The Drosophila kismet gene is related to chromatin-remodeling factors and is required for both segmentation and segment identity.
The Drosophila kismet gene was identified in a screen for dominant suppressors of Polycomb, a repressor of homeotic genes. Here we show that kismet mutations suppress the Polycomb mutant phenotype by blocking the ectopic transcription of homeotic genes. Loss of zygotic kismet function causes homeotic transformations similar to those associated with loss-of-function mutations in the homeotic genes Sex combs reduced and Abdominal-B. kismet is also required for proper larval body segmentation. Loss of maternal kismet function causes segmentation defects similar to those caused by mutations in the pair-rule gene even-skipped. The kismet gene encodes several large nuclear proteins that are ubiquitously expressed along the anterior-posterior axis. The Kismet proteins contain a domain conserved in the trithorax group protein Brahma and related chromatin-remodeling factors, providing further evidence that alterations in chromatin structure are required to maintain the spatially restricted patterns of homeotic gene transcription. (+info)
Gadd45, a p53-responsive stress protein, modifies DNA accessibility on damaged chromatin.
This report demonstrates that Gadd45, a p53-responsive stress protein, can facilitate topoisomerase relaxing and cleavage activity in the presence of core histones. A correlation between reduced expression of Gadd45 and increased resistance to topoisomerase I and topoisomerase II inhibitors in a variety of human cell lines was also found. Gadd45 could potentially mediate this effect by destabilizing histone-DNA interactions since it was found to interact directly with the four core histones. To evaluate this possibility, we investigated the effect of Gadd45 on preassembled mononucleosomes. Our data indicate that Gadd45 directly associates with mononucleosomes that have been altered by histone acetylation or UV radiation. This interaction resulted in increased DNase I accessibility on hyperacetylated mononucleosomes and substantial reduction of T4 endonuclease V accessibility to cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers on UV-irradiated mononucleosomes but not on naked DNA. Both histone acetylation and UV radiation are thought to destabilize the nucleosomal structure. Hence, these results imply that Gadd45 can recognize an altered chromatin state and modulate DNA accessibility to cellular proteins. (+info)
A new element within the T-cell receptor alpha locus required for tissue-specific locus control region activity.
Locus control regions (LCRs) are cis-acting regulatory elements thought to provide a tissue-specific open chromatin domain for genes to which they are linked. The gene for T-cell receptor alpha chain (TCRalpha) is exclusively expressed in T cells, and the chromatin at its locus displays differentially open configurations in expressing and nonexpressing tissues. Mouse TCRalpha exists in a complex locus containing three differentially regulated genes. We previously described an LCR in this locus that confers T-lineage-specific expression upon linked transgenes. The 3' portion of this LCR contains an unrestricted chromatin opening activity while the 5' portion contains elements restricting this activity to T cells. This tissue-specificity region contains four known DNase I hypersensitive sites, two located near transcriptional silencers, one at the TCRalpha enhancer, and another located 3' of the enhancer in a 1-kb region of unknown function. Analysis of this region using transgenic mice reveals that the silencer regions contribute negligibly to LCR activity. While the enhancer is required for complete LCR function, its removal has surprisingly little effect on chromatin structure or expression outside the thymus. Rather, the region 3' of the enhancer appears responsible for the tissue-differential chromatin configurations observed at the TCRalpha locus. This region, herein termed the "HS1' element," also increases lymphoid transgene expression while suppressing ectopic transgene activity. Thus, this previously undescribed element is an integral part of the TCRalphaLCR, which influences tissue-specific chromatin structure and gene expression. (+info)
A novel H2A/H4 nucleosomal histone acetyltransferase in Tetrahymena thermophila.
Recently, we reported the identification of a 55-kDa polypeptide (p55) from Tetrahymena macronuclei as a catalytic subunit of a transcription-associated histone acetyltransferase (HAT A). Extensive homology between p55 and Gcn5p, a component of the SAGA and ADA transcriptional coactivator complexes in budding yeast, suggests an immediate link between the regulation of chromatin structure and transcriptional output. Here we report the characterization of a second transcription-associated HAT activity from Tetrahymena macronuclei. This novel activity is distinct from complexes containing p55 and putative ciliate SAGA and ADA components and shares several characteristics with NuA4 (for nucleosomal H2A/H4), a 1.8-MDa, Gcn5p-independent HAT complex recently described in yeast. A key feature of both the NuA4 and Tetrahymena activities is their acetylation site specificity for lysines 5, 8, 12, and 16 of H4 and lysines 5 and 9 of H2A in nucleosomal substrates, patterns that are distinct from those of known Gcn5p family members. Moreover, like NuA4, the Tetrahymena activity is capable of activating transcription from nucleosomal templates in vitro in an acetyl coenzyme A-dependent fashion. Unlike NuA4, however, sucrose gradient analyses of the ciliate enzyme, following sequential denaturation and renaturation, estimate the molecular size of the catalytically active subunit to be approximately 80 kDa, consistent with the notion that a single polypeptide or a stable subcomplex is sufficient for this H2A/H4 nucleosomal HAT activity. Together, these data document the importance of this novel HAT activity for transcriptional activation from chromatin templates and suggest that a second catalytic HAT subunit, in addition to p55/Gcn5p, is conserved between yeast and Tetrahymena. (+info)
Stable remodeling of tailless nucleosomes by the human SWI-SNF complex.
