cell function and development. This is not only based on the linear DNA sequence of chromosomes but also on the additional molecular information they are associated with, including the transcription machinery, histone modifications, and their three-dimensional folding. The synergistic application of experimental approaches and computer simulations has helped to unveil how these organizational layers of the genome interplay in various organisms. However, such multidisciplinary approaches are still rarely explored in the plant kingdom. Here, we provide an overview of our current knowledge on plant 3D genome organization and review recent efforts to integrate cutting-edge experiments from microscopy and next-generation sequencing approaches with theoretical models. Building on these recent approaches, we propose possible avenues to extend the application of theoretical modeling in the characterization of the 3D genome organization in plants.
The coordinated regulation of the nucelar envelope (NE) reassembly during cell division is an essential event. However, there is little information on the molecular components involved in NE assembly in plant cells. Here we developed an in vitro assay of NE assembly using tobacco BY-2 cultured cells. To start the NE assembly reaction, the demembranated nuclei and the S12 fraction (cytosol and microsomes) were mixed in the presence of GTP and ATP nucleotides. Time–course analysis indicated that tubule structures were extended from the microsomal vesicles that accumulated on the demembranated nuclei, and finally sealed the NE. Immunofluorescence confirmed that the assembled membrane contains a component of nuclear pore complex. The efficiency of the NE assembly is significantly inhibited by GTPγS that suppresses membrane fusion. This in-vitro assay system may elucidate the role of specific proteins and provide important insights into the molecular machinery of NE assembly in plant cells.
Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) mediated formation of membraneless organelles has been proposed to coordinate biological processes in space and time. Previously, the formation of phase-separated droplets was described as a unique property of HP1α. Here, we demonstrate that the positive net charge of the intrinsically disordered hinge region (IDR-H) of HP1 proteins is critical for phase separation and that the exchange of four acidic amino acids is sufficient to confer LLPS properties to HP1β. Surprisingly, the addition of mono-nucleosomes promoted H3K9me3-dependent LLPS of HP1β which could be specifically disrupted with methylated but not acetylated H3K9 peptides. HP1β mutants defective in H3K9me3 binding were less efficient in phase separationin vitro and failed to accumulate at heterochromatin in vivo. We propose that multivalent interactions of HP1β with H3K9me3-modified nucleosomes via its chromodomain and dimerization via its chromoshadow domain enable phase separation and contribute to the formation of heterochromatin compartments in vivo.
Interactions of chromatin with the nuclear lamina imposes a radial genome distribution important for nuclear functions. How physical properties of chromatin affect these interactions is unclear. We used polymer simulations to model how physical parameters of chromatin affect its interaction with the lamina. Impact of polymer stiffness is greater than stretching on its configurations at the lamina; these are manifested as trains describing extended interactions, and loops describing desorbed regions . Conferring an attraction potential leads to persistent interaction and adsorption-desorption regimes manifested by fluctuations between trains and loops. These are modulated by polymer stiffness and stretching, with a dominant impact of stiffness on resulting structural configurations. We infer that flexible euchromatin is more prone to stochastic interactions with lamins than rigid heterochromatin characterizing constitutive LADs. Our models provide insights on the physical properties of chromatin as a polymer which affect the dynamics and patterns of interactions with the nuclear lamina.
Data on genome organization and output over time, or the 4D Nucleome (4DN), require synthesis for meaningful interpretation. Development of tools for the efficient integration of these data is needed, especially for the time dimension. We present the “4DNvestigator”, a user-friendly network based toolbox for the analysis of time series genome-wide genome structure (Hi-C) and gene expression (RNA-seq) data. Additionally, we provide methods to quantify network entropy, tensor entropy, and statistically significant changes in time series Hi-C data at different genomic scales.
Eukaryotic cells arose over 1.5 billion years ago, with the endomembrane system a central feature, facilitating evolution of specialised intracellular compartments. Endomembranes include the nuclear envelope (NE) that divides the cytoplasm from the nucleoplasm. The NE possesses universal features, specifically a double lipid bilayer membrane, nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), and continuity with the endoplasmic reticulum, indicating a common evolutionary origin. However, the levels of specialisation between eukaryotic lineages remains unclear, despite clear evidence for distinct mechanisms underpinning various nuclear activities. Several distinct modes of molecular evolution facilitate organellar diversification and include gene loss (sculpting), replacement/repurposing (backfilling), paralog expansion and emergence of novel genes in specific lineages. To understand mechanisms that apply to the NE, we exploited previously described proteome datasets of purified nuclear envelopes from model systems for comparative analysis. We find enrichment of core nuclear functions amongst the most widely conserved proteins, which account for a small fraction of the total, while the largest cohorts are likely lineage-specific. This, together with consideration of additional published studies, suggests that, despite a common origin, the NE has evolved as a highly diverse organelle with significant lineage-specific functionality.
