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Histone H3 globular domain acetylation identifies a new class of enhancers

Abstract

Histone acetylation is generally associated with active chromatin, but most studies have focused on the acetylation of histone tails. Various histone H3 and H4 tail acetylations mark the promoters of active genes1. These modifications include acetylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27ac), which blocks Polycomb-mediated trimethylation of H3K27 (H3K27me3)2. H3K27ac is also widely used to identify active enhancers3,4, and the assumption has been that profiling H3K27ac is a comprehensive way of cataloguing the set of active enhancers in mammalian cell types. Here we show that acetylation of lysine residues in the globular domain of histone H3 (lysine 64 (H3K64ac) and lysine 122 (H3K122ac)) marks active gene promoters and also a subset of active enhancers. Moreover, we find a new class of active functional enhancers that is marked by H3K122ac but lacks H3K27ac. This work suggests that, to identify enhancers, a more comprehensive analysis of histone acetylation is required than has previously been considered.

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Figure 1: Genomic distribution of H3K122ac and H3K64ac.
Figure 2: H3K122ac and H3K64ac mark active enhancers in mESCs.
Figure 3: In vitro enhancer assays.
Figure 4: In vivo function of group 2 enhancers in gene regulation.
Figure 5: H3K122ac marks at K562 enhancers.

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Gene Expression Omnibus

Sequence Read Archive

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Acknowledgements

We thank R. Illingworth, R. Young and P. Tropberger for discussions, U. Basu (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) for sharing mapped RNA-seq data from Exosc3−/− mESCs and S. Qi (Stanford University) for sharing a CRISPR gRNA plasmid backbone. This work was supported by the Medical Research Council UK and by European Research Council advanced grant 249956 (W.A.B.). Work in the laboratory of R.S. is supported by the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM), the Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR, CoreAc), La Ligue National Contre La Cancer (Equipe Labellise) and INSERM Plan Cancer (Epigénetique et Cancer).

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

M.M.P., Y.K., G.O. and G.C.A.T. performed the experiments. M.M.P. and G.R.G. analyzed data. R.S. provided valuable reagents and discussion. M.M.P. and W.A.B. conceived the project, designed experiments and wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to writing, read the manuscript and provided feedback.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Madapura M Pradeepa or Wendy A Bickmore.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Integrated supplementary information

Supplementary Figure 1 Histone marks across mESC ChromHMM segmentations.

Enrichment values for H3K27me3, input, H3K27ac, H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3K122ac and H3K64ac ChIP-seq reads from mESCs across 11 ChromHMM segmentations.

Supplementary Figure 2 Biological replicates of ChIP-seq data from mESCs.

Related to Figures 2d and 4a. Reads per 10 million (RP10M) ChIP-seq data from mESCs for two biological replicates of H3K27ac, H3K64ac and H3K122ac, along with H3K4me1, across the genetically defined enhancer upstream of Nanog (Nanog en), the super-enhancer downstream of Klf4 (Klf4 SE), an enhancer 57 kb upstream of Foxd3 (Foxd3 57k en) and an enhancer 30 kb upstream of Tbx3 (Tbx3 30k en). Genome coordinates are from the NCBI37/mm9 assembly of the mouse genome. DNase I–hypersensitive sites (DHSs) and ChromHMM segmentation (Supplementary Fig. 1) for these coordinates are shown below (dark yellow, strong enhancers; yellow, weak enhancers; red, active promoters; purple, poised promoters; green, transcription elongation; gray, heterochromatin).

Supplementary Figure 3 Gene ontology analysis of enhancer subgroups.

(a) GREAT analysis shows Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment (–log10 P value) of biological processes enriched for genes associated with group 1 and group 2 enhancers. (b) Similar to a except that group 2 enhancers are subdivided into H3K27me3+ and H3K27me3 enhancers.

Supplementary Figure 4 Transcription factor and unmethylated CpG island enrichment for enhancer subgroups.

(a) RSAT analysis of transcription factor motifs over-represented in group 2 enhancers versus group 1 enhancers. (b) Log2-transformed odds ratios (Fisher’s exact test) for enrichment of unmethylated CGIs across three groups of enhancers along with the two subgroups of group 2 enhancers: first with H3K27me3 peaks (H3K27me3+) and second without H3K27me3 peaks (H3K27me3). (c) Log2-transformed odds ratios showing proteins differentially enriched at group 1 and 2 enhancer loci (analyzed from ENCODE ChIP-seq data) in K562 cells.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–4 and Supplementary Tables 1–6. (PDF 572 kb)

Supplementary Data 1

Related to Figure 2a,b, BED file containing genomic coordinates of three groups of enhancers. (XLSX 1523 kb)

Supplementary Data 2

Related to Figure 5c,d, BED files for the subgroups of enhancers in K562 cells. (XLSX 2245 kb)

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Pradeepa, M., Grimes, G., Kumar, Y. et al. Histone H3 globular domain acetylation identifies a new class of enhancers. Nat Genet 48, 681–686 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/ng.3550

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