Small noncoding RNAs that associate with Piwi proteins, called piRNAs, serve as guides for repression of diverse transposable elements in germ cells of metazoa. In Drosophila, the genomic regions that give rise to piRNAs, the so-called piRNA clusters, are transcribed to generate long precursor molecules that are processed into mature piRNAs. How genomic regions that give rise to piRNA precursor transcripts are differentiated from the rest of the genome and how these transcripts are specifically channeled into the piRNA biogenesis pathway are not known. We found that transgenerationally inherited piRNAs provide the critical trigger for piRNA production from homologous genomic regions in the next generation by two different mechanisms. First, inherited piRNAs enhance processing of homologous transcripts into mature piRNAs by initiating the ping-pong cycle in the cytoplasm. Second, inherited piRNAs induce installment of the histone 3 Lys9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) mark on genomic piRNA cluster sequences. The heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) homolog Rhino binds to the H3K9me3 mark through its chromodomain and is enriched over piRNA clusters. Rhino recruits the piRNA biogenesis factor Cutoff to piRNA clusters and is required for efficient transcription of piRNA precursors. We propose that transgenerationally inherited piRNAs act as an epigenetic memory for identification of substrates for piRNA biogenesis on two levels: by inducing a permissive chromatin environment for piRNA precursor synthesis and by enhancing processing of these precursors.
It is difficult to directly analyze carboxylic acids in complex mixtures by ambient high-voltage-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (HALDI-MS) in negative ion mode due to the low ionization efficiency of carboxylic acids.
A novel method for the detection of histamine (HIM) via the formation of a self-assembled magic number cluster with thymine (T) by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) is described. The formation of the magic number cluster [T17 + HIM + 2H](2+) shifts the MS signal of histamine to the interference-free higher mass range and the signal intensity is increased by four orders of magnitude. In addition, the formation of [T17 + HIM + 2H](2+) is highly specific to histamine compared with its metabolite and other similar biogenic amines, which may be attributed to both of its amino and imidazole groups. The linear dynamic range of the method is in the range of 1 nM-20 ?M, and the limit of detection can be as low as 0.1 nM. The feasibility of this method is further demonstrated by the quantitative analysis of histamine in a red wine sample. Since little sample preparation or separation is required before the analysis, this method provides a rapid new way for the sensitive and specific detection of histamine by MS.
DNA methylation is a conserved epigenetic gene-regulation mechanism. DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE (DRM) is a key de novo methyltransferase in plants, but how DRM acts mechanistically is poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structure of the methyltransferase domain of tobacco DRM (NtDRM) and reveal a molecular basis for its rearranged structure. NtDRM forms a functional homodimer critical for catalytic activity. We also show that Arabidopsis DRM2 exists in complex with the small interfering RNA (siRNA) effector ARGONAUTE4 (AGO4) and preferentially methylates one DNA strand, likely the strand acting as the template for RNA polymerase V-mediated noncoding RNA transcripts. This strand-biased DNA methylation is also positively correlated with strand-biased siRNA accumulation. These data suggest a model in which DRM2 is guided to target loci by AGO4-siRNA and involves base-pairing of associated siRNAs with nascent RNA transcripts.
In Arabidopsis, CHG DNA methylation is controlled by the H3K9 methylation mark through a self-reinforcing loop between DNA methyltransferase CHROMOMETHYLASE3 (CMT3) and H3K9 histone methyltransferase KRYPTONITE/SUVH4 (KYP). We report on the structure of KYP in complex with methylated DNA, substrate H3 peptide, and cofactor SAH, thereby defining the spatial positioning of the SRA domain relative to the SET domain. The methylated DNA is bound by the SRA domain with the 5mC flipped out of the DNA, while the H3(1-15) peptide substrate binds between the SET and post-SET domains, with the ?-ammonium of K9 positioned adjacent to bound SAH. These structural insights, complemented by functional data on key mutants of residues lining the 5mC and H3K9-binding pockets within KYP, establish how methylated DNA recruits KYP to the histone substrate. Together, the structures of KYP and previously reported CMT3 complexes provide insights into molecular mechanisms linking DNA and histone methylation.
Epigenetic mechanisms control gene regulation by writing, reading and erasing specific epigenetic marks. Within the context of multi-disciplinary approaches applied to investigate epigenetic regulation in diverse systems, structural biology techniques have provided insights at the molecular level of key interactions between upstream regulators and downstream effectors. The early structural efforts focused on studies at the single domain-single mark level have been rapidly extended to research at the multiple domain-multiple mark level, thereby providing additional insights into connections within the complicated epigenetic regulatory network. This review focuses on recent results from structural studies on combinatorial readout and crosstalk among epigenetic marks. It starts with an overview of multiple readout of histone marks associated with both single and dual histone tails, as well as the potential crosstalk between them. Next, this review further expands on the simultaneous readout by epigenetic modules of histone and DNA marks, thereby establishing connections between histone lysine methylation and DNA methylation at the nucleosomal level. Finally, the review discusses the role of pre-existing epigenetic marks in directing the writing/erasing of certain epigenetic marks. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Molecular mechanisms of histone modification function.
