Nucleus (Austin, Tex.)

Dualistic function of Daxx at centromeric and pericentromeric heterochromatin in normal and stress conditions.

PMID 22572957


Nuclear structures ND10/PML NBs are linked to multiple processes, including the maintenance of intranuclear homeostasis by sequestering proteins into "nuclear depot." This function presumes release of proteins from PML NBs and their redistribution to the alternative, supposedly "active" locations, in response to the external stress application. To further investigate this nuclear depot function, we focused on the intranuclear distribution of protein Daxx that in normal conditions is mainly accumulated at PML NBs, and has a minor association with centromeres and pericentromeres (CEN/periCEN). Here we report that application of physiological Heat Shock (HS) changes this balance forcing very robust and reversible accumulation of Daxx on CEN/periCEN heterochromatin.   Heterochromatin architecture is essential for the proper orchestration of nuclear processes, while transcription from this part of genome is required for its maintenance. To understand functional consequences of Daxx deposition at CEN/periCEN, we tested for Daxx-dependency of heterochromatin transcription. Depletion of Daxx reduces accumulation of CEN RNA in normal conditions and periCEN RNA after HS application. Searching for the mechanism of Daxx-dependent regulation of heterochromatin transcription, we found that depletion of Daxx decreases incorporation of transcription-associated histone H3 variant, H3.3, into both CEN and periCEN. Surprisingly, HS-induced deposition of Daxx does not further elevate incorporation of H3.3 into CEN/periCEN that remained steady during stress and recovery. Instead, depletion of Daxx leads to HS-induced changes in the balance of epigenetic modifications at heterochromatin, most dramatically elevating levels of active H3K4Me2 modification at periCEN. We propose dualistic function of Daxx-containing complexes at CEN/periCEN: (1) regulation of H3.3 loading in normal conditions and (2) protection of epigenetic status upon stress-induced accumulation, thus collectively guarding epigenetic identity of CEN/periCEN heterochromatin.