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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Nov 1;40(20):10150-60. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks813. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Cell-cycle-regulated control of VSG expression site silencing by histones and histone chaperones ASF1A and CAF-1b in Trypanosoma brucei.

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1
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.

Abstract

Antigenic variation in African trypanosomes involves monoallelic expression and reversible silencing of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) genes found adjacent to telomeres in polycistronic expression sites (ESs). We assessed the impact on ES silencing of five candidate essential chromatin-associated factors that emerged from a genome-wide RNA interference viability screen. Using this approach, we demonstrate roles in VSG ES silencing for two histone chaperones. Defects in S-phase progression in cells depleted for histone H3, or either chaperone, highlight in particular the link between chromatin assembly and DNA replication control. S-phase checkpoint arrest was incomplete, however, allowing G2/M-specific VSG ES derepression following knockdown of histone H3. In striking contrast, knockdown of anti-silencing factor 1A (ASF1A) allowed for derepression at all cell cycle stages, whereas knockdown of chromatin assembly factor 1b (CAF-1b) revealed derepression predominantly in S-phase and G2/M. Our results support a central role for chromatin in maintaining VSG ES silencing. ASF1A and CAF-1b appear to play constitutive and DNA replication-dependent roles, respectively, in the recycling and assembly of chromatin. Defects in these functions typically lead to arrest in S-phase but defective cells can also progress through the cell cycle leading to nucleosome depletion and derepression of telomeric VSG ESs.

PMID:
22941664
PMCID:
PMC3488249
DOI:
10.1093/nar/gks813
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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