Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
List of Papers
Kazumitsu Maehara Last modified date:2018.06.13

Assistant Professor / Research Center for Transomics Medicine / Medical Institute of Bioregulation

1. Akihito Harada, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yusuke Ono, Hiroyuki Taguchi, Kiyoshi Yoshioka, Yasuo Kitajima, Yan Xie, Yuko Sato, Takeshi Iwasaki, Jumpei Nogami, Seiji Okada, Tetsuro Komatsu, Yuichiro Semba, Tatsuya Takemoto, Hiroshi Kimura, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Histone H3.3 sub-variant H3mm7 is required for normal skeletal muscle regeneration, Nature Communications,, 9, 1, 2018.05, Regulation of gene expression requires selective incorporation of histone H3 variant H3.3 into chromatin. Histone H3.3 has several subsidiary variants but their functions are unclear. Here we characterize the function of histone H3.3 sub-variant, H3mm7, which is expressed in skeletal muscle satellite cells. H3mm7 knockout mice demonstrate an essential role of H3mm7 in skeletal muscle regeneration. Chromatin analysis reveals that H3mm7 facilitates transcription by forming an open chromatin structure around promoter regions including those of myogenic genes. The crystal structure of the nucleosome containing H3mm7 reveals that, unlike the S57 residue of other H3 proteins, the H3mm7-specific A57 residue cannot form a hydrogen bond with the R40 residue of the cognate H4 molecule. Consequently, the H3mm7 nucleosome is unstable in vitro and exhibited higher mobility in vivo compared with the H3.3 nucleosome. We conclude that the unstable H3mm7 nucleosome may be required for proper skeletal muscle differentiation..
2. Yoshimasa Takizawa, Hiroki Tanaka, Shinichi Machida, Masako Koyama, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Paul A. Wade, Matthias Wolf, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Cryo-EM structure of the nucleosome containing the ALB1 enhancer DNA sequence, Open Biology,, 8, 3, 2018.01, Pioneer transcription factors specifically target their recognition DNA sequences within nucleosomes. FoxA is the pioneer transcription factor that binds to the ALB1 gene enhancer in liver precursor cells, and is required for liver differentiation in embryos. The ALB1 enhancer DNA sequence is reportedly incorporated into nucleosomes in cells, although the nucleosome structure containing the targeting sites for FoxA has not been clarified yet. In this study, we determined the nucleosome structure containing the ALB1 enhancer (N1) sequence, by cryogenic electron microscopy at 4.0 Å resolution. The nucleosome structure with the ALB1 enhancer DNA is not significantly different from the previously reported nucleosome structure with the Widom 601 DNA. Interestingly, in the nucleosomes, the ALB1 enhancer DNA contains local flexible regions, as compared to the Widom 601 DNA. Consistently, DNaseI treatments revealed that, in the nucleosome, the ALB1 enhancer (N1) DNA is more accessible than the Widom 601 sequence. The histones also associated less strongly with the ALB1 enhancer (N1) DNA than the Widom 601 DNA in the nucleosome. Therefore, the local histone–DNA contacts May be responsible for the enhanced DNA accessibility in the nucleosome with the ALB1 enhancer DNA..
3. Yukari Kondo, Shinichiro Higa, Takeshi Iwasaki, Tomoya Matsumoto, Kazumitsu Maehara, Akihito Harada, Yoshihiro Baba, Masatoshi Fujita, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Sensitive detection of fluorescence in western blotting by merging images, PLoS One,, 13, 1, 2018.01, The western blotting technique is widely used to analyze protein expression levels and protein molecular weight. The chemiluminescence method is mainly used for detection due to its high sensitivity and ease of manipulation, but it is unsuitable for detailed analyses because it cannot be used to detect multiple proteins simultaneously. Recently, more attention has been paid to the fluorescence detection method because it is more quantitative and is suitable for the detection of multiple proteins simultaneously. However, fluorescence detection can be limited by poor image resolution and low detection sensitivity. Here, we describe a method to detect fluorescence in western blots using fluorescence microscopy to obtain high-resolution images. In this method, filters and fluorescent dyes are optimized to enhance detection sensitivity to a level similar to that of the chemiluminescence method..
