Chromatin remodelling proteins support a variety of cellular functions and utilise the energy from ATP hydrolysis to either reposition or evict nucleosomes. One such protein, Lymphoid specific helicase (LSH), regulates DNA methylation in mammalian cells cooperatively with DNA Methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) through binding of the N-terminal domain of LSH. The correct functioning of LSH is essential for heterochromatin formation, with a knockout of LSH causing perinatal lethality or severe developmental abnormalities. There is little biochemical data and no structural data on LSH. Therefore, we aim to determine the structural characteristics and regulatory mechanism of LSH in vitro. LSH was expressed in an optimised insect cell system which increased protein yield 25-fold with greater than 95% purity. LSH is monomeric with increased thermal stability upon ATP or ADP binding. Full length LSH could not be crystallised therefore a core ATPase region of LSH missing the N-terminal domain was identified through limited proteolysis. This also provided evidence the N-terminal domain of LSH is disordered, which was proven through biophysical characterisation of LSH1-176. Expression of the LSH ATPase region was weak and the protein was unstable; suggesting the N-terminal domain of LSH is required for LSH stability. Therefore, complementary structural methods were used to study LSH. Crosslinking mass-spectrometry revealed the N and C termini are in close proximity, suggesting flexible linking regions, which was supported by limited proteolysis experiments. Negative staining Electron Microscopy defined LSH as a tri-lobal and elongated structure which could harbour the ATPase region in the two spherical lobes. 3D modelling of SAXS data obtained of LSH was in agreement with EM data. To understand molecular mechanisms of LSH, functional studies investigating LSH:DNA and LSH:DNMT3B interactions were performed. LSH had a KD for dsDNA of 0.4 μM in solution. LSH does not bind ssDNA nor does it have a greater affinity for methylated dsDNA. LSH was found to bind the dsDNA overhangs of nucleosomes but not to core nucleosomes, suggesting LSH solely interacts with DNA in chromatin and not histones. A stable complex of LSH:DNMT3B could not be achieved in vitro, however, other components for complex formation may have been missing. This study has improved our understanding of LSH structure, biophysical properties and its biochemical interaction with DNA and nucleosomes. This study has laid the foundations for the structural investigations of a LSH:nucleosome and potentially a LSH:DNMT3B complex in vitro to gain a greater understanding of how functional domains of LSH regulates its enzymatic function.
|Award date||30 Nov 2017|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Apr 2018|