Target of rapamycin signaling regulates high mobility group protein association to chromatin, which functions to suppress necrotic cell death

Hongfeng Chen, Jason J. Workman, Alexa Tenga, Ronald Laribee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1) is an evolutionarily conserved signal transduction pathway activated by environmental nutrients that regulates gene transcription to control cell growth and proliferation. How TORC1 modulates chromatin structure to control gene expression, however, is largely unknown. Because TORC1 is a major transducer of environmental information, defining this process has critical implications for both understanding environmental effects on epigenetic processes and the role of aberrant TORC1 signaling in many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Results: To elucidate the role of TORC1 signaling in chromatin regulation, we screened a budding yeast histone H3 and H4 mutant library using the selective TORC1 inhibitor rapamycin to identify histone residues functionally connected to TORC1. Intriguingly, we identified histone H3 lysine 37 (H3K37) as a residue that is essential during periods of limited TORC1 activity. An H3K37A mutation resulted in cell death by necrosis when TORC1 signaling was simultaneously impaired. The induction of necrosis was linked to alterations in high mobility group (HMG) protein binding to chromatin. Furthermore, the necrotic phenotype could be recapitulated in wild-type cells by deregulating the model HMG proteins, Hmo1 or Ixr1, thus implicating a direct role for HMG protein deregulation as a stimulus for inducing necrosis. Conclusions: This study identifies histone H3 and H4 residues functionally required for TORC1-dependent cell growth and proliferation that are also candidate epigenetic pathways regulated by TORC1 signaling. It also demonstrates a novel role for H3K37 and TORC1 in regulating the binding of select HMG proteins to chromatin and that HMG protein deregulation can initiate a necrotic cell death response. Overall, the results from this study suggest a possible model by which chromatin anchors HMG proteins during periods of limited TORC1 signaling, such as that which occurs during conditions of nutrient stress, to suppress necrotic cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalEpigenetics and Chromatin
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 4 2013

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High Mobility Group Proteins
Sirolimus
Chromatin
Cell Death
Histones
Necrosis
mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1
Genetic Epigenesis
Cell Proliferation
Food
Saccharomycetales
Growth
Transducers
Protein Binding
Epigenomics
Lysine

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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Target of rapamycin signaling regulates high mobility group protein association to chromatin, which functions to suppress necrotic cell death. / Chen, Hongfeng; Workman, Jason J.; Tenga, Alexa; Laribee, Ronald.

In: Epigenetics and Chromatin, Vol. 6, No. 1, 29, 04.09.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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