Showing 1 - 12 of 12 results
An optogenetic switch for the Set2 methyltransferase provides evidence for transcription-dependent and -independent dynamics of H3K36 methylation.
Histone H3 lysine 36 methylation (H3K36me) is a conserved histone modification associated with transcription and DNA repair. Although the effects of H3K36 methylation have been studied, the genome-wide dynamics of H3K36me deposition and removal are not known. We established rapid and reversible optogenetic control for Set2, the sole H3K36 methyltransferase in yeast, by fusing the enzyme with the light-activated nuclear shuttle (LANS) domain. Light activation resulted in efficient Set2-LANS nuclear localization followed by H3K36me3 deposition in vivo, with total H3K36me3 levels correlating with RNA abundance. Although genes showed disparate levels of H3K36 methylation, relative rates of H3K36me3 accumulation were largely linear and consistent across genes, suggesting that H3K36me3 deposition occurs in a directed fashion on all transcribed genes regardless of their overall transcription frequency. Removal of H3K36me3 was highly dependent on the demethylase Rph1. However, the per-gene rate of H3K36me3 loss weakly correlated with RNA abundance and followed exponential decay, suggesting H3K36 demethylases act in a global, stochastic manner. Altogether, these data provide a detailed temporal view of H3K36 methylation and demethylation that suggests transcription-dependent and -independent mechanisms for H3K36me deposition and removal, respectively.
Photoactivatable RNA N6 -Methyladenosine Editing with CRISPR-Cas13.
RNA has important and diverse biological roles, but the molecular methods to manipulate it spatiotemporally are limited. Here, an engineered photoactivatable RNA N6 -methyladenosine (m6 A) editing system with CRISPR-Cas13 is designed to direct specific m6 A editing. Light-inducible heterodimerizing proteins CIBN and CRY2PHR are fused to catalytically inactive PguCas13 (dCas13) and m6 A effectors, respectively. This system, referred to as PAMEC, enables the spatiotemporal control of m6 A editing in response to blue light. Further optimization of this system to create a highly efficient version, known as PAMECR , allows the manipulation of multiple genes robustly and simultaneously. When coupled with an upconversion nanoparticle film, the optogenetic operation window is extended from the visible range to tissue-penetrable near-infrared wavelengths, which offers an appealing avenue to remotely control RNA editing. These results show that PAMEC is a promising optogenetic platform for flexible and efficient targeting of RNA, with broad applicability for epitranscriptome engineering, imaging, and future therapeutic development.
A Light-Inducible Strain for Genome-Wide Histone Turnover Profiling in Neurospora crassa.
In chromatin, nucleosomes are composed of about 146 base pairs of DNA wrapped around a histone octamer, and are highly dynamic structures subject to remodeling and exchange. Histone turnover has previously been implicated in various processes including regulation of chromatin accessibility, segregation of chromatin domains, and dilution of histone marks. Histones in different chromatin environments may turnover at different rates, possibly with functional consequences.Neurospora crassasports a chromatin environment that is more similar to that of higher eukaryotes than yeasts, which have been utilized in the past to explore histone exchange. We constructed a simple light-inducible system to profile histone exchange in N. crassaon a 3xFLAG-tagged histone H3 under the control of the rapidly inducible vvdpromoter. After induction with blue light, incorporation of tagged H3 into chromatin occurred within 20 minutes. Previous studies of histone turnover involved considerably longer incubation periods and relied on a potentially disruptive change of medium for induction. We used this reporter to explore replication-independent histone turnover at genes and examine changes in histone turnover at heterochromatin domains in different heterochromatin mutant strains. In euchromatin, H3-3xFLAG patterns were almost indistinguishable from that observed in wild type in all mutant backgrounds tested, suggesting that loss of heterochromatin machinery has little effect on histone turnover in euchromatin. However, turnover at heterochromatin domains increased with loss of H3K9me3 or HP1, but did not depend on DNA methylation. Our reporter strain provides a simple yet powerful tool to assess histone exchange across multiple chromatin contexts.
The histone H4 basic patch regulates SAGA-mediated H2B deubiquitylation and histone acetylation.
