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Marion Crespo

Multi-omic analysis of histone lysine acylations during gametogenesis

Published on 17 December 2019
Thesis presented December 17, 2019

The innovative aspect of this project lies in the study of acylations at lysine 27 from histone H3 (H3K27), conventionally studied in a methylated or an acetylated form. We performed this work on meiotic and post-meiotic mouse germ cells. Spermiogenesis, which involves a specific expression program as well as a fine regulation of transcription, is a process that is particularly well suited to understanding the roles of new histone modifications. This work combines the use of four different omics approaches, namely proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics and ChIP- sequencing to decipher the regulation of acylations on H3K27.
In the first part of this project, we explored the dynamics of acetylation and crotonylation on histone lysines during the processes of yeast sporulation and mouse spermatogenesis, which allowed us to highlight in particular crotonylated H3K27. Its accumulation on the histone variant H3.3 and its important stoichiometry compared to the acetylated form H3K27ac in mouse post-meiotic germ cells led us to study the genomic distribution of this mark by ChIP-seq analysis. The comparative analysis of H3K27ac and H3K27cr revealed a synergy between the presence of these acylations at both promoters and distal enhancers, suggesting a possible alternation of the two marks to regulate transcription. At the promoter level, we observed an increase of these modifications between the meiotic and post-meiotic stages upstream of the genes characteristic of spermiogenesis. In addition, the simultaneous presence of the two marks coincides with the co-localization of several transcriptional regulators specific for this process (SLY, SOX30) and of chromatin-binding proteins (BRD4, BORIS and CTCF), whereas a binding selectivity is observed when H3K27ac and H3K27cr are identified alone at promoters. Interestingly, we observe similar results at enhancers as well as super-enhancers, confirming that the regulation of transcription is modulated by the alternative presence of these two acylations.
The second part of my thesis focused on the study of the possible propionylation and butyrylation of H3K27 during yeast sporulation and mouse spermatogenesis. However, this part proved to be full of surprises because the MS/MS analyses and the comparison with the corresponding synthetic peptides did not make it possible to validate a propionylation and a butyrylation on H3K27. It turned out that the modifications observed on H3K27 from mouse histones were strictly isobaric with these known modifications, but of a different nature, since they are more hydrophilic. Several hypotheses were tested in order to determine the structure of these modifications, but at the time of finalizing this manuscript, we have not found out what it is all about.
My PhD work contributes further to the idea of a dynamics between acetylation and acylations on lysine residues at the origin of the differential binding of chromatin-binding proteins responsible for regulating transcription. It also highlighted an important role of H3K27crat enhancers which are not classically considered in studies aiming at understanding the roles of new acylations.

Spermatogenesis, histone acylations, acyls-CoA, transcription regulatory factors, promoters, enhancers, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, genomics