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H2A O-GlcNAcylation at serine 40 functions genomic protection in association with acetylated H2AZ or γH2AX

Hayakawa, K., Hirosawa, M., Tani, R. et al.

Background
We have previously reported a novel O-GlcNAc modification at serine 40 (S40) of H2A (H2AS40Gc). S40-type H2A isoforms susceptible to O-GlcNAcylation are evolutionarily new and restricted to the viviparous animals; however, the biological function of H2AS40Gc is largely unknown. H2A isoforms are consisted of S40 and alanine 40 (A40) type and this residue on H2A is located in the L1 of the globular domain, which is also known as a variable portion that distinguishes between the canonical and non-canonical H2A variants. In this study, by considering the similarity between the S40-type H2A and histone H2A variants, we explored the function of H2AS40Gc in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs).

Results
We found several similarities between the S40-type H2A isoforms and histone H2A variants such H2AZ and H2AX. mRNA of S40-type H2A isoforms (H2A1 N and H2A3) had a poly(A) tail and was produced throughout the cell cycle in contrast to that of A40-type. Importantly, H2AS40Gc level increased owing to chemical-induced DNA damage, similar to phosphorylated H2AX (γH2AX) and acetylated H2AZ (AcH2AZ). H2AS40Gc was accumulated at the restricted area (± 1.5 kb) of DNA damage sites induced by CRISPR/CAS9 system in contrast to accumulation of γH2AX, which was widely scattered. Overexpression of the wild-type (WT) H2A3, but not the S40 to A40 mutation (S40A-mutant), protected the mESC genome against chemical-induced DNA damage. Furthermore, 3 h after the DNA damage treatment, the genome was almost recovered in WT mESCs, whereas the damage advanced further in the S40A-mutant mESCs, suggesting functions of H2AS40Gc in the DNA repair mechanism. Furthermore, the S40A mutant prevented the accumulation of the DNA repair apparatus such as DNA-PKcs and Rad51 at the damage site. Co-immunoprecipitation experiment in WT and S40A-mutant mESCs revealed that H2AS40Gc physiologically bound to AcH2AZ at the initial phase upon DNA damage, followed by binding with γH2AX during the DNA damage repair process.

Conclusions
These data suggest that H2AS40Gc functions to maintain genome integrity through the DNA repair mechanism in association with AcH2AZ and γH2AX.

Citation

Hayakawa, K., Hirosawa, M., Tani, R. et al. "H2A O-GlcNAcylation at serine 40 functions genomic protection in association with acetylated H2AZ or γH2AX" Epigenetics and Chromatin (2017): doi: 10.1186/s13072-017-0157-x