Publication — IRIC

Panspecies small-molecule disruptors of heterochromatin-mediated transcriptional gene silencing.

Heterochromatin underpins gene repression, genome integrity, and chromosome segregation. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, conserved protein complexes effect heterochromatin formation via RNA interference-mediated recruitment of a histone H3 lysine 9 methyltransferase to cognate chromatin regions. To identify small molecules that inhibit heterochromatin formation, we performed an in vivo screen for loss of silencing of a dominant selectable kanMX reporter gene embedded within fission yeast centromeric heterochromatin. Two structurally unrelated compounds, HMS-I1 and HMS-I2, alleviated kanMX silencing and decreased repressive H3K9 methylation levels at the transgene. The decrease in methylation caused by HMS-I1 and HMS-I2 was observed at all loci regulated by histone methylation, including centromeric repeats, telomeric regions, and the mating-type locus, consistent with inhibition of the histone deacetylases (HDACs) Clr3 and/or Sir2. Chemical-genetic epistasis and expression profiles revealed that both compounds affect the activity of the Clr3-containing Snf2/HDAC repressor complex (SHREC). In vitro HDAC assays revealed that HMS-I1 and HMS-I2 inhibit Clr3 HDAC activity. HMS-I1 also alleviated transgene reporter silencing by heterochromatin in Arabidopsis and a mouse cell line, suggesting a conserved mechanism of action. HMS-I1 and HMS-I2 bear no resemblance to known inhibitors of chromatin-based activities and thus represent novel chemical probes for heterochromatin formation and function.

Publication date
February 15, 2015
Principal Investigators
Castonguay E, White SA, Kagansky A, St-Cyr DJ, Castillo AG, Brugger C, White R, Bonilla C, Spitzer M, Earnshaw WC, Schalch T, Ekwall K, Tyers M, Allshire RC
PubMed reference
Mol. Cell. Biol. 2015;35(4):662-74
PubMed ID
25487573
Affiliation
Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, Institute of Cell Biology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.