RNA-directed DNA methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana depends on the upstream synthesis of 24-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) by RNA POLYMERASE IV (Pol IV) and downstream synthesis of non-coding transcripts by Pol V. Pol V transcripts are thought to interact with siRNAs which then recruit DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE 2 (DRM2) to methylate DNA. The SU(VAR)3-9 homologues SUVH2 and SUVH9 act in this downstream step but the mechanism of their action is unknown. Here we show that genome-wide Pol V association with chromatin redundantly requires SUVH2 and SUVH9. Although SUVH2 and SUVH9 resemble histone methyltransferases, a crystal structure reveals that SUVH9 lacks a peptide-substrate binding cleft and lacks a properly formed S-adenosyl methionine (SAM)-binding pocket necessary for normal catalysis, consistent with a lack of methyltransferase activity for these proteins. SUVH2 and SUVH9 both contain SRA (SET- and RING-ASSOCIATED) domains capable of binding methylated DNA, suggesting that they function to recruit Pol V through DNA methylation. Consistent with this model, mutation of DNA METHYLTRANSFERASE 1 (MET1) causes loss of DNA methylation, a nearly complete loss of Pol V at its normal locations, and redistribution of Pol V to sites that become hypermethylated. Furthermore, tethering SUVH2 with a zinc finger to an unmethylated site is sufficient to recruit Pol V and establish DNA methylation and gene silencing. These results indicate that Pol V is recruited to DNA methylation through the methyl-DNA binding SUVH2 and SUVH9 proteins, and our mechanistic findings suggest a means for selectively targeting regions of plant genomes for epigenetic silencing.
As the novel magic number clusters of nucleobases, the thymine quintets induced by ammonium ion (NH4(+)), and particularly by its derivatives such as protonated alkyl amines and protonated aryl amines, have been studied by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The DFT-optimized geometry of NH4(+) induced thymine quintet ([T5?+?NH4](+)) reveals some new features including three additional hydrogen bonds between NH4(+) and its surrounding thymine molecules when compared with that of the alkali metal ions induced thymine quintets. In addition, the fourth hydrogen atom of NH4(+) is sticking out the assembly, and, thus, it might be replaced by an organic group R to form the protonated primary amine induced thymine quintet ([T5?+?R?-?NH3](+)), a hypothesis that has been confirmed by both DFT calculations and ESI-MS experiments. Furthermore, the relative abilities of the different protonated primary amines for inducing the thymine quintets are investigated by ESI-MS competition experiments, and the results have shown a clear trend of stronger ability as the alkyl chain gets longer or as the aryl ring gets larger for the alkyl amines or the aryl amines. Two basic influence factors are consequently identified: one is the ability of the alkyl amine to accept proton, another is the ?-? stacking interaction between the aryl ring and the ?-surface of the thymine molecule(s), whose explanations are strongly supported by multiple types of thermochemical data, various control experiments and DFT calculations.
DNA methylation occurs in CG and non-CG sequence contexts. Non-CG methylation is abundant in plants and is mediated by CHROMOMETHYLASE (CMT) and DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE (DRM) proteins; however, its roles remain poorly understood. Here we characterize the roles of non-CG methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana. We show that a poorly characterized methyltransferase, CMT2, is a functional methyltransferase in vitro and in vivo. CMT2 preferentially binds histone H3 Lys9 (H3K9) dimethylation and methylates non-CG cytosines that are regulated by H3K9 methylation. We revealed the contributions and redundancies between each non-CG methyltransferase in DNA methylation patterning and in regulating transcription. We also demonstrate extensive dependencies of small-RNA accumulation and H3K9 methylation patterning on non-CG methylation, suggesting self-reinforcing mechanisms between these epigenetic factors. The results suggest that non-CG methylation patterns are critical in shaping the landscapes of histone modification and small noncoding RNA.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that has critical roles in gene silencing, development and genome integrity. In Arabidopsis, DNA methylation is established by DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE 2 (DRM2) and targeted by 24-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) through a pathway termed RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). This pathway requires two plant-specific RNA polymerases: Pol-IV, which functions to initiate siRNA biogenesis, and Pol-V, which functions to generate scaffold transcripts that recruit downstream RdDM factors. To understand the mechanisms controlling Pol-IV targeting we investigated the function of SAWADEE HOMEODOMAIN HOMOLOG 1 (SHH1), a Pol-IV-interacting protein. Here we show that SHH1 acts upstream in the RdDM pathway to enable siRNA production from a large subset of the most active RdDM targets, and that SHH1 is required for Pol-IV occupancy at these same loci. We also show that the SHH1 SAWADEE domain is a novel chromatin-binding module that adopts a unique tandem Tudor-like fold and functions as a dual lysine reader, probing for both unmethylated K4 and methylated K9 modifications on the histone 3 (H3) tail. Finally, we show that key residues within both lysine-binding pockets of SHH1 are required in vivo to maintain siRNA and DNA methylation levels as well as Pol-IV occupancy at RdDM targets, demonstrating a central role for methylated H3K9 binding in SHH1 function and providing the first insights into the mechanism of Pol-IV targeting. Given the parallels between methylation systems in plants and mammals, a further understanding of this early targeting step may aid our ability to control the expression of endogenous and newly introduced genes, which has broad implications for agriculture and gene therapy.
