Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is one of the most prevalent muscular dystrophies. The majority of FSHD cases are linked to a decreased copy number of D4Z4 macrosatellite repeats on chromosome 4q (FSHD1). Less than 5% of FSHD cases have no repeat contraction (FSHD2), most of which are associated with mutations of SMCHD1. FSHD is associated with the transcriptional derepression of DUX4 encoded within the D4Z4 repeat, and SMCHD1 contributes to its regulation. We previously found that the loss of heterochromatin mark (i.e., histone H3 lysine 9 tri-methylation (H3K9me3)) at D4Z4 is a hallmark of both FSHD1 and FSHD2. However, whether this loss contributes to DUX4 expression was unknown. Furthermore, additional D4Z4 homologs exist on multiple chromosomes, but they are largely uncharacterized and their relationship to 4q/10q D4Z4 was undetermined. We found that the suppression of H3K9me3 results in displacement of SMCHD1 at D4Z4 and increases DUX4 expression in myoblasts. The DUX4 open reading frame (ORF) is disrupted in D4Z4 homologs and their heterochromatin is unchanged in FSHD. The results indicate the significance of D4Z4 heterochromatin in DUX4 gene regulation and reveal the genetic and epigenetic distinction between 4q/10q D4Z4 and the non-4q/10q homologs, highlighting the special role of the 4q/10q D4Z4 chromatin and the DUX4 ORF in FSHD.
High-throughput sequencing coupled to chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-Seq) is widely used in characterizing genome-wide binding patterns of transcription factors, cofactors, chromatin modifiers, and other DNA binding proteins. A key step in ChIP-Seq data analysis is to map short reads from high-throughput sequencing to a reference genome and identify peak regions enriched with short reads. Although several methods have been proposed for ChIP-Seq analysis, most existing methods only consider reads that can be uniquely placed in the reference genome, and therefore have low power for detecting peaks located within repeat sequences. Here, we introduce a probabilistic approach for ChIP-Seq data analysis that utilizes all reads, providing a truly genome-wide view of binding patterns. Reads are modeled using a mixture model corresponding to K enriched regions and a null genomic background. We use maximum likelihood to estimate the locations of the enriched regions, and implement an expectation-maximization (E-M) algorithm, called AREM (aligning reads by expectation maximization), to update the alignment probabilities of each read to different genomic locations. We apply the algorithm to identify genome-wide binding events of two proteins: Rad21, a component of cohesin and a key factor involved in chromatid cohesion, and Srebp-1, a transcription factor important for lipid/cholesterol homeostasis. Using AREM, we were able to identify 19,935 Rad21 peaks and 1,748 Srebp-1 peaks in the mouse genome with high confidence, including 1,517 (7.6%) Rad21 peaks and 227 (13%) Srebp-1 peaks that were missed using only uniquely mapped reads. The open source implementation of our algorithm is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/arem.
The ?-globin locus undergoes dynamic chromatin interaction changes in differentiating erythroid cells that are thought to be important for proper globin gene expression. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. The CCCTC-binding factor, CTCF, binds to the insulator elements at the 5 and 3 boundaries of the locus, but these sites were shown to be dispensable for globin gene activation. We found that, upon induction of differentiation, cohesin and the cohesin loading factor Nipped-B-like (Nipbl) bind to the locus control region (LCR) at the CTCF insulator and distal enhancer regions as well as at the specific target globin gene that undergoes activation upon differentiation. Nipbl-dependent cohesin binding is critical for long-range chromatin interactions, both between the CTCF insulator elements and between the LCR distal enhancer and the target gene. We show that the latter interaction is important for globin gene expression in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, the results indicate that such cohesin-mediated chromatin interactions associated with gene regulation are sensitive to the partial reduction of Nipbl caused by heterozygous mutation. This provides the first direct evidence that Nipbl haploinsufficiency affects cohesin-mediated chromatin interactions and gene expression. Our results reveal that dynamic Nipbl/cohesin binding is critical for developmental chromatin organization and the gene activation function of the LCR in mammalian cells.
Condensin I is important for chromosome organization and segregation in mitosis. We previously showed that condensin I also interacts with PARP1 in response to DNA damage and plays a role in single-strand break repair. However, whether condensin I physically associates with DNA damage sites and how PARP1 may contribute to this process were unclear. We found that condensin I is preferentially recruited to DNA damage sites enriched for base damage. This process is dictated by PARP1 through its interaction with the chromosome-targeting domain of the hCAP-D2 subunit of condensin I.
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