Abstract: The spatial organization of metazoan genomes has a direct influence on fundamental nuclear processes that include transcription, replication, and DNA repair. It is imperative to understand the mechanisms that shape the 3D organization of the eukaryotic genomes. Chromatin insulators have emerged as one of the central components of the genome organization tool-kit across species. Recent advancements in chromatin conformation capture technologies have provided important insights into the architectural role of insulators in genomic structuring. Insulators are involved in 3D genome organization at multiple spatial scales and are important for dynamic reorganization of chromatin structure during reprogramming and differentiation. In this review, we will discuss the classical view and our renewed understanding of insulators as global genome organizers. We will also discuss the plasticity of chromatin structure and its re-organization during pluripotency and differentiation andin situations of cellular stress.
Abstract: Paternally expressed Insulin-like Growth Factor II (IGF2) encodes a gene whose protein product functions as a potent growth mitogen. Overexpression of IGF2 has been implicated in a wide number of disorders and diseases. IGF2 is regulated in part by differential methylation of the two parentally derived alleles. The differentially methylated region (DMR) located upstream of the imprinted promoters of IGF2 exhibits plasticity under environmental stress and is hypomethylated in several types of cancer. Through bisulfite pyrosequencing and confirmation by nucleotide sequencing, we discovered a CpG to CpC transversion that results in hypomethylation of one of the three CpGs comprising this DMR. The presence of the polymorphism introduces a genetic rather than an environmentally-driven epigenetic source of hypomethylation that is additive to non-genetic sources.
Abstract: Histones are a major component of chromatin, the nucleoprotein complex fundamental to regulating transcription, facilitating cell division, and maintaining genome integrity in almost all eukaryotes. In addition to canonical, replication-dependent histones, replication-independent histone variants exist in most eukaryotes. In recent years, steady progress has been made in understanding how histone variants assemble, their involvement in development, mitosis, transcription, and genome repair. In this review, we will focus on the localization of the major histone variants H3.3, CENP-A, H2A.Z, and macroH2A, as well as how these variants have evolved, their structural differences, and their functional significance in vivo.
Abstract: Recent investigations on 3D chromatin folding revealed that the eukaryote genomes are both highly compartmentalized and extremely dynamic. This review presents the most recent advances in topological domains’ organization of the eukaryote genomes and discusses the relationship to chromatin loop formation. CTCF protein appears as a central factor of these two organization levels having either a strong insulating role at TAD borders, or a weaker architectural role in chromatin loop formation. TAD borders directly impact on chromatin dynamics by restricting contacts within specific genomic portions thus confining chromatin loop formation within TADs. We discuss how sub-TAD chromatin dynamics, constrained into a recently described statistical helix conformation, can produce functional interactions by contact stabilization.
Abstract: Xanthomonas albilineans is the bacterium responsible for leaf scald, a lethal disease of sugarcane. Within the Xanthomonas genus, X. albilineans exhibits distinctive genomic characteristics including the presence of significant genome erosion, a non-ribosomal peptide synthesis (NRPS) locus involved in albicidin biosynthesis, and a type 3 secretion system (T3SS) of the Salmonella pathogenicity island-1 (SPI-1) family. We sequenced two X. albilineans-like strains isolated from unusual environments, i.e., from dew droplets on sugarcane leaves and from the wild grass Paspalum dilatatum, and compared these genomes sequences with those of two strains of X. albilineans and three of Xanthomonas sacchari. Average nucleotide identity (ANI) and multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) showed that both X. albilineans-like strains belong to a new species close to X. albilineans that we have named “Xanthomonas pseudalbilineans”. X. albilineans and “X. pseudalbilineans” share many genomic features including (i) the lack of genes encoding a hypersensitive response and pathogenicity type 3 secretion system (Hrp-T3SS), and (ii) genome erosion that probably occurred in a common progenitor of both species. Our comparative analyses also revealed specific genomic features that may help X. albilineans interact with sugarcane, e.g., a PglA endoglucanase, three TonB-dependent transporters and a glycogen metabolism gene cluster. Other specific genomic features found in the “X. pseudalbilineans” genome may contribute to its fitness and specific ecological niche.
Abstract: Histone variants are an important part of the histone contribution to chromatin epigenetics. In this review, we describe how the known structural differences of these variants from their canonical histone counterparts impart a chromatin signature ultimately responsible for their epigenetic contribution. In terms of the core histones, H2A histone variants are major players while H3 variant CenH3, with a controversial role in the nucleosome conformation, remains the genuine epigenetic histone variant. Linker histone variants (histone H1 family) haven’t often been studied for their role in epigenetics. However, the micro-heterogeneity of the somatic canonical forms of linker histones appears to play an important role in maintaining the cell-differentiated states, while the cell cycle independent linker histone variants are involved in development. A picture starts to emerge in which histone H2A variants, in addition to their individual specific contributions to the nucleosome structure and dynamics, globally impair the accessibility of linker histones to defined chromatin locations and may have important consequences for determining different states of chromatin metabolism.