A laser desorption dual spray post-ionization mass spectrometry method is described, and its usefulness is demonstrated with the examples of selective detection of food components, manipulation of protein charge state distribution and investigation on the formation of magic number clusters. The method is carried out by adopting two spray emitters for post-ionization of analytes desorbed by a pulsed infrared laser. Various components in a complex sample or distinct behavior of an analyte in two different spray reagents can be rapidly probed by the method quasi-simultaneously, highlighting the potential applications of this method for protein characterization, reaction study and food analysis.
JARID1B is a member of the JmjC/ARID family of demethylases that specifically demethylates tri- and di-methylated forms of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) that are associated with active genes. JARID1B expression is dysregulated in several cancers in which it has been implicated, but how it might affect tumor progression is unclear. In this study, we report that JARID1B is a physical component of the LSD1/NuRD complex that functions in transcriptional repression. JARID1B and LSD1 acted in a sequential and coordinated manner to demethylate H3K4. A genome-wide transcriptional analysis revealed that among the cellular signaling pathways targeted by the JARID1B/LSD1/NuRD complex is the CCL14 chemokine pathway of cell migration and angiogenesis. JARID1B repressed the expression of CCL14, an epithelial derived chemokine, suppressing the angiogenic and metastatic potential of breast cancer cells in vivo. Our findings indicate that CCL14 is a critical mediator of the JARID1B/LSD1/NuRD complex in regulation of angiogenesis and metastasis in breast cancer, identifying a novel potential therapeutic target for breast cancer intervention.
Human transducin-like enhancer of split 1 (TLE1) plays crucial roles in a number of developmental processes and is involved in pathogenesis of malignancy tumors. The N-terminal glutamine-rich domain (Q domain) of TLE1 mediates its tetramerization and interactions with different DNA-binding transcription factors to regulate Notch and Wnt signaling pathways. To better understand the molecular mechanism of TLE1s functions in these pathways, we cloned, purified, and crystallized the TLE1 Q domain (TLE1-Q). The crystals belong to space group C222(1), with the complete diffraction data of the native and Se-Met TLE1-Q collected to 3.5 and 4.1 Å resolutions, respectively. The phasing-solving and model building are in progress.
Interleukin-2 (IL)-2 signaling plays a pivotal role in the activation of immune responses, and drugs that block this pathway have been shown to be effective for the immunosuppression in patients with organ transplantation to alleviate/eliminate allograft rejection. The first humanized monoclonal antibody (mAb) daclizumab falls into this category and shows high specificity and affinity against a key component of the IL-2 receptor complex, namely IL-2R?. To reveal the molecular mechanism of the inhibition of the IL-2 signaling pathway by daclizumab, we determined the crystal structures of the daclizumab Fab in free form and in complex with the IL-2R? ectodomain at 2.6 and 2.8 Å resolution, respectively. The daclizumab Fab adopts a similar conformation in the presence or absence of the IL-2R? ectodomain. The antigen-binding site of daclizumab is mainly composed of five complementarity determining regions (CDRs) that form a large positively charged surface depression and two flanking patches that are generally hydrophobic. The conformational epitope consists of several discontinuous segments of the IL-2R? ectodomain, a large portion of which overlaps with the regions that interact with IL-2, suggesting that the binding of daclizumab to IL-2R? would prevent the IL-2 binding to IL-2R? and the subsequent formation of the IL-2/IL-2R???(c) complex, and therefore block the IL-2 signaling pathway. These results also have implications for the design and development of improved mAb drugs targeting IL-2R?.
