DASH/Dam1 complex mutants stabilize ploidy in histone-humanized yeast by weakening kinetochore-microtubule attachments
Forcing budding yeast to chromatinize their DNA with human histones manifests an abrupt fitness cost. We previously proposed chromosomal aneuploidy and missense mutations as two potential modes of adaptation to histone humanization. Here, we show that aneuploidy in histone-humanized yeasts is specific to a subset of chromosomes that are defined by their centromeric evolutionary origins but that these aneuploidies are not adaptive. Instead, we find that a set of missense mutations in outer kinetochore proteins drives adaptation to human histones. Furthermore, we characterize the molecular mechanism underlying adaptation in two mutants of the outer kinetochore DASH/Dam1 complex, which reduce aneuploidy by suppression of chromosome instability. Molecular modeling and biochemical experiments show that these two mutants likely disrupt a conserved oligomerization interface thereby weakening microtubule attachments. We propose a model through which weakened microtubule attachments promote increased kinetochore-microtubule turnover and thus suppress chromosome instability. In sum, our data show how a set of point mutations evolved in histone-humanized yeasts to counterbalance human histone-induced chromosomal instability through weakening microtubule interactions, eventually promoting a return to euploidy.
An artificial protein translation language makes bacteria resistant to viruses
Mouse chromosomes get supersized but find their limits
A versatile platform for locus-scale genome rewriting and verification
Routine rewriting of loci associated with human traits and diseases would facilitate their functional analysis. However, existing DNA integration approaches are limited in terms of scalability and portability across genomic loci and cellular contexts. We describe Big-IN, a versatile platform for targeted integration of large DNAs into mammalian cells. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeting of a landing pad enables subsequent recombinase-mediated delivery of variant payloads and efficient positive/negative selection for correct clones in mammalian stem cells. We demonstrate integration of constructs up to 143 kb, and an approach for one-step scarless delivery. We developed a staged pipeline combining PCR genotyping and targeted capture sequencing for economical and comprehensive verification of engineered stem cells. Our approach should enable combinatorial interrogation of genomic functional elements and systematic locus-scale analysis of genome function.
Regulation of the Dot1 histone H3K79 methyltransferase by histone H4K16 acetylation
Dot1 (disruptor of telomeric silencing-1), the histone H3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase, is conserved throughout evolution, and its deregulation is found in human leukemias. Here, we provide evidence that acetylation of histone H4 allosterically stimulates yeast Dot1 in a manner distinct from but coordinating with histone H2B ubiquitination (H2BUb). We further demonstrate that this stimulatory effect is specific to acetylation of lysine 16 (H4K16ac), a modification central to chromatin structure. We provide a mechanism of this histone cross-talk and show that H4K16ac and H2BUb play crucial roles in H3K79 di- and trimethylation in vitro and in vivo. These data reveal mechanisms that control H3K79 methylation and demonstrate how H4K16ac, H3K79me, and H2BUb function together to regulate gene transcription and gene silencing to ensure optimal maintenance and propagation of an epigenetic state.
Comprehensive Scanning Mutagenesis of Human Retrotransposon LINE-1 Identifies Motifs Essential for Function
Long Interspersed Nuclear Element-1 (LINE-1, L1) is the only autonomous active transposable element in the human genome. The L1- encoded proteins ORF1p and ORF2p enable the element to jump from one locus to another via a "copy and paste" mechanism. ORF1p is an RNA-binding protein and ORF2p has endonuclease and reverse transcriptase activities. The huge number of truncated L1 remnants in the human genome suggests that the host has likely evolved mechanisms to prevent full L1 replication and thereby decrease the proliferation of active elements and reduce the mutagenic potential of L1. In turn, L1 appears to have a minimized length to increase the probability of successful full-length replication. This streamlining would be expected to lead to high information density. Here, we describe the construction and initial characterization of a library of 538 consecutive trialanine substitutions that scan along ORF1p and ORF2p to identify functionally important regions. In accordance with the streamlining hypothesis, retrotransposition was overall very sensitive to mutations in ORF1p and ORF2p, only 16% of trialanine mutants retained near-wild-type activity. All ORF1p mutants formed near-wild-type levels of mRNA transcripts and seventy-five percent formed near-wild-type levels of protein. Two ORF1p mutants present a unique nucleolar-relocalization phenotype. Regions of ORF2p that are sensitive to mutagenesis, but lack phylogenetic conservation were also identified. We provide comprehensive information on the regions most critical to retrotransposition. This resource will guide future studies of intermolecular interactions that form with RNA, proteins and target DNA throughout the L1 life cycle.
