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.
Chromatin dynamics modulate DNA repair factor accessibility throughout the DNA damage response. The spatiotemporal scale upon which these dynamics occur render them invisible to live cell imaging. Here we present a believed novel assay to monitor the in vivo structural rearrangements of chromatin during DNA repair. By pair correlation analysis of EGFP molecular flow into chromatin before and after damage, this assay measures millisecond variations in chromatin compaction with submicron resolution. Combined with laser microirradiation we employ this assay to monitor the real-time accessibility of DNA at the damage site. We find from comparison of EGFP molecular flow with a molecule that has an affinity toward double-strand breaks (Ku-EGFP) that DNA damage induces a transient decrease in chromatin compaction at the damage site and an increase in compaction to adjacent regions, which together facilitate DNA repair factor recruitment to the lesion with high spatiotemporal control.
Cohesin is an essential multiprotein complex that mediates sister chromatid cohesion critical for proper segregation of chromosomes during cell division. Cohesin is also involved in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. In mammalian cells, cohesin is involved in both DSB repair and the damage checkpoint response, though the relationship between these two functions is unclear. Two cohesins differing by one subunit (SA1 or SA2) are present in somatic cells, but their functional specificities with regard to DNA repair remain enigmatic. We found that cohesin-SA2 is the main complex co-recruited with the cohesin-loading factor NIPBL to DNA damage sites in an S/G2 phase-specific manner. Replacing the diverged C-terminal region of SA1 with the corresponding region of SA2 confers this activity on SA1. Depletion of SA2, but not SA1, decreased sister chromatid homologous recombination repair and affected repair pathway choice, indicating that DNA repair activity is specifically associated with cohesin recruited to damage sites. In contrast, both cohesin complexes function in the intra-S checkpoint, indicating that cell cycle-specific damage site accumulation is not prerequisite for cohesins intra-S checkpoint function. Our findings reveal the unique ways in which cohesin-SA1 and cohesin-SA2 participate in the DNA damage response, coordinately protecting genome integrity in human cells.
Nitric oxide (NO) donors have been shown to improve wound healing, but the mechanism is not well defined. Here we show that the novel NO donor nitrosyl-cobinamide (NO-Cbi) improved in vitro wound healing in several cell types, including an established line of lung epithelial cells and primary human lung fibroblasts. On a molar basis, NO-Cbi was more effective than two other NO donors, with the effective NO-Cbi concentration ranging from 3 to 10?M, depending on the cell type. Improved wound healing was secondary to increased cell migration and not cell proliferation. The wound healing effect of NO-Cbi was mediated by cGMP, mainly through cGMP-dependent protein kinase type I (PKGI), as determined using pharmacological inhibitors and activators, and siRNAs targeting PKG type I and II. Moreover, we found that Src and ERK were two downstream mediators of NO-Cbis effect. We conclude that NO-Cbi is a potent inducer of cell migration and wound closure, acting via cGMP, PKG, Src, and extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK).
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.
Although the PR-Set7/Set8/KMT5a histone H4 Lys 20 monomethyltransferase (H4K20me1) plays an essential role in mammalian cell cycle progression, especially during G2/M, it remained unknown how PR-Set7 itself was regulated. In this study, we discovered the mechanisms that govern the dynamic regulation of PR-Set7 during mitosis, and that perturbation of these pathways results in defective mitotic progression. First, we found that PR-Set7 is phosphorylated at Ser 29 (S29) specifically by the cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (cdk1)/cyclinB complex, primarily from prophase through early anaphase, subsequent to global accumulation of H4K20me1. While S29 phosphorylation did not affect PR-Set7 methyltransferase activity, this event resulted in the removal of PR-Set7 from mitotic chromosomes. S29 phosphorylation also functions to stabilize PR-Set7 by directly inhibiting its interaction with the anaphase-promoting complex (APC), an E3 ubiquitin ligase. The dephosphorylation of S29 during late mitosis by the Cdc14 phosphatases was required for APC(cdh1)-mediated ubiquitination of PR-Set7 and subsequent proteolysis. This event is important for proper mitotic progression, as constitutive phosphorylation of PR-Set7 resulted in a substantial delay between metaphase and anaphase. Collectively, we elucidated the molecular mechanisms that control PR-Set7 protein levels during mitosis, and demonstrated that its orchestrated regulation is important for normal mitotic progression.
We present a simple and efficient method for controlled linear induction of DNA damage in live cells. By passing a pulsed laser beam through a cylindrical lens prior to expansion, an elongated elliptical beam profile is created with the ability to expose controlled linear patterns while keeping the beam and the sample stationary. The length and orientation of the beam at the sample plane were reliably controlled by an adjustable aperture and rotation of the cylindrical lens, respectively. Localized immunostaining by the DNA double strand break (DSB) markers phosphorylated H2AX (gamma H2AX) and Nbs1 in the nuclei of HeLa cells exposed to the "line scissors" was shown via confocal imaging. The line scissors method proved more efficient than the scanning mirror and scanning stage methods at induction of DNA DSB damage with the added benefit of having a greater potential for high throughput applications.
HepA-related protein (HARP) (also known as SMARCAL1) is an ATP-driven annealing helicase that catalyzes the formation of dsDNA from complementary Replication protein A (RPA)-bound ssDNA. Here we find that HARP contains a conserved N-terminal motif that is necessary and sufficient for binding to RPA. This RPA-binding motif is not required for annealing helicase activity, but is essential for the recruitment of HARP to sites of laser-induced DNA damage. These findings suggest that the interaction of HARP with RPA increases the concentration of annealing helicase activity in the vicinity of ssDNA regions to facilitate processes such as DNA repair.
Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is an autosomal dominant muscular dystrophy in which no mutation of pathogenic gene(s) has been identified. Instead, the disease is, in most cases, genetically linked to a contraction in the number of 3.3 kb D4Z4 repeats on chromosome 4q. How contraction of the 4qter D4Z4 repeats causes muscular dystrophy is not understood. In addition, a smaller group of FSHD cases are not associated with D4Z4 repeat contraction (termed "phenotypic" FSHD), and their etiology remains undefined. We carried out chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis using D4Z4-specific PCR primers to examine the D4Z4 chromatin structure in normal and patient cells as well as in small interfering RNA (siRNA)-treated cells. We found that SUV39H1-mediated H3K9 trimethylation at D4Z4 seen in normal cells is lost in FSHD. Furthermore, the loss of this histone modification occurs not only at the contracted 4q D4Z4 allele, but also at the genetically intact D4Z4 alleles on both chromosomes 4q and 10q, providing the first evidence that the genetic change (contraction) of one 4qD4Z4 allele spreads its effect to other genomic regions. Importantly, this epigenetic change was also observed in the phenotypic FSHD cases with no D4Z4 contraction, but not in other types of muscular dystrophies tested. We found that HP1gamma and cohesin are co-recruited to D4Z4 in an H3K9me3-dependent and cell type-specific manner, which is disrupted in FSHD. The results indicate that cohesin plays an active role in HP1 recruitment and is involved in cell type-specific D4Z4 chromatin regulation. Taken together, we identified the loss of both histone H3K9 trimethylation and HP1gamma/cohesin binding at D4Z4 to be a faithful marker for the FSHD phenotype. Based on these results, we propose a new model in which the epigenetic change initiated at 4q D4Z4 spreads its effect to other genomic regions, which compromises muscle-specific gene regulation leading to FSHD pathogenesis.
Proper recognition and repair of DNA damage is critical for the cell to protect its genomic integrity. Laser microirradiation ranging in wavelength from ultraviolet A (UVA) to near-infrared (NIR) can be used to induce damage in a defined region in the cell nucleus, representing an innovative technology to effectively analyze the in vivo DNA double-strand break (DSB) damage recognition process in mammalian cells. However, the damage-inducing characteristics of the different laser systems have not been fully investigated. Here we compare the nanosecond nitrogen 337 nm UVA laser with and without bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), the nanosecond and picosecond 532 nm green second-harmonic Nd:YAG, and the femtosecond NIR 800 nm Ti:sapphire laser with regard to the type(s) of damage and corresponding cellular responses. Crosslinking damage (without significant nucleotide excision repair factor recruitment) and single-strand breaks (with corresponding repair factor recruitment) were common among all three wavelengths. Interestingly, UVA without BrdU uniquely produced base damage and aberrant DSB responses. Furthermore, the total energy required for the threshold H2AX phosphorylation induction was found to vary between the individual laser systems. The results indicate the involvement of different damage mechanisms dictated by wavelength and pulse duration. The advantages and disadvantages of each system are discussed.
Cohesin is an essential protein complex required for sister chromatid cohesion. Cohesin associates with chromosomes and establishes sister chromatid cohesion during interphase. During metaphase, a small amount of cohesin remains at the chromosome-pairing domain, mainly at the centromeres, whereas the majority of cohesin resides in the cytoplasm, where its functions remain unclear. We describe the mitosis-specific recruitment of cohesin to the spindle poles through its association with centrosomes and interaction with nuclear mitotic apparatus protein (NuMA). Overexpression of NuMA enhances cohesin accumulation at spindle poles. Although transient cohesin depletion does not lead to visible impairment of normal spindle formation, recovery from nocodazole-induced spindle disruption was significantly impaired. Importantly, selective blocking of cohesin localization to centromeres, which disrupts centromeric sister chromatid cohesion, had no effect on this spindle reassembly process, clearly separating the roles of cohesin at kinetochores and spindle poles. In vitro, chromosome-independent spindle assembly using mitotic extracts was compromised by cohesin depletion, and it was rescued by addition of cohesin that was isolated from mitotic, but not S phase, cells. The combined results identify a novel spindle-associated role for human cohesin during mitosis, in addition to its function at the centromere/kinetochore regions.
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) fuel cancer-driving chromosome translocations. Two related structural maintenance of chromosomes (Smc) complexes, cohesin and Smc5/6, promote DSB repair through sister chromatid homologous recombination (SCR). Here we show that the Smc5/6 subunit Mms21 sumoylates multiple lysines of the cohesin subunit Scc1. Mms21 promotes cohesin-dependent small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) accumulation at laser-induced DNA damage sites in S/G2 human cells. Cells expressing the nonsumoylatable Scc1 mutant (15KR) maintain sister chromatid cohesion during mitosis but are defective in SCR and sensitive to ionizing radiation (IR). Scc1 15KR is recruited to DNA damage sites. Depletion of Wapl, a negative cohesin regulator, rescues SCR defects of Mms21-deficient or Scc1 15KR-expressing cells. Expression of the acetylation-mimicking Smc3 mutant does not bypass the requirement for Mms21 in SCR. We propose that Scc1 sumoylation by Mms21 promotes SCR by antagonizing Wapl at a step after cohesin loading at DSBs and in a way not solely dependent on Smc3 acetylation.
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