NucleusJ 1.0, an ImageJ plugin, is a useful tool to analyze nuclear morphology and chromatin organization in plant and animal cells. NucleusJ 2.0 is a new release of NucleusJ, in which image processing is achieved more quickly using a command-lineuser interface. Starting with large collection of 3D nuclei, segmentation can be performed by the previously developed Otsu-modified method or by a new 3D gift-wrapping method, taking better account of nuclear indentations and unstained nucleoli. These two complementary methods are compared for their accuracy by using three types of datasets available to the community at https://www.brookes.ac.uk/indepth/images/ . Finally, NucleusJ 2.0 was evaluated using original plant genetic material by assessing its efficiency on nuclei stained with DNA dyes or after 3D-DNA Fluorescence in situ hybridization. With these improvements, NucleusJ 2.0 permits the generation of large user-curated datasets that will be useful for software benchmarking or to train convolution neural networks.
The functional organization of the plant nuclear envelope has recently gained increasing attention due to new connections made between the proteins of the nuclear periphery and important plant biological processes. Better understood from animal research, nuclear envelope and nuclear peripheral proteins are known to play roles in nuclear morphology, subcellular nuclear anchoring and movement, chromatin tethering and the mechanical interplay between nucleoplasm and cytoplasm. However, precisely how these roles translate to functionality in a broader biological context is often not well understood. Plants have their own set of nuclear envelope-associated proteins that sometimes overlap with their animal counterparts, but are more often plant-unique, suggesting that functionalities evolved after the split of Opisthokonta and Streptophyta about one billion years ago. During the past few years, significant progress has been made in discovering broader biological roles of plant nuclear envelope proteins, increasing the number of known plant nuclear envelope proteins, and connecting known proteins to chromatin organization, gene expression, and the regulation of nuclear calcium. Interactions of viruses with the plant nuclear envelope are another emerging theme. Here, we survey these recent advances and propose directions for the future development of this still relatively new, yet rapidly advancing field.
Decades of studies have established that nuclear lamin polymers form the nuclear lamina, a protein meshwork that supports the nuclear envelope structure and tethers heterochromatin to the nuclear periphery. Much less is known about unpolymerized nuclear lamins in the nuclear interior, some of which are now known to undergo specific phosphorylation. A recent finding that phosphorylated lamins bind gene enhancer regions offers a new hypothesis that lamin phosphorylation may influence transcriptional regulation in the nuclear interior. In this review, we discuss the regulation, localization, and functions of phosphorylated lamins. We summarize kinases that phosphorylate lamins in a variety of biological contexts. Our discussion extends to laminopathies, a spectrum of degenerative disorders caused by lamin gene mutations, such as cardiomyopathies and progeria. We compare the prevailing hypothesis for laminopathy pathogenesis based on lamins’ function at the nuclear lamina with an emerging hypothesis based on phosphorylated lamins’ function in the nuclear interior.
Lamins interact with the nuclear membrane and chromatin but the precise players and mechanisms of these interactions are unknown. Here, we tested whether the removal of the CaaX motif from Lamin B disrupts its attachment to the nuclear membrane and affects chromatin distribution. We used Drosophila melanogaster LamA25 homozygous mutants that lack the CaaX box. We found that the mutant Lamin B was not confined to the nuclear periphery but was distributed throughout the nuclear interior, colocalizing with chromosomes in salivary gland and proventriculus. The peripheral position of Lamin C, nuclear pore complex (NPC), heterochromatin protein 1a (HP1a), H3K9me2- and H3K27me3-associated chromatin remained intact. The fluorescence intensity of the DAPI-stained peripheral chromatin significantly decreased and that of the central chromatin significantly increased in the proventriculus nuclei of the mutantflies compared to wild-type. However, the mutation had little effect on chromatin radial distribution inside highly polytenized salivary gland nuclei.
