Histone degradation after DNA damage enhances repair

Histone degradation after DNA damage enhances repair
Model of the role of histone depletion and enhanced chromatin movement and expansion in DNA repair by Homologous recombination. Credit: Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research

DNA damage can occur anywhere in the genome, but most DNA is wrapped around nucleosomes making it inaccessible to the repair machinery. Researchers from the Gasser group now show that DNA damage induces histone depletion, which increases the accessibility and flexibility of the DNA fiber and enhances the rate of homology search during repair by homologous recombination.

For several years, the Gasser group has been studying how structure changes in response to DNA damage in order to understand if and how those changes increase the rate of repair. In an earlier study, Michael Hauer, a former Ph.D. student in the Gasser lab, showed that there is both a local and a genome-wide response of chromatin to acute DNA damage, with about 30% of the histones being modified, removed and degraded genome-wide, and not only at sites of damage. This drives chromatin to be more mobile in the nucleus.

Anaïs Cheblal, a Ph.D. student in the Gasser lab built on these findings and asked whether this increase in chromatin dynamic and decompaction affects DNA repair mechanisms by homologous recombination.

In a study, which has just been published in Molecular Cell, Cheblal and colleagues highlight that histone degradation and subsequent chromatin decompaction indeed enhance DNA repair efficiency and kinetics. Cheblal summarizes the main findings: "We show that a single DNA double strand break can trigger ectopic [meaning at a distant undamaged site and not locally] chromatin decompaction through controlled degradation of histones, and that this is crucial for DNA repair by homologous recombination. We also show that local break dynamics are less important for DNA repair and can be compensated by an increase in ectopic chromatin movement, which correlates with decompaction. Moreover, we rule out a previous hypothesis suggesting that chromosome detachment from the nuclear periphery is part of the DNA damage response."

Asked about the wider impact of the study, Cheblal says: "Our study will be crucial for CRISPR-mediated gene therapies, which are currently too inefficient to be used clinically. Our findings suggest that combining this technology with appropriately upregulated factors to induce histone degradation may enhance CRISPR-Cas9 editing efficiency."

DNA by is the basic principle of CRISPR-Cas9 targeted genome editing, a technology used primarily as a research tool but also in gene therapies. Preliminary studies already show that CRISPR-Cas9 efficiency can be increased with depletion in .


Explore further

Histone degradation accompanies the DNA repair response

More information: Anaïs Cheblal et al. DNA Damage-Induced Nucleosome Depletion Enhances Homology Search Independently of Local Break Movement, Molecular Cell (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.09.002
Journal information: Molecular Cell

Citation: Histone degradation after DNA damage enhances repair (2020, September 24) retrieved 22 October 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-09-histone-degradation-dna.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
31 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments