Nuclear Mobility and Mitotic Chromosome Binding: Similarities between Pioneer Transcription Factor FoxA and Linker Histone H1

Epigenetics Program and Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.
Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 01/2010; 75:219-26. DOI: 10.1101/sqb.2010.75.061
Source: PubMed


There exists a hierarchy by which transcription factors can engage their target sites in chromatin, in that a subset of factors can bind transcriptionally silent, nucleosomal DNA, whereas most factors cannot, and this hierarchy is reflected, at least in part, in the developmental function of the factors. For example, transcription factors possessing the Forkhead box (Fox) DNA-binding domain contain an overall fold resembling that of linker histone and thus are structured to bind DNA, site specifically, in a nucleosomal context. Where tested, Fox factors bind early in the developmental or physiological activation of target genes, thereby enabling the binding of other factors that cannot engage chromatin on their own. To investigate the basis for early chromatin binding, we have used fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to analyze the mobility, in the live cell nucleus, of FoxA factors in comparison to linker histone and other transcription factors. We have further analyzed the factors for their ability to bind to chromatin in mitosis and thereby serve as epigenetic marks. The results indicate that the "pioneer" features of FoxA factors involve various chromatin-binding parameters seen in linker histones and that distinguish the factors with respect to their regulatory and mechanistic functions.

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    • "Although simple nucleosome depletion could accomplish accessibility, ‘transient’ nucleosome deposition may stabilize DNA integrity, which may be necessary for accurate transcription factor binding. Several families of transcription factors, so-called ‘pioneer factors’ [42], require the presence and ‘guidance’ of nucleosomes for proper binding and subsequent nucleosome remodeling [43]. Secondly, nucleosomes and their histone modifications provide docking stations for a variety of transcription factors and chromatin remodeling factors, which may require continuous recruitment for initiation of transcription. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nucleosomes are present throughout the genome and must be dynamically regulated to accommodate binding of transcription factors and RNA polymerase machineries by various mechanisms. Despite the development of protocols and techniques that have enabled us to map nucleosome occupancy genome-wide, the dynamic properties of nucleosomes remain poorly understood, particularly in mammalian cells. The histone variant H3.3 is incorporated into chromatin independently of DNA replication and requires displacement of existing nucleosomes for its deposition. Here, we measure H3.3 turnover at high resolution in the mammalian genome in order to present a genome-wide characterization of replication-independent H3.3-nucleosome dynamics. We developed a system to study the DNA replication-independent turnover of nucleosomes containing the histone variant H3.3 in mammalian cells. By measuring the genome-wide incorporation of H3.3 at different time points following epitope-tagged H3.3 expression, we find three categories of H3.3-nucleosome turnover in vivo: rapid turnover, intermediate turnover and, specifically at telomeres, slow turnover. Our data indicate that H3.3-containing nucleosomes at enhancers and promoters undergo rapid turnover that is associated with active histone modification marks including H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3K9ac, H3K27ac and the histone variant H2A.Z. The rate of turnover is negatively correlated with H3K27me3 at regulatory regions and with H3K36me3 at gene bodies. We have established a reliable approach to measure turnover rates of H3.3-containing nucleosomes on a genome-wide level in mammalian cells. Our results suggest that distinct mechanisms control the dynamics of H3.3 incorporation at functionally different genomic regions.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Genome biology
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    • "The mechanisms underlying the effect seen with the truncated Foxa1 mutant are unclear. The C-terminal region contributes to Foxa1’s pioneering function via interactions with core histones and also confers higher Foxa1 mobility in the nucleoplasm relative to linker histone H1 [11], [13]. It is conceivable that a non-specific affinity for chromatin via core histone interactions may allow the C-terminal Foxa1 mutant to marginally antagonize linker histone-mediated chromatin compaction and to promote chromatin de-compaction, thereby resulting in minor increases in the FISH signal intensity and size (Figure 4B-C). "
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    ABSTRACT: Genes are regulated at the single-cell level. Here, we performed RNA FISH of thousands of cells by flow cytometry (flow-RNA FISH) to gain insight into transcriptional variability between individual cells. These experiments utilized the murine adenocarcinoma 3134 cell line with 200 copies of the MMTV-Ras reporter integrated at a single genomic locus. The MMTV array contains approximately 800-1200 binding sites for the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and 600 binding sites for the pioneer factor Foxa1. Hormone activation of endogenous GR by dexamethasone treatment resulted in highly variable changes in the RNA FISH intensity (25-300 pixel intensity units) and size (1.25-15 µm), indicative of probabilistic or stochastic mechanisms governing GR and cofactor activation of the MMTV promoter. Exogenous expression of the pioneer factor Foxa1 increased the FISH signal intensity and size as expected for a chromatin remodeler that enhances transcriptional competence through increased chromatin accessibility. In addition, specific analysis of Foxa1-enriched cell sub-populations showed that low and high Foxa1 levels substantially lowered the cell-to-cell variability in the FISH intensity as determined by a noise calculation termed the % coefficient of variation. These results suggest that an additional function of the pioneer factor Foxa1 may be to decrease transcriptional noise.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In certain contexts , FoxA binding can displace linker his - tone to allow other factors to bind chromatin ( Taube et al . 2010 ) . Also , like linker histone , FoxA and other Fox family members are retained on mitotic chromosomes and thus could serve as ' ' bookmarking ' ' proteins in mitosis ( Yan et al . 2006 ; Zaret et al . 2011 ) . In conclusion , the struc - ture of the FoxA DNA - binding domain appears interme - diate between that of linker histone and other transcrip - tion factors , and this feature contributes to pioneer activity ."
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    ABSTRACT: Transcription factors are adaptor molecules that detect regulatory sequences in the DNA and target the assembly of protein complexes that control gene expression. Yet much of the DNA in the eukaryotic cell is in nucleosomes and thereby occluded by histones, and can be further occluded by higher-order chromatin structures and repressor complexes. Indeed, genome-wide location analyses have revealed that, for all transcription factors tested, the vast majority of potential DNA-binding sites are unoccupied, demonstrating the inaccessibility of most of the nuclear DNA. This raises the question of how target sites at silent genes become bound de novo by transcription factors, thereby initiating regulatory events in chromatin. Binding cooperativity can be sufficient for many kinds of factors to simultaneously engage a target site in chromatin and activate gene expression. However, in cases in which the binding of a series of factors is sequential in time and thus not initially cooperative, special "pioneer transcription factors" can be the first to engage target sites in chromatin. Such initial binding can passively enhance transcription by reducing the number of additional factors that are needed to bind the DNA, culminating in activation. In addition, pioneer factor binding can actively open up the local chromatin and directly make it competent for other factors to bind. Passive and active roles for the pioneer factor FoxA occur in embryonic development, steroid hormone induction, and human cancers. Herein we review the field and describe how pioneer factors may enable cellular reprogramming.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Genes & development
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