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a premature aging disorder caused by a mutation of lamin A, which contributes to nuclear architecture and the spatial organization of chromatin in the nucleus. The expression of a lamin A mutant, named progerin, leads to functional and structural disruption of nuclear organization. Since progerin lacks a part of the actin-binding site of lamin A, we hypothesized that nuclear actin dynamics and function are altered in HGPS cells. Nuclear F-actin is required for the organization of nuclear shape, transcriptional regulation, DNA damage repair, and activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Here we show that the expression of progerin decreases nuclear F-actin and impairs F-actin-regulated transcription. When nuclear F-actin levels are increased by overexpression of nuclear-targeted actin or by using jasplakinolide, a compound that stabilizes F-actin, the irregularity of nuclear shape and defects in gene expression can be reversed. These observations provide evidence for a novel relationship between nuclear actin and the etiology of HGPS.
The nuclear envelope compartmentalizes chromatin in eukaryotic cells. The main nuclear envelope components are lamins that associate with a panoply of factors, including the LEM domain proteins. The nuclear envelope of mammalian cells opens up during cell division. It is reassembled and associated with chromatin at the end of mitosis when telomeres tether to the nuclear periphery. Lamins, LEM domain proteins, and DNA binding factors, as BAF, contribute to the reorganization of chromatin. In this context, an emerging role is that of the ESCRT complex, a machinery operating in multiple membrane assembly pathways, including nuclear envelope reformation. Research in this area is unraveling how, mechanistically, ESCRTs link to nuclear envelope associated factors as LEM domain proteins. Importantly, ESCRTs work also during interphase for repairing nuclear envelope ruptures. Altogether the advances in this field are giving new clues for the interpretation of diseases implicating nuclear envelope fragility, as laminopathies and cancer.
na, not analyzed; ko, knockout; kd, knockdown; NE, nuclear envelope; LEM, LAP2-emerin-MAN1 (LEM)-domain containing proteins; LINC, linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton complexes; Cyt, cytoplasm; Chr, chromatin; MB, midbody; End, endosomes; Tel, telomeres; INM, inner nuclear membrane; NP, nucleoplasm; NPC, Nuclear Pore Complex; ER, Endoplasmic Reticulum; SPB, spindle pole body.
The nuclear lamina is a meshwork of intermediate filament proteins, and lamin A is the primary mechanical protein. An altered splicing of lamin A, known as progerin, causes the disease Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Progerin-expressing cells have altered nuclear shapes and stiffened nuclear lamina with microaggregates of progerin. Here, progerin microaggregate inclusions in the lamina are shown to lead to cellular and multicellular dysfunction. We show with Comsol simulations that stiffened inclusions causes redistribution of normally homogeneous forces, and this redistribution is dependent on the stiffness difference and relatively independent of inclusion size. We also show mechanotransmission changes associated with progerin expression in cells under confinement and cells under external forces. Endothelial cells expressing progerin do not align properly with patterning. Fibroblasts expressing progerin do not align properly to applied cyclic force. Combined, these studies show that altered nuclear lamina mechanics and microstructure impacts cytoskeletal force transmission through the cell.
egg extracts are a powerful in vitro tool for studying complex biological processes, including nuclear reconstitution, nuclear membrane and pore assembly, and spindle assembly. Extracts have been further used to demonstrate a moonlighting regulatory role for nuclear import receptors or importins on these cell cycle assembly events. Here we show that exportins can also play a role in these events. Addition of Crm1, Exportin-t, or Exportin-5 decreased nuclear pore assembly in vitro. RanQ69L-GTP, a constitutively active form of RanGTP, ameliorated inhibition. Both Crm1 and Exportin-t inhibited fusion of nuclear membranes, again counteracted by RanQ69L-GTP. In mitotic extracts, Crm1 and Exportin-t negatively impacted spindle assembly. Pulldowns from the extracts using Crm1- or Exportin-t-beads revealed nucleoporins known to be essential for both nuclear pore and spindle assembly, with RanQ69L-GTP decreasing a subset of these target interactions. This study suggests a model where exportins, like importins, can regulate major mitotic assembly events.
Mammalian genome structure is closely linked to function. At the scale of kilobases to megabases, CTCF and cohesin organize the genome into chromatin loops. Mechanistically, cohesin is proposed to extrude chromatin loops bidirectionally until it encounters occupied CTCF DNA-binding sites. Curiously, loops form predominantly between CTCF binding sites in a convergent orientation. How CTCF interacts with and blocks cohesin extrusion in an orientation-specific manner has remained a mechanistic mystery. Here, we review recent papers that have shed light on these processes and suggest a multi-step interaction between CTCF and cohesin. This interaction may first involve a pausing step, where CTCF halts cohesin extrusion, followed by a stabilization step of the CTCF-cohesin complex, resulting in a chromatin loop. Finally, we discuss our own recent studies on an internal RNA-Binding Region (RBRi) in CTCF to elucidate its role in regulating CTCF clustering, target search mechanisms and chromatin loop formation and future challenges.
The regulatory circuits that define developmental decisions of thymocytes are still incompletely resolved. SATB1 protein is predominantly expressed at the CD4⁺CD8⁺cell stage exerting its broad transcription regulation potential with both activatory and repressive roles. A series of post-translational modifications and the presence of potential SATB1 protein isoforms indicate the complexity of its regulatory potential. The most apparent mechanism of its involvement in gene expression regulation is via the orchestration of long-range chromatin loops between genes and their regulatory elements. Multiple SATB1 perturbations in mice uncovered a link to autoimmune diseases while clinical investigations on cancer research uncovered that SATB1 has a promoting role in several types of cancer and can be used as a prognostic biomarker. SATB1 is a multivalent tissue-specific factor with a broad and yet undetermined regulatory potential. Future investigations on this protein could further uncover T cell-specific regulatory pathways and link them to (patho)physiology.
Nuclear lamins form an elastic meshwork underlying the inner nuclear membrane and provide mechanical rigidity to the nucleus and maintain shape. Lamins also maintain chromosome positioning and play important roles in several nuclear processes like replication, DNA damage repair, transcription, and epigenetic modifications. LMNA mutations affect cardiac tissue, muscle tissues, adipose tissues to precipitate several diseases collectively termed as laminopathies. However, the rationale behind LMNA mutations and laminopathies continues to elude scientists. During interphase, several chromosomes form inter/intrachromosomal contacts inside nucleoplasm and several chromosomal loops also stretch out to make a ‘loop-cluster’ which are key players to regulate gene expressions. In this perspective, we have proposed that the lamin network in tandem with nuclear actin and myosin provide mechanical rigidity to the chromosomal contacts and facilitate loop-clusters movements. LMNA mutations thus might perturb the landscape of chromosomal contacts or loop-clusters positioning which can impair gene expression profile.
Decades of investigation on genomic DNA have brought us deeper insights into its organization within the nucleus and its metabolic mechanisms. This was fueled by the parallel development of experimental techniques and has stimulated model building to simulate genome conformation in agreement with the experimental data. Here, we will discuss our recent discoveries on the chromatin units of DNA replication and DNA damage response. We will highlight their remarkable structural similarities and how both revealed themselves as clusters of nanofocal structures each on the hundred thousand base pair size range corresponding well with chromatin loop sizes. We propose that the function of these two global genomic processes is determined by the loop level organization of chromatin structure with structure dictating function.
Abbreviations: 3D-SIM: 3D-structured illumination microscopy; 3C: chromosome conformation capture; DDR: DNA damage response; FISH: fluorescent in situ hybridization; Hi-C: high conformation capture; HiP-HoP: highly predictive heteromorphic polymer model; IOD: inter-origin distance; LAD: lamina associated domain; STED: stimulated emission depletion microscopy; STORM: stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy; SBS: strings and binders switch model; TAD: topologically associated domain
In the eukaryotic cell nucleus, cytoskeletal proteins are emerging as essential players in nuclear function. In particular, actin regulates chromatin as part of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes, it modulates transcription and it is incorporated into nascent ribonucleoprotein complexes, accompanying them from the site of transcription to polyribosomes. The nuclear actin pool is undistinguishable from the cytoplasmic one in terms of its ability to undergo polymerization and it has also been implicated in the dynamics of chromatin, regulating heterochromatin segregation at the nuclear lamina and maintaining heterochromatin levels in the nuclear interiors. One of the next frontiers is, therefore, to determine a possible involvement of nuclear actin in the functional architecture of the cell nucleus by regulating the hierarchical organization of chromatin and, thus, genome organization. Here, we discuss the repertoire of these potential actin functions and how they are likely to play a role in the context of cellular differentiation.
The nuclear envelope (NE) is composed of two lipid bilayer membranes that enclose the eukaryotic genome. In interphase, the NE is perforated by thousands of nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), which allow transport in and out of the nucleus. During mitosis in metazoans, the NE is broken down and then reassembled in a manner that enables proper chromosome segregation and the formation of a single nucleus in each daughter cell. Defects in coordinating NE reformation and chromosome segregation can cause aberrant nuclear architecture. This includes the formation of micronuclei, which can trigger a catastrophic mutational process commonly observed in cancers called chromothripsis. Here, we discuss the current understanding of the coordination of NE reformation with chromosome segregation during mitotic exit in metazoans. We review differing models in the field and highlight recent work suggesting that normal NE reformation and chromosome segregation are physically linked through the timing of mitotic spindle disassembly.