The histone N-terminal tails have been shown previously to be important for chromatin assembly, remodeling, and stability. We have tested the ability of human SWI-SNF (hSWI-SNF) to remodel nucleosomes whose tails have been cleaved through a limited trypsin digestion. We show that hSWI-SNF is able to remodel tailless mononucleosomes and nucleosomal arrays, although hSWI-SNF remodeling of tailless nucleosomes is less effective than remodeling of nucleosomes with tails. Analogous to previous observations with tailed nucleosomal templates, we show both (i) that hSWI-SNF-remodeled trypsinized mononucleosomes and arrays are stable for 30 min in the remodeled conformation after removal of ATP and (ii) that the remodeled tailless mononucleosome can be isolated on a nondenaturing acrylamide gel as a novel species. Thus, nucleosome remodeling by hSWI-SNF can occur via interactions with a tailless nucleosome core. (+info)
Differential regulation of the human nidogen gene promoter region by a novel cell-type-specific silencer element.
Transfection analyses of the human nidogen promoter region in nidogen-producing fibroblasts from adult skin revealed multiple positive and negative cis-acting elements controlling nidogen gene expression. Characterization of the positive regulatory domains by gel mobility-shift assays and co-transfection studies in Drosophila SL2 cells unequivocally demonstrated that Sp1-like transcription factors are essential for a high expression of the human nidogen gene. Analysis of the negative regulatory domains identified a novel silencer element between nt -1333 and -1322, which is bound by a distinct nuclear factor, by using extracts from adult but not from embryonal fibroblasts. In embryonal fibroblasts, which express significantly higher amounts of nidogen mRNA as compared with adult fibroblasts, this inhibitory nidogen promoter region did not affect nidogen and SV40 promoter activities. The silencer element seems to be active only in nidogen-producing cells. Therefore this regulatory element might function in vivo to limit nidogen gene expression in response to external stimuli. However, none of the identified regulatory elements, including the silencer, contribute significantly to cell-specific expression of the human nidogen gene. Instead we provide evidence that gene expression in epidermal keratinocytes that are not producing nidogen is repressed by methylation-specific and chromatin-dependent mechanisms. (+info)
Histone octamer transfer by a chromatin-remodeling complex.
RSC, an abundant, essential chromatin-remodeling complex related to SWI/SNF complex, catalyzes the transfer of a histone octamer from a nucleosome core particle to naked DNA. The newly formed octamer-DNA complex is identical with a nucleosome in all respects. The reaction requires ATP and involves an activated RSC-nucleosome intermediate. The mechanism may entail formation of a duplex displacement loop on the nucleosome, facilitating the entry of exogeneous DNA and the release of the endogenous molecule. (+info)
Differential transcriptional activity associated with chromatin configuration in fully grown mouse germinal vesicle oocytes.
It was previously shown that fully grown ovarian germinal vesicle (GV) oocytes of adult mice exhibit several nuclear configurations that differ essentially by the presence or absence of a ring of condensed chromatin around the nucleolus. These configurations have been termed, respectively, SN (surrounded nucleolus) and NSN (nonsurrounded nucleolus). Work from our and other laboratories has revealed ultrastructural and functional differences between these two configurations. The aims of the present study were 1) to analyze the equilibrium between the SN and the NSN population as a function of the age of the mice and the time after hCG-induced ovulation and 2) to study the polymerase I (pol I)- and polymerase II (pol II)-dependent transcription in both types of oocytes through the detection of bromouridine incorporated into nascent RNA. We show 1) that ovarian GV oocytes exhibiting the SN-type configuration can be found as soon as 17 days after birth in the C57/CBA mouse strain and 2) that the SN:NSN ratio of ovarian GV oocytes is very low just after hCG-induced ovulation and then increases progressively with the time after ovulation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the SN configuration correlates strictly with the arrest of both pol I- and pol II-dependent transcription in mice at any age. Finally, we show that ribosomal genes are located at the outer periphery of the nucleolus in the NSN configuration and that pol I-dependent perinucleolar transcription sites correspond to specific ultrastructural features of the nucleolus. Altogether, these results provide clear-cut criteria delineating transcriptionally active GV oocytes from those that are inactive, and confirm that the SN-type configuration is mostly present in preovulatory oocytes. (+info)