IL-2 signaling plays a central role in the initiation and activation of immune responses. Correspondingly, blockage of this pathway leads to inhibition of the immune system and would provide some therapeutic benefits. Basiliximab (Simulect), a therapeutic mAb drug with specificity against IL-2R alpha of T cells, was approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998. It has been proven to be effective in the suppression of the IL-2 pathway and hence has been widely used to prevent allograft rejection in organ transplantation, especially in kidney transplants. In this study, we report the crystal structure of the basiliximab Fab in complex with the ectodomain of IL-2R alpha at 2.9 A resolution. In the complex structure, the Fab interacts with IL-2R alpha with extensive hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions, accounting for a high binding affinity of 0.14 nM. The Ag binding site of basiliximab consists of all six CDR loops that form a large binding interface with a central shallow hydrophobic groove surrounded by four hydrophilic patches. The discontinuous epitope is composed of several segments from the D1 domain and a minor segment from the D2 domain that overlap with most of the regions responsible for the interactions with IL-2. Thus, basiliximab binding can completely block the interactions of IL-2 with IL-2R alpha and hence inhibit the activation of the IL-2 signal pathway. The structural results also provide important implications for the development of improved and new IL-2R alpha-targeted mAb drugs.
Copper is an essential trace element to life and particularly plays a pivotal role in the physiology of aerobic organisms. The Cut protein family is associated with copper homeostasis and involved in uptake, storage, delivery, and efflux of copper. CutC is a member of the Cut family and is suggested to be involved in efflux trafficking of cuprous ion. We report here the biochemical and structural characterization of human CutC (hCutC). hCutC can bind Cu(I) with a stoichiometry of 1:1 and an apparent dissociation constant of 15.5+/-2.8 microM. hCutC assumes a typical TIM-barrel fold and forms a tetramer in both crystal structure and solution which is different from the dimeric architecture of the bacterial CutC. Structure analysis and sequence comparison of CutC proteins from different species reveal two strictly conserved Cys residues on the inner surface of the C-terminal end of the TIM-barrel. Mutations of the two Cys residues can significantly impair the binding ability of hCutC with Cu(I). Our results suggest that hCutC functions as an enzyme with Cu(I) as a cofactor rather than a copper transporter and the potential Cu(I)-binding site consists of the two Cys residues and other conserved residues in the vicinity.
Human beta-2-microglobulin (beta2m) is the light chain of human leucocyte antigen-I (HLA-I). It can disassociate from HLA-I and accumulate to cause serious dialysis-related amyloidosis (DRA) in long-term hemodialysis patients. Monoclonal antibody (mAb) BBM.1 can recognize both free-form and HLA-I associated beta2m. It can be used for specific elimination of beta2m from serum and can induce apoptosis of several types of tumor cells, and thus has great therapeutic potential. In this study, we constructed structural models of the BBM.1 Fv (fragment of the variable domain) and the BBM.1 Fv-beta2m complex, followed by biochemical evaluation. Analysis of the optimal complex model reveals that the previously identified immunodominant residues Glu(44) and Arg(45) of beta2m have direct interactions with BBM.1, while Asp(38) exerts its function mainly via stabilization of Arg(45). In addition, Arg(81) of beta2m is a newly identified immunodominant residue to have direct interaction with BBM.1. Further modeling study shows no steric conflict between the antibody and the HLA-I heavy chain. These results provide insights into the molecular basis of the recognition of beta2m by BBM.1 and explain why BBM.1 can bind both free-form and HLA-1 associated beta2m. This information could be exploited in the engineering and improvement of BBM.1 and the development of other beta2m-targeting mAbs for therapeutic purposes.
The natural product Emodin demonstrates a wide range of pharmacological properties including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferation, vasorelaxant and anti-H. pylori activities. Although its H. pylori inhibition was discovered, no acting target information against Emodin has been revealed to date.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) JFH1 efficiently replicates and produces infectious virus particles in cultured cells. We compared polymerase activity between JFH1 and 1b strains in vitro. The RNA polymerase activity of 1b was 6.4% of that of JFH1. In order to study the mechanism and identify domains responsible for the high polymerase activity of JFH1, we converted the amino acids of 1b RdRp to those of JFH1, and compared their Km, Vmax and template binding activity. Four amino acid mutations in the thumb domain of 1b RdRp, S377R, A450S, E455N and Y561F increased 1b polymerase activity, and their activity was 23.1, 45.8, 28.9, and 36.1% of JFH1, respectively. Vmax and RNA binding activity of JFH1, 1bwt and 1bA450S was JFH1 > 1bA450S > 1b, which indicated both high processivity and slightly higher template binding activity contributed to the high polymerase activity of JFH1.