Histone H2B monoubiquitylation (H2Bub1) has central functions in multiple DNA-templated processes, including gene transcription, DNA repair, and replication. H2Bub1 also is required for the trans-histone regulation of H3K4 and H3K79 methylation. Although previous studies have elucidated the basic mechanisms that establish and remove H2Bub1, we have only an incomplete understanding of how H2Bub1 is regulated. We report here that the histone H4 basic patch regulates H2Bub1. Yeast cells with arginine-to-alanine mutations in the H4 basic patch (H42RA) exhibited significant loss of global H2Bub1. H42RA mutant yeast strains also displayed chemotoxin sensitivities similar to, but less severe than, strains containing a complete loss of H2Bub1. We found that the H4 basic patch regulates H2Bub1 levels independently of interactions with chromatin remodelers and separately from its regulation of H3K79 methylation. To measure H2B ubiquitylation and deubiquitination kinetics in vivo, we used a rapid and reversible optogenetic tool, the light-inducible nuclear exporter (LINX), to control the subcellular location of the H2Bub1 E3-ligase, Bre1. The ability of Bre1 to ubiquitylate H2B was unaffected in the H42RA mutant. In contrast, H2Bub1 deubiquitination by SAGA-associated Ubp8, but not by Ubp10, increased in the H42RA mutant. Consistent with a function for the H4 basic patch in regulating SAGA deubiquitinase activity, we also detected increased SAGA-mediated histone acetylation in H4 basic patch mutants. Our findings uncover that the H4 basic patch has a regulatory function in SAGA-mediated histone modifications.
An optogenetic switch for the Set2 methyltransferase provides evidence for rapid transcription-dependent and independent dynamics of H3K36 methylation.
Background Histone H3 lysine 36 methylation (H3K36me) is a conserved histone modification associated with transcription and DNA repair. Although the effects of H3K36 methylation have been studied, the genome-wide dynamics of H3K36me deposition and removal are not known.
Results We established rapid and reversible optogenetic control for Set2, the sole H3K36 methyltransferase in yeast, by fusing the enzyme with the light activated nuclear shuttle (LANS) domain. Early H3K36me3 dynamics identified rapid methylation in vivo, with total H3K36me3 levels correlating with RNA abundance. Although genes exhibited disparate levels of H3K36 methylation, relative rates of H3K36me3 accumulation were largely linear and consistent across genes, suggesting a rate-limiting mechanism for H3K36me3 deposition. Removal of H3K36me3 was also rapid and highly dependent on the demethylase Rph1. However, the per-gene rate of H3K36me3 loss weakly correlated with RNA abundance and followed exponential decay, suggesting H3K36 demethylases act in a global, stochastic manner.
Conclusion Altogether, these data provide a detailed temporal view of H3K36 methylation and demethylation that suggest transcription-dependent and independent mechanisms for H3K36me deposition and removal, respectively.
LADL: light-activated dynamic looping for endogenous gene expression control.
Mammalian genomes are folded into tens of thousands of long-range looping interactions. The cause-and-effect relationship between looping and genome function is poorly understood, and the extent to which loops are dynamic on short time scales remains an unanswered question. Here, we engineer a new class of synthetic architectural proteins for directed rearrangement of the three-dimensional genome using blue light. We target our light-activated-dynamic-looping (LADL) system to two genomic anchors with CRISPR guide RNAs and induce their spatial colocalization via light-induced heterodimerization of cryptochrome 2 and a dCas9-CIBN fusion protein. We apply LADL to redirect a stretch enhancer (SE) away from its endogenous Klf4 target gene and to the Zfp462 promoter. Using single-molecule RNA-FISH, we demonstrate that de novo formation of the Zfp462-SE loop correlates with a modest increase in Zfp462 expression. LADL facilitates colocalization of genomic loci without exogenous chemical cofactors and will enable future efforts to engineer reversible and oscillatory loops on short time scales.
Engineering Improved Photoswitches for the Control of Nucleocytoplasmic Distribution.
Optogenetic techniques use light-responsive proteins to study dynamic processes in living cells and organisms. These techniques typically rely on repurposed naturally occurring light-sensitive proteins to control sub-cellular localization and activity. We previously engineered two optogenetic systems, the Light Activated Nuclear Shuttle (LANS) and the Light-Inducible Nuclear eXporter (LINX), by embedding nuclear import or export sequence motifs into the C-terminal helix of the light-responsive LOV2 domain of Avena sativa phototropin 1, thus enabling light-dependent trafficking of a target protein into and out of the nucleus. While LANS and LINX are effective tools, we posited that mutations within the LOV2 hinge-loop, which connects the core PAS domain and the C-terminal helix, would further improve the functionality of these switches. Here, we identify hinge-loop mutations that favourably shift the dynamic range (the ratio of the on- to off-target subcellular accumulation) of the LANS and LINX photoswitches. We demonstrate the utility of these new optogenetic tools to control gene transcription and epigenetic modifications, thereby expanding the optogenetic 'tool kit' for the research community.
Engineered anti-CRISPR proteins for optogenetic control of CRISPR-Cas9.
Anti-CRISPR proteins are powerful tools for CRISPR-Cas9 regulation; the ability to precisely modulate their activity could facilitate spatiotemporally confined genome perturbations and uncover fundamental aspects of CRISPR biology. We engineered optogenetic anti-CRISPR variants comprising hybrids of AcrIIA4, a potent Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 inhibitor, and the LOV2 photosensor from Avena sativa. Coexpression of these proteins with CRISPR-Cas9 effectors enabled light-mediated genome and epigenome editing, and revealed rapid Cas9 genome targeting in human cells.
