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Chromatin Proteomics Reveals Variable Histone Modifications during the Life Cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi

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posted on 25.04.2016, 00:00 authored by Teresa Cristina Leandro de Jesus, Vinícius Santana Nunes, Mariana de Camargo Lopes, Daiana Evelin Martil, Leo Kei Iwai, Nilmar Silvio Moretti, Fabrício Castro Machado, Mariana L. de Lima-Stein, Otavio Henrique Thiemann, Maria Carolina Elias, Christian Janzen, Sergio Schenkman, Julia Pinheiro Chagas da Cunha
Histones are well-conserved proteins that form the basic structure of chromatin in eukaryotes and undergo several post-translational modifications, which are important for the control of transcription, replication, DNA damage repair, and chromosome condensation. In early branched organisms, histones are less conserved and appear to contain alternative sites for modifications, which could reveal evolutionary unique functions of histone modifications in gene expression and other chromatin-based processes. Here, by using high-resolution mass spectrometry, we identified and quantified histone post-translational modifications in two life cycle stages of Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease. We detected 44 new modifications, namely: 18 acetylations, seven monomethylations, seven dimethylations, seven trimethylations, and four phosphorylations. We found that replicative (epimastigote stage) contains more histone modifications than nonreplicative and infective parasites (trypomastigote stage). Acetylations of lysines at the C-terminus of histone H2A and methylations of lysine 23 of histone H3 were found to be enriched in trypomastigotes. In contrast, phosphorylation in serine 23 of H2B and methylations of lysine 76 of histone H3 predominates in proliferative states. The presence of one or two methylations in the lysine 76 was found in cells undergoing mitosis and cytokinesis, typical of proliferating parasites. Our findings provide new insights into the role of histone modifications related to the control of gene expression and cell-cycle regulation in an early divergent organism.