CD20 is an important drug target for B-cell depletion therapy against certain B-cell lymphomas and autoimmune diseases. The success of anti-CD20 antibody drugs such as Rituximab, Ibritumomab, and Tositumomab has promoted the development of new generation of anti-CD20 antibodies for therapeutic applications. Ofatumumab is a fully human anti-CD20 antibody that is currently in phase III clinical trial for several types of malignancies and autoimmune diseases and is one of the most promising anti-CD20 drugs. Here we report the crystal structure of the Fab fragment of Ofatumumab at 2.2A resolution. The antigen combining site is composed of a large, deep pocket formed by six CDR loops. The pocket has a hydrophobic periphery and a positively charged bottom. Structure analysis and comparison with other antibodies suggest that the hydrophobic periphery might interact with the epitope on CD20 that is enriched with hydrophobic residues and very close to cell membrane, and the positively charged bottom might interact with Glu(150) of CD20 which is the only negatively charged residue within the epitope. These results provide some insights into the recognition of Ofatumumab with CD20 and explain how the antibody can recognize an epitope so close to the cell membrane.
DNA methylation and histone modification exert epigenetic control over gene expression. CHG methylation by CHROMOMETHYLASE3 (CMT3) depends on histone H3K9 dimethylation (H3K9me2), but the mechanism underlying this relationship is poorly understood. Here, we report multiple lines of evidence that CMT3 interacts with H3K9me2-containing nucleosomes. CMT3 genome locations nearly perfectly correlated with H3K9me2, and CMT3 stably associated with H3K9me2-containing nucleosomes. Crystal structures of maize CMT3 homolog ZMET2, in complex with H3K9me2 peptides, showed that ZMET2 binds H3K9me2 via both bromo adjacent homology (BAH) and chromo domains. The structures reveal an aromatic cage within both BAH and chromo domains as interaction interfaces that capture H3K9me2. Mutations that abolish either interaction disrupt CMT3 binding to nucleosomes and show a complete loss of CMT3 activity in vivo. Our study establishes dual recognition of H3K9me2 marks by BAH and chromo domains and reveals a distinct mechanism of interplay between DNA methylation and histone modification.
The retinoblastoma (Rb) protein mediates heterochromatin formation at the promoters of E2 transcription factor 1 (E2F1) target genes, such as proliferating cell nuclear antigen and cyclin A2 (CCNA2), and represses these genes during cellular senescence. However, the selectivity of Rb recruitment is still not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that a senescence-associated gene is a direct target of E2F1 and is also repressed by heterochromatin in senescent cells. In contrast, ARF and p27(KIP1), which are also E2F1 targets, are not repressed by Rb and heterochromatin formation. By comparing the promoter sequences of these genes, we found a novel TAAC element that is present in the cellular senescence-inhibited gene, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and CCNA2 promoters but absent from the ARF and p27(KIP1) promoters. This TAAC element associates with Rb and is required for Rb recruitment. We further determined that TAAC element-mediated Rb association requires the E2F1 binding site, but not E2F1 protein. These results provide a novel molecular mechanism for the different expression patterns of E2F1 targets and afford new mechanistic insight regarding the selectivity of Rb-mediated heterochromatin formation and gene repression during cellular senescence.
We describe complexation reactions of insulin and other proteins with metal ions generated from the substrate surface by laser irradiation in laser desorption spray post-ionization mass spectrometry (LDSPI-MS). This particular type of complexation reaction in LDSPI-MS was investigated for the first time, which indicated that the mechanistic process of LDSPI-MS might be much more complicated than that proposed before for similar methods.
Survivin is an inhibitor of apoptosis family protein implicated in apoptosis and mitosis. In apoptosis, it has been shown to recognize the Smac/DIABLO protein. It is also a component of the chromosomal passenger complex, a key player during mitosis. Recently, Survivin was identified in vitro and in vivo as the direct binding partner for phosphorylated Thr3 on histone H3 (H3T3ph). We have undertaken structural and binding studies to investigate the molecular basis underlying recognition of H3T3ph and Smac/DIABLO N-terminal peptides by Survivin. Our crystallographic studies establish recognition of N-terminal Ala in both complexes and identify intermolecular hydrogen-bonding interactions in the Survivin phosphate-binding pocket that contribute to H3T3ph mark recognition. In addition, our calorimetric data establish that Survivin binds tighter to the H3T3ph-containing peptide relative to the N-terminal Smac/DIABLO peptide, and this preference can be reversed through structure-guided mutations that increase the hydrophobicity of the phosphate-binding pocket.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.