Superloser: A Plasmid Shuffling Vector for Saccharomyces cerevisiae with Exceedingly Low Background
Here we report a new plasmid shuffle vector for forcing budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to incorporate a new genetic pathway in place of a native pathway - even essential ones - while maintaining low false positive rates (less than 1 in 108 per cell). This plasmid, dubbed "Superloser", was designed with reduced sequence similarity to commonly used yeast plasmids (i.e. pRS400 series) to limit recombination, a process that in our experience leads to retention of the yeast gene(s) instead of the desired gene(s). In addition, Superloser utilizes two orthogonal copies of the counter-selectable marker URA3 to reduce spontaneous 5-fluoroorotic acid resistance. Finally, the CEN/ARS sequence is fused to the GAL1-10 promoter, which disrupts plasmid segregation in the presence of the sugar galactose, causing Superloser to rapidly be removed from a population of cells. We show one proof of concept shuffling experiment: swapping yeast's core histones out for their human counterparts. Superloser is especially useful for forcing yeast to use highly unfavorable genes, such as human histones, as it enables plating a large number of cells (1.4Ã—109) on a single 10 cm petri dish while maintaining a very low background. Therefore, Superloser is a useful tool for yeast geneticists to effectively shuffle low viability genes and/or pathways in yeast that may arise in as low as 1 in 108 cells.
Resetting the Yeast Epigenome with Human Nucleosomes
Humans and yeast are separated by a billion years ofÂ evolution, yet their conserved histones retain central roles in gene regulation. Here, we "reset" yeast to use core human nucleosomes in lieu of theirÂ own (aÂ rare event taking 20Â days), which initially only worked with variant H3.1. The cells adapt byÂ acquiring suppressor mutations in cell-division genes or by acquiring certain aneuploid states. Converting five histone residues to their yeast counterparts restored robust growth. We reveal that humanized nucleosomes are positioned according to endogenous yeast DNA sequence and chromatin-remodeling network, as judged by a yeast-like nucleosome repeat length. However, human nucleosomes have higher DNA occupancy, globally reduce RNA content, and slow adaptation to new conditions by delaying chromatin remodeling. These humanized yeasts (including H3.3) pose fundamental new questions about how chromatin is linked to many cell processes and provide a platform to study histone variants via yeast epigenome reprogramming.
Retrohoming of a Mobile Group II Intron in Human Cells Suggests How Eukaryotes Limit Group II Intron Proliferation
Mobile bacterial group II introns are evolutionary ancestors of spliceosomal introns and retroelements in eukaryotes. They consist of an autocatalytic intron RNA (a "ribozyme") and an intron-encoded reverse transcriptase, which function together to promote intron integration into new DNA sites by a mechanism termed "retrohoming". Although mobile group II introns splice and retrohome efficiently in bacteria, all examined thus far function inefficiently in eukaryotes, where their ribozyme activity is limited by low Mg2+ concentrations, and intron-containing transcripts are subject to nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) and translational repression. Here, by using RNA polymerase II to express a humanized group II intron reverse transcriptase and T7 RNA polymerase to express intron transcripts resistant to NMD, we find that simply supplementing culture medium with Mg2+ induces the Lactococcus lactis Ll.LtrB intron to retrohome into plasmid and chromosomal sites, the latter at frequencies up to ~0.1%, in viable HEK-293 cells. Surprisingly, under these conditions, the Ll.LtrB intron reverse transcriptase is required for retrohoming but not for RNA splicing as in bacteria. By using a genetic assay for in vivo selections combined with deep sequencing, we identified intron RNA mutations that enhance retrohoming in human cells, but <4-fold and not without added Mg2+. Further, the selected mutations lie outside the ribozyme catalytic core, which appears not readily modified to function efficiently at low Mg2+ concentrations. Our results reveal differences between group II intron retrohoming in human cells and bacteria and suggest constraints on critical nucleotide residues of the ribozyme core that limit how much group II intron retrohoming in eukaryotes can be enhanced. These findings have implications for group II intron use for gene targeting in eukaryotes and suggest how differences in intracellular Mg2+ concentrations between bacteria and eukarya may have impacted the evolution of introns and gene expression mechanisms.
Versatile genetic assembly system (VEGAS) to assemble pathways for expression in S. cerevisiae
We have developed a method for assembling genetic pathways for expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our pathway assembly method, called VEGAS (Versatile genetic assembly system), exploits the native capacity of S. cerevisiae to perform homologous recombination and efficiently join sequences with terminal homology. In the VEGAS workflow, terminal homology between adjacent pathway genes and the assembly vector is encoded by 'VEGAS adapter' (VA) sequences, which are orthogonal in sequence with respect to the yeast genome. Prior to pathway assembly by VEGAS in S. cerevisiae, each gene is assigned an appropriate pair of VAs and assembled using a previously described technique called yeast Golden Gate (yGG). Here we describe the application of yGG specifically to building transcription units for VEGAS assembly as well as the VEGAS methodology. We demonstrate the assembly of four-, five- and six-gene pathways by VEGAS to generate S. cerevisiae cells synthesizing beta-carotene and violacein. Moreover, we demonstrate the capacity of yGG coupled to VEGAS for combinatorial assembly.