Epigenetic Editing of Ascl1 Gene in Neural Stem Cells by Optogenetics.
Enzymes involved in epigenetic processes such as methyltransferases or demethylases are becoming highly utilized for their persistent DNA or histone modifying efficacy. Herein, we have developed an optogenetic toolbox fused to the catalytic domain (CD) of DNA-methyltransferase3A (DNMT3A-CD) or Ten-Eleven Dioxygenase-1 (TET1-CD) for loci-specific alteration of the methylation state at the promoter of Ascl1 (Mash1), a candidate proneuron gene. Optogenetical protein pairs, CRY2 linked to DNMT3A-CD or TET1-CD and CIB1 fused to a Transcription Activator-Like Element (TALE) locating an Ascl1 promoter region, were designed for site specific epigenetic editing. A differentially methylated region at the Ascl1 promoter, isolated from murine dorsal root ganglion (hypermethylated) and striated cells (hypomethylated), was targeted with these optogenetic-epigenetic constructs. Optimized blue-light illumination triggered the co-localization of TALE constructs with DNMT3A-CD or TET1-CD fusion proteins at the targeted site of the Ascl1 promoter. We found that this spatiotemporal association of the fusion proteins selectively alters the methylation state and also regulates gene activity. This proof of concept developed herein holds immense promise for the ability to regulate gene activity via epigenetic modulation with spatiotemporal precision.
Optogenetic regulation of site-specific subtelomeric DNA methylation.
Telomere length homeostasis, critical for chromosomal integrity and genome stability, is controlled by intricate molecular regulatory machinery that includes epigenetic modifications. Here, we examine site-specific and spatiotemporal alteration of the subtelomeric methylation of CpG islands using optogenetic tools to understand the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms of telomere length maintenance. Human DNA methyltransferase3A (DNMT3A) were assembled selectively at chromosome ends by fusion to cryptochrome 2 protein (CRY2) and its interacting complement, the basic helix loop helix protein-1 (CIB1). CIB1 was fused to the telomere-associated protein telomere repeat binding factor-1 (TRF1), which localized the protein complex DNMT3A-CRY2 at telomeric regions upon excitation by blue-light monitored by single-molecule fluorescence analyses. Increased methylation was achieved selectively at subtelomeric CpG sites on the six examined chromosome ends specifically after blue-light activation, which resulted in progressive increase in telomere length over three generations of HeLa cell replications. The modular design of the fusion constructs presented here allows for the selective substitution of other chromatin modifying enzymes and for loci-specific targeting to regulate the epigenetic pathways at telomeres and other selected genomic regions of interest.
Light-induced nuclear export reveals rapid dynamics of epigenetic modifications.
We engineered a photoactivatable system for rapidly and reversibly exporting proteins from the nucleus by embedding a nuclear export signal in the LOV2 domain from phototropin 1. Fusing the chromatin modifier Bre1 to the photoswitch, we achieved light-dependent control of histone H2B monoubiquitylation in yeast, revealing fast turnover of the ubiquitin mark. Moreover, this inducible system allowed us to dynamically monitor the status of epigenetic modifications dependent on H2B ubiquitylation.
Optical control of mammalian endogenous transcription and epigenetic states.
The dynamic nature of gene expression enables cellular programming, homeostasis and environmental adaptation in living systems. Dissection of causal gene functions in cellular and organismal processes therefore necessitates approaches that enable spatially and temporally precise modulation of gene expression. Recently, a variety of microbial and plant-derived light-sensitive proteins have been engineered as optogenetic actuators, enabling high-precision spatiotemporal control of many cellular functions. However, versatile and robust technologies that enable optical modulation of transcription in the mammalian endogenous genome remain elusive. Here we describe the development of light-inducible transcriptional effectors (LITEs), an optogenetic two-hybrid system integrating the customizable TALE DNA-binding domain with the light-sensitive cryptochrome 2 protein and its interacting partner CIB1 from Arabidopsis thaliana. LITEs do not require additional exogenous chemical cofactors, are easily customized to target many endogenous genomic loci, and can be activated within minutes with reversibility. LITEs can be packaged into viral vectors and genetically targeted to probe specific cell populations. We have applied this system in primary mouse neurons, as well as in the brain of freely behaving mice in vivo to mediate reversible modulation of mammalian endogenous gene expression as well as targeted epigenetic chromatin modifications. The LITE system establishes a novel mode of optogenetic control of endogenous cellular processes and enables direct testing of the causal roles of genetic and epigenetic regulation in normal biological processes and disease states.