The Mechanism and Regulation of Chromatin Remodeling by ISWI Family Enzymes

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The Mechanism and Regulation of Chromatin Remodeling by ISWI Family Enzymes

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Title: The Mechanism and Regulation of Chromatin Remodeling by ISWI Family Enzymes
Author: Hwang, William Liang
Citation: Hwang, William Liang. 2013. The Mechanism and Regulation of Chromatin Remodeling by ISWI Family Enzymes. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Eukaryotic genomes are packaged as chromatin, which restricts access to the DNA by critical processes such as DNA replication, repair, and transcription. As a result, eukaryotic cells rely on ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes (remodelers) to alter the position, structure, and composition of nucleosomes. Understanding the mechanism and regulation of remodeling requires detailed information about transient intermediates of the remodeling process--a challenge ideally suited for single-molecule approaches. In particular, we use single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) to measure nanometer-scale distance changes between strategically placed donor and acceptor dyes to monitor nucleosome translocation in real-time. The mechanism(s) by which remodelers use the free energy of ATP hydrolysis to disrupt histone-DNA contacts and reposition nucleosomes are not well understood. Using smFRET, we show that remodeling by ISWI enzymes begins with a 7 base-pair (bp) step followed by subsequent 3 bp steps toward the exit-side of the nucleosome. These multi-bp steps are actually compound steps composed of 1 bp elementary steps. We discover that DNA movement on the entry side lags behind exit side translocation, which is contrary to previously proposed models. Based on our results, we propose a new integrated mechanism for nucleosome translocation by ISWI enzymes. In the physiological context, remodelers are highly regulated. We study the regulation of human ACF, a prototypical ISWI complex, by critical features of the nucleosomal substrate. First, we dissect how the nucleosome translocation cycle is affected by the linker DNA length and histone H4 tail. Next, we introduce mutations/deletions into conserved enzyme domains to determine the mechanism by which linker length information sensed by the Acfl accessory subunit is allosterically transmitted to the Snf2h catalytic subunit. Interestingly, we find that Acfl modulates the activity of Snf2h indirectly by interacting with the H4 tail in a linker-length dependent fashion. While the majority of our experiments focus on observing changes in nucleosome position, we also develop strategies for site-specific labeling of ISWI enzymes and demonstrate their use in the study of dynamic enzyme-substrate interactions and enzyme conformational changes.
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