Epigenome replication and transcription controlling gene expression

July 17, 2023

Epicentral model to explain inheritance and expression of epigenetic information

Researchers at RIKEN BDR and RIKEN CSRS has elucidated the mechanism of how histone acetylation modifications, which carry epigenetic information, are "read" and "written" by enzymes and how they self-renew.
The genomic DNA of eukaryotic cells is condensed in structures called nucleosomes, and the epigenome controls which gene nucleosomes are unwound before their transcription.

In this study, we used structural biology and biochemistry methods to analyze the functions of histone acetylases, p300 and CBP. p300/CBP recognizes the acetylated state of the N-terminal tail of histone H4 (read), and the histone H2B and histone H3 in the same nucleosome acetylates (writes) the N-terminal tails of histone H2B and histone H3, which are present in the same nucleosome. Furthermore, we proposed an "epicentral model" that succinctly explains how the acetylation modification of histones leads to self-renewal and transcription of specific genes.

The results of this research are expected to lead to a better understanding of the principles of inheritance and expression of the epigenetic information required for the transcription of specific genes in eukaryotic cells.

Original article
Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-39735-4
M. Kikuchi, S. Morita, M. Wakamori, S. Sato, T. Uchikubo-Kamo, T. Suzuki, N. Dohmae, M. Shirouzu, T. Umehara,
"Epigenetic mechanisms to propagate histone acetylation by p300/CBP".
Naoshi Dohmae
Unit Leader
Biomolecular Characterization Unit