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Multivalent Peptide Ligands To Probe the Chromocenter Microenvironment in Living Cells


Guidotti, Nora; Eördögh, Ádám; Mivelaz, Maxime; Rivera-Fuentes, Pablo; Fierz, Beat (2023). Multivalent Peptide Ligands To Probe the Chromocenter Microenvironment in Living Cells. ACS Chemical Biology, 18(5):1066-1075.

Abstract

Chromatin is spatially organized into functional states that are defined by both the presence of specific histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) and a defined set of chromatin-associated “reader” proteins. Different models for the underlying mechanism of such compartmentalization have been proposed, including liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) of chromatin-associated proteins to drive spatial organization. Heterochromatin, characterized by lysine 9 methylation on histone H3 (H3K9me3) and the presence of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) as a multivalent reader, represents a prime example of a spatially defined chromatin state. Heterochromatin foci exhibit features of protein condensates driven by LLPS; however, the exact nature of the physicochemical environment within heterochromatin in different cell types is not completely understood. Here we present tools to interrogate the environment of chromatin subcompartments in the form of modular, cell-permeable, multivalent, and fluorescent peptide probes. These probes can be tuned to target specific chromatin states by providing binding sites to reader proteins and can thereby integrate into the PTM-reader interaction network. Here we generate probes specific to HP1, directing them to heterochromatin at chromocenters in mouse fibroblasts. Moreover, we use a polarity-sensing photoactivatable probe that photoconverts to a fluorescent state in phase-separated protein droplets and thereby reports on the local microenvironment. Equipped with this dye, our probes indeed turn fluorescent in murine chromocenters. Image analysis and single-molecule tracking experiments reveal that the compartments are less dense and more dynamic than HP1 condensates obtained in vitro. Our results thus demonstrate that the local organization of heterochromatin in chromocenters is internally more complex than an HP1 condensate.

Abstract

Chromatin is spatially organized into functional states that are defined by both the presence of specific histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) and a defined set of chromatin-associated “reader” proteins. Different models for the underlying mechanism of such compartmentalization have been proposed, including liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) of chromatin-associated proteins to drive spatial organization. Heterochromatin, characterized by lysine 9 methylation on histone H3 (H3K9me3) and the presence of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) as a multivalent reader, represents a prime example of a spatially defined chromatin state. Heterochromatin foci exhibit features of protein condensates driven by LLPS; however, the exact nature of the physicochemical environment within heterochromatin in different cell types is not completely understood. Here we present tools to interrogate the environment of chromatin subcompartments in the form of modular, cell-permeable, multivalent, and fluorescent peptide probes. These probes can be tuned to target specific chromatin states by providing binding sites to reader proteins and can thereby integrate into the PTM-reader interaction network. Here we generate probes specific to HP1, directing them to heterochromatin at chromocenters in mouse fibroblasts. Moreover, we use a polarity-sensing photoactivatable probe that photoconverts to a fluorescent state in phase-separated protein droplets and thereby reports on the local microenvironment. Equipped with this dye, our probes indeed turn fluorescent in murine chromocenters. Image analysis and single-molecule tracking experiments reveal that the compartments are less dense and more dynamic than HP1 condensates obtained in vitro. Our results thus demonstrate that the local organization of heterochromatin in chromocenters is internally more complex than an HP1 condensate.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Biochemistry
Life Sciences > Molecular Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:Molecular Medicine, General Medicine, Biochemistry
Language:English
Date:21 April 2023
Deposited On:20 Feb 2024 08:51
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:American Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN:1554-8929
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1021/acschembio.2c00203
PubMed ID:35447032
Project Information:
  • : FunderEPFL
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID801572
  • : Project TitleHDPROBES - Photoactivatable Sensors and Blinking Dyes for Live-Cell, Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)