AuthorsBennett, Gwendolyn M.
Faculty AdvisorCraig Peterson, PhD
Academic ProgramInterdisciplinary Graduate Program
UMass Chan AffiliationsProgram in Molecular Medicine
Document TypeDoctoral Dissertation
Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
Double-Stranded DNA Breaks
Non-Histone Chromosomal Proteins
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology
Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Genetics and Genomics
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractDNA double-strand break (DSB) repair is essential for maintenance of genome stability. However, the compaction of the eukaryotic genome into chromatin creates an inherent barrier to any DNA-mediated event, such as during DNA repair. This demands that there be mechanisms to modify the chromatin structure and thus access DNA. Recent work has implicated a host of chromatin regulators in the DNA damage response and several functional roles have been defined. Yet the mechanisms that control their recruitment to DNA lesions, and their relationship with concurrent histone modifications, remain unclear. We find that efficient DSB recruitment of many yeast chromatin regulators is cell-cycle dependent. Furthering this, we find recruitment of the INO80, SWR-C, NuA4, SWI/SNF, and RSC enzymes is inhibited by the non-homologous end joining machinery, and that their recruitment is controlled by early steps of homologous recombination. Strikingly, we find no significant role for H2A.X phosphorylation (γH2AX) in the recruitment of chromatin regulators, but rather that their recruitment coincides with reduced levels of γH2AX. We go on to determine the chromatin remodeling enzyme Fun30 functions in histone dynamics surround a DSB, but does not significantly affect γH2AX dynamics. Additionally, we describe a conserved functional interaction among the chromatin remodeling enzyme, SWI/SNF, the NuA4 and Gcn5 histone acetyltransferases, and phosphorylation of histone H2A.X. Specifically, we find that the NuA4 and Gcn5 enzymes are both required for the robust recruitment of SWI/SNF to a DSB, which in turn promotes the phosphorylation of H2A.X.
Permanent Link to this Itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14038/32104
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Dissecting cis and trans Determinants of Nucleosome Positioning: A DissertationHughes, Amanda L. (2014-11-14)Eukaryotic DNA is packaged in chromatin, whose repeating subunit, the nucleosome, consists of an octamer of histone proteins wrapped by about 147bp of DNA. This packaging affects the accessibility of DNA and hence any process that occurs on DNA, such as replication, repair, and transcription. An early observation from genome-wide nucleosome mapping in yeast was that genes had a surprisingly characteristic structure, which has motivated studies to understand what determines this architecture. Both sequence and trans acting factors are known to influence chromatin packaging, but the relative contributions of cis and trans determinants of nucleosome positioning is debated. Here we present data using genetic approaches to examine the contributions of cis and trans acting factors on nucleosome positioning in budding yeast. We developed the use of yeast artificial chromosomes to exploit quantitative differences in the chromatin structures of different yeast species. This allows us to place approximately 150kb of sequence from any species into the S.cerevisiae cellular environment and compare the nucleosome positions on this same sequence in different environments to discover what features are variant and hence regulated by trans acting factors. This method allowed us to conclusively show that the great preponderance of nucleosomes are positioned by trans acting factors. We observe the maintenance of nucleosome depletion over some promoter sequences, but partial fill-in of NDRs in some of the YAC v promoters indicates that even this feature is regulated to varying extents by trans acting factors. We are able to extend our use of evolutionary divergence in order to search for specific trans regulators whose effects vary between the species. We find that a subset of transcription factors can compete with histones to help generate some NDRs, with clear effects documented in a cbf1 deletion mutant. In addition, we find that Chd1p acts as a potential “molecular ruler” involved in defining the nucleosome repeat length differences between S.cerevisiae and K.lactis. The mechanism of this measurement is unclear as the alteration in activity is partially attributable to the N-terminal portion of the protein, for which there is no structural data. Our observations of a specialized chromatin structure at de novo transcriptional units along with results from nucleosome mapping in the absence of active transcription indicate that transcription plays a role in engineering genic nucleosome architecture. This work strongly supports the role of trans acting factors in setting up a dynamic, regulated chromatin structure that allows for robustness and fine-tuning of gene expression.
The Shape of Silence: The Solution-State Conformation of Sir Heterochromatin: A DissertationSwygert, Sarah G. (2015-08-20)Heterochromatin is a silenced chromatin region essential for maintaining genomic stability in eukaryotes and for driving developmental processes in higher organisms. A hallmark of heterochromatin is the presence of specialized architectural proteins that alter chromatin structure to inhibit transcription and recombination. Although it is generally assumed that heterochromatin is highly condensed, surprisingly little is known about the structure of heterochromatin or its dynamics in solution. In budding yeast, heterochromatin assembly at telomeres and the HM silent mating type loci requires the Sir proteins: Sir3, believed to be the major structural component of SIR heterochromatin, and the Sir2/4 complex, responsible for SIR recruitment to silencing regions and deacetylation of lysine 16 of the histone H4 tail, a mark associated with active chromatin. A combination of sedimentation velocity, atomic force microscopy, and nucleosomal array capture was used to characterize the stoichiometry and conformation of SIR nucleosomal arrays. The results indicate that Sir3 interacts with nucleosomal arrays with a stoichiometry of two Sir3 monomers per nucleosome, and that Sir2/4 may additionally bind at a ratio of one per nucleosome. Despite Sir3’s ability to repress transcription in vivo and homologous recombination in vitro in the absence of Sir2/4, Sir3 fibers were found to be significantly less compact than canonical magnesium-induced 30 nanometer fibers. However, heterochromatin fibers composed of all three Sir proteins did adopt a more condensed, globular structure. These results suggest that heterochromatic silencing is mediated both by the creation of more stable nucleosomes and by the steric exclusion of external factors.
XIST and CoT-1 Repeat RNAs are Integral Components of a Complex Nuclear Scaffold Required to Maintain SAF-A and Modify Chromosome Architecture: A DissertationKolpa, Heather J. (2016-04-08)XIST RNA established the precedent for a noncoding RNA that stably associates with and regulates chromatin, however it remains poorly understood how such RNAs structurally associate with the interphase chromosome territory. I demonstrate that transgenic XIST RNA localizes in cis to an autosome as it does to the inactive X chromosome, hence the RNA recognizes a structure common to all chromosomes. I reassess the prevalent thinking in the field that a single protein, Scaffold Attachment Factor-A (SAF-A/hnRNP U), provides a single molecule bridge required to directly tether the RNA to DNA. In an extensive series of experiments in multiple cell types, I examine the effects of SAF-A depletion or different SAF-A mutations on XIST RNA localization, and I force XIST RNA retention at mitosis to examine the effect on SAF-A. I find that SAF-A is not required to localize XIST RNA but is one of multiple proteins involved, some of which frequently become lost or compromised in cancer. I additionally examine SAF-A’s potential role localizing repeat-rich CoT-1 RNA, a class of abundant RNAs that we show tightly and stably localize to euchromatic interphase chromosome territories, but release upon disruption of the nuclear scaffold. Overall, findings suggest that instead of “tethering” chromosomal RNAs to the scaffold, SAF-A is one component of a multi-component matrix/scaffold supporting interphase nuclear architecture. Results indicate that Cot-1 and XIST RNAs form integral components of this scaffold and are required to maintain the chromosomal association of SAF-A, substantially advancing understanding of how chromatin-associated RNAs contribute to nuclear structure.