4. Yuichiro Semba, Akihito Harada, Kazumitsu Maehara, Shinya Oki, Chikara Meno, Jun Ueda, Kazuo Yamagata, Atsushi Suzuki, Mitsuho Onimaru, Jumpei Nogami, Seiji Okada, Koichi Akashi, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Chd2 regulates chromatin for proper gene expression toward differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells, Nucleic Acids Research,, 45, 15, 8758-8772, 2017.09, Chromatin reorganization is necessary for pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells (ESCs), to acquire lineage potential. However, it remains unclear how ESCs maintain their characteristic chromatin state for appropriate gene expression upon differentiation. Here, we demonstrate that chromodomain helicase DNA-binding domain 2 (Chd2) is required to maintain the differentiation potential of mouse ESCs. Chd2-depleted ESCs showed suppressed expression of developmentally regulated genes upon differentiation and subsequent differentiation defects without affecting gene expression in the undifferentiated state. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing revealed alterations in the nucleosome occupancy of the histone variant H3.3 for developmentally regulated genes in Chd2-depleted ESCs, which in turn led to elevated trimethylation of the histone H3 lysine 27. These results suggest that Chd2 is essential in preventing suppressive chromatin formation for developmentally regulated genes and determines subsequent effects on developmental processes in the undifferentiated state..
5. Hiroyuki Taguchi, Yan Xie, Naoki Horikoshi, Kazumitsu Maehara, Akihito Harada, Jumpei Nogami, Koichi Sato, Yasuhiro Arimura, Akihisa Osakabe, Tomoya Kujirai, Takeshi Iwasaki, Yuichiro Semba, Taro Tachibana, Hiroshi Kimura, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Crystal Structure and Characterization of Novel Human Histone H3 Variants, H3.6, H3.7, and H3.8, Biochemistry,, 56, 16, 2184-2196, 2017.04, Non-allelic histone variants are considered as epigenetic factors that regulate genomic DNA functions in eukaryotic chromosomes. In this study, we identified three new human histone H3 variants (named H3.6, H3.7, and H3.8), which were previously annotated as pseudogenes. H3.6 and H3.8 conserve the H3.3-specific amino acid residues, but H3.7 shares the specific amino acid residues with H3.1. We successfully reconstituted the nucleosome containing H3.6 in vitro and determined its crystal structure. In the H3.6 nucleosome, the H3.6-specific Val62 residue hydrophobically contacts the cognate H4 molecule, but its contact area is smaller than that of the corresponding H3.3 Ile62 residue. The thermal stability assay revealed that the H3.6 nucleosome is substantially unstable, as compared to the H3.3 nucleosome. Interestingly, mutational analysis demonstrated that the H3.6 Val62 residue is fully responsible for the H3.6 nucleosome instability, probably because of the weakened hydrophobic interaction with H4. We also reconstituted the nucleosome containing H3.8, but its thermal stability was quite low. In contrast, purified H3.7 failed to form nucleosomes in vitro. The identification and characterization of these novel human histone H3 variants provide important new insights into understanding the epigenetic regulation of the human genome..
6. Daiki Kato, Akihisa Osakabe, Yasuhiro Arimura, Yuka Mizukami, Naoki Horikoshi, Kazumi Saikusa, Satoko Akashi, Yoshifumi Nishimura, Sam Yong Park, Jumpei Nogami, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Atsushi Matsumoto, Hidetoshi Kono, Rintaro Inoue, Masaaki Sugiyama, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Crystal structure of the overlapping dinucleosome composed of hexasome and octasome, Science,, 356, 6334, 205-208, 2017.04, Nucleosomes are dynamic entities that are repositioned along DNA by chromatin remodeling processes. A nucleosome repositioned by the switch-sucrose nonfermentable (SWI/SNF) remodeler collides with a neighbor and forms the intermediate "overlapping dinucleosome." Here, we report the crystal structure of the overlapping dinucleosome, in which two nucleosomes are associated, at 3.14-angstrom resolution. In the overlapping dinucleosome structure, the unusual "hexasome" nucleosome, composed of the histone hexamer lacking one H2A-H2B dimer from the conventional histone octamer, contacts the canonical "octasome" nucleosome, and they intimately associate. Consequently, about 250 base pairs of DNA are left-handedly wrapped in three turns, without a linker DNA segment between the hexasome and octasome moieties. The overlapping dinucleosome structure may provide important information to understand how nucleosome repositioning occurs during the chromatin remodeling process..
7. Tomohumi Nakamura, Kouichi Murakami, Haruto Tada, Yoshihiko Uehara, Jumpei Nogami, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hisato Saitoh, Hideo Nishitani, Tetsuya Ono, Ryotaro Nishi, Masayuki Yokoi, Wataru Sakai, Kaoru Sugasawa, Thymine DNA glycosylase modulates DNA damage response and gene expression by base excision repair-dependent and independent mechanisms, Genes to Cells,, 22, 4, 392-405, 2017.04, Thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) is a base excision repair (BER) enzyme, which is implicated in correction of deamination-induced DNA mismatches, the DNA demethylation process and regulation of gene expression. Because of these pivotal roles associated, it is crucial to elucidate how the TDG functions are appropriately regulated in vivo. Here, we present evidence that the TDG protein undergoes degradation upon various types of DNA damage, including ultraviolet light (UV). The UV-induced degradation of TDG was dependent on proficiency in nucleotide excision repair and on CRL4CDT 2-mediated ubiquitination that requires a physical interaction between TDG and DNA polymerase clamp PCNA. Using the Tdg-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we found that ectopic expression of TDG compromised cellular survival after UV irradiation and repair of UV-induced DNA lesions. These negative effects on cellular UV responses were alleviated by introducing mutations in TDG that impaired its BER function. The expression of TDG induced a large-scale alteration in the gene expression profile independently of its DNA glycosylase activity, whereas a subset of genes was affected by the catalytic activity of TDG. Our results indicate the presence of BER-dependent and BER-independent functions of TDG, which are involved in regulation of cellular DNA damage responses and gene expression patterns..
8. Jun Ueda, Akihito Harada, Takashi Urahama, Shinichi Machida, Kazumitsu Maehara, Masashi Hada, Yoshinori Makino, Jumpei Nogami, Naoki Horikoshi, Akihisa Osakabe, Hiroyuki Taguchi, Hiroki Tanaka, Hiroaki Tachiwana, Tatsuma Yao, Minami Yamada, Takashi Iwamoto, Ayako Isotani, Masahito Ikawa, Taro Tachibana, Yuki Okada, Hiroshi Kimura, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Kazuo Yamagata, Testis-Specific Histone Variant H3t Gene Is Essential for Entry into Spermatogenesis, Cell Reports,, 18, 3, 593-600, 2017.01, Cellular differentiation is associated with dynamic chromatin remodeling in establishing a cell-type-specific epigenomic landscape. Here, we find that mouse testis-specific and replication-dependent histone H3 variant H3t is essential for very early stages of spermatogenesis. H3t gene deficiency leads to azoospermia because of the loss of haploid germ cells. When differentiating spermatogonia emerge in normal spermatogenesis, H3t appears and replaces the canonical H3 proteins. Structural and biochemical analyses reveal that H3t-containing nucleosomes are more flexible than the canonical nucleosomes. Thus, by incorporating H3t into the genome during spermatogonial differentiation, male germ cells are able to enter meiosis and beyond..
9. Kensuke Kudou, Tetsuro Komatsu, Jumpei Nogami, Kazumitsu Maehara, Akihito Harada, Hiroshi Saeki, Eiji Oki, Yoshihiko Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, The requirement of Mettl3-promoted MyoD mRNA maintenance in proliferative myoblasts for skeletal muscle differentiation, Open Biology,, 7, 9, 2017.01, Myogenic progenitor/stem cells retain their skeletal muscle differentiation potential by maintaining myogenic transcription factors such as MyoD. However, the mechanism of how MyoD expression is maintained in proliferative progenitor cells has not been elucidated. Here, we found that MyoD expression was reduced at the mRNA level by cell cycle arrest in S and G2 phases, which in turn led to the absence of skeletal muscle differentiation. The reduction of MyoD mRNA was correlated with the reduced expression of factors regulating RNA metabolism, including methyltransferase like 3 (Mettl3), which induces N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modifications of RNA. Knockdown of Mettl3 revealed that MyoD RNA was specifically downregulated and that this was caused by a decrease in processed, but not unprocessed, mRNA. Potential m6A modification sites were profiled by m6A sequencing and identified within the 50 untranslated region (UTR) of MyoD mRNA. Deletion of the 50 UTR revealed that it has a role in MyoD mRNA processing. These data showed that Mettl3 is required for MyoD mRNA expression in proliferative myoblasts..
10. Yuki Kuniyoshi, Kazumitsu Maehara, Takeshi Iwasaki, Masayasu Hayashi, Yuichiro Semba, Masatoshi Fujita, Yuko Sato, Hiroshi Kimura, Akihito Harada, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Identification of immunoglobulin gene sequences from a small read number of mRNA-seq using hybridomas, PLoS One,, 11, 10, 2016.10, Identification of immunoglobulin genes in hybridomas is essential for producing antibodies for research and clinical applications. A couple of methods such as RACE and degenerative PCR have been developed for determination of the Igh and Igl/Igk coding sequences (CDSs) but it has been difficult to process a number of hybridomas both with accuracy and rapidness. Here, we propose a new strategy for antibody sequence determination by mRNA-seq of hybridomas. We demonstrated that hybridomas highly expressed the Igh and Igl/Igk genes and that de novo transcriptome assembly using mRNA-seq data enabled identification of the CDS of both Igh and Igl/Igk accurately. Furthermore, we estimated that only 30,000 sequenced reads are required to identify immunoglobulin sequences from four different hybridoma clones. Thus, our approach would facilitate determining variable CDSs drastically..
11. Tomoya Kujirai, Naoki Horikoshi, Koichi Sato, Kazumitsu Maehara, Shinichi Machida, Akihisa Osakabe, Hiroshi Kimura, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Structure and function of human histone H3.Y nucleosome, Nucleic Acids Research,, 44, 13, 6127-6141, 2016.07, Histone H3.Y is a primate-specific, distant H3 variant. It is evolutionarily derived from H3.3, and may function in transcription regulation. However, the mechanism by which H3.Y regulates transcription has not been elucidated. In the present study, we determined the crystal structure of the H3.Y nucleosome, and found that many H3.Y-specific residues are located on the entry/exit sites of the nucleosome. Biochemical analyses revealed that the DNA ends of the H3.Y nucleosome were more flexible than those of the H3.3 nucleosome, although the H3.Y nucleosome was stable in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, the linker histone H1, which compacts nucleosomal DNA, appears to bind to the H3.Y nucleosome less efficiently, as compared to the H3.3 nucleosome. These characteristics of the H3.Y nucleosome are also conserved in the H3.Y/H3.3 heterotypic nucleosome, which may be the predominant form in cells. In human cells, H3.Y preferentially accumulated around transcription start sites (TSSs). Taken together, H3.Y-containing nucleosomes around transcription start sites may form relaxed chromatin that allows transcription factor access, to regulate the transcription status of specific genes..
12. Wataru Kobayashi, Motoki Takaku, Shinichi Machida, Hiroaki Tachiwana, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Chromatin architecture may dictate the target site for DMC1, but not for RAD51, during homologous pairing, Scientific Reports,, 6, 2016.04, In eukaryotes, genomic DNA is compacted as chromatin, in which histones and DNA form the nucleosome as the basic unit. DMC1 and RAD51 are essential eukaryotic recombinases that mediate homologous chromosome pairing during homologous recombination. However, the means by which these two recombinases distinctly function in chromatin have remained elusive. Here we found that, in chromatin, the human DMC1-single-stranded DNA complex bypasses binding to the nucleosome, and preferentially promotes homologous pairing at the nucleosome-depleted regions. Consistently, DMC1 forms ternary complex recombination intermediates with the nucleosome-free DNA or the nucleosome-depleted DNA region. Surprisingly, removal of the histone tails improperly enhances the nucleosome binding by DMC1. In contrast, RAD51 does not specifically target the nucleosome-depleted region in chromatin. These are the first demonstrations that the chromatin architecture specifies the sites to promote the homologous recombination reaction by DMC1, but not by RAD51..
13. Jun Ya Kaimori, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yoko Hayashi-Takanaka, Akihito Harada, Masafumi Fukuda, Satoko Yamamoto, Naotsugu Ichimaru, Takashi Umehara, Shigeyuki Yokoyama, Ryo Matsuda, Tsuyoshi Ikura, Koji Nagao, Chikashi Obuse, Naohito Nozaki, Shiro Takahara, Toshifumi Takao, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hiroshi Kimura, Yoshitaka Isaka, Histone H4 lysine 20 acetylation is associated with gene repression in human cells, Scientific Reports,, 6, 2016.04, Histone acetylation is generally associated with gene activation and chromatin decondensation. Recent mass spectrometry analysis has revealed that histone H4 lysine 20, a major methylation site, can also be acetylated. To understand the function of H4 lysine 20 acetylation (H4K20ac), we have developed a specific monoclonal antibody and performed ChIP-seq analysis using HeLa-S3 cells. H4K20ac was enriched around the transcription start sites (TSSs) of minimally expressed genes and in the gene body of expressed genes, in contrast to most histone acetylation being enriched around the TSSs of expressed genes. The distribution of H4K20ac showed little correlation with known histone modifications, including histone H3 methylations. A motif search in H4K20ac-enriched sequences, together with transcription factor binding profiles based on ENCODE ChIP-seq data, revealed that most transcription activators are excluded from H4K20ac-enriched genes and a transcription repressor NRSF/REST co-localized with H4K20ac. These results suggest that H4K20ac is a unique acetylation mark associated with gene repression..
14. Masayasu Hayashi, Kazumitsu Maehara, Akihito Harada, Yuichiro Semba, Kensuke Kudo, Hidehisa Takahashi, Shinya Oki, Chikara Meno, Kenji Ichiyanagi, Koichi Akashi, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Chd5 Regulates MuERV-L/MERