Section 11
Chapter 10,454

Developmentally-regulated interaction of a transcription factor complex containing CDP/cut with the early histone H3 gene promoter of the sea urchin Tetrapygus niger is associated with changes in chromatin structure and gene expression

Medina, R.; Paredes, R.; Puchi, M.; Imschenetzky, M.; Montecino, M.

Gene 272(1-2): 237-248


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-1119
PMID: 11470530
DOI: 10.1016/s0378-1119(01)00534-0
Accession: 010453188

During sea urchin embryogenesis the early histone genes are temporally expressed to accommodate the high demand for histone proteins during DNA replication at early cleavage stages of development. The early histone genes are transcriptionally active from the 16-cell stage, reaching a peak in expression at the 128-cell stage that gradually decreases until expression is completely inhibited at the late blastula stage. We are studying the gene regulatory mechanisms that control early histone gene expression in sea urchins to understand the interrelationships between chromatin remodeling and transcriptional activation during development. Here, we have investigated chromatin organization and transcription factor interactions by analyzing nuclease hypersensitivity and protein binding in the promoter region of the early histone H3 gene from the sea urchin Tetrapygus niger. We have found a DNase I hypersensitive domain centered at -90 in the early histone H3 gene promoter which is only detected in embryos at the 128-cell stage expressing high levels of early histone H3 mRNA. This hypersensitive site (-110 to -70) encompasses two regulatory elements (TnH3NFH3.1 and TnH3CCAAT). The -94 to -77 region of the histone H3 promoter is recognized by a transcription factor complex in nuclear extracts from 128-cell embryos. Methylation interference analysis and competition studies demonstrated a specific interaction at the CCAAT sequence. Using specific antibodies we find that the homeodomain transcription factor CDP/cut is the DNA-binding component of the complex interacting with the early histone H3 gene promoter in T. niger. Our results provide further evidence for the functional role of CDP/cut in developmental regulation of histone gene expression in phylogenetically diverse eukaryotic species.

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