The Journal of biological chemistry

Regulation of angiogenesis by histone chaperone HIRA-mediated incorporation of lysine 56-acetylated histone H3.3 at chromatin domains of endothelial genes.

PMID 21041298


Angiogenesis is critically dependent on endothelial cell-specific transcriptional mechanisms. However, the molecular processes that regulate chromatin domains and thereby dictate transcription of key endothelial genes are poorly understood. Here, we report that, in endothelial cells, angiogenic signal-mediated transcriptional induction of Vegfr1 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1) is dependent on the histone chaperone, HIRA (histone cell cycle regulation-defective homolog A). Our molecular analyses revealed that, in response to angiogenic signals, HIRA is induced in endothelial cells and mediates incorporation of lysine 56 acetylated histone H3.3 (H3acK56) at the chromatin domain of Vegfr1. HIRA-mediated incorporation of H3acK56 is a general mechanism associated with transcriptional induction of several angiogenic genes in endothelial cells. Depletion of HIRA inhibits H3acK56 incorporation and transcriptional induction of Vegfr1 and other angiogenic genes. Our functional analyses revealed that depletion of HIRA abrogates endothelial network formation on Matrigel and inhibits angiogenesis in an in vivo Matrigel plug assay. Furthermore, analysis in a laser-induced choroidal neovascularization model showed that depletion of HIRA significantly inhibits neovascularization. Our results for the first time decipher a histone chaperone (HIRA)-dependent molecular mechanism in endothelial gene regulation and indicate that histone chaperones could be new targets for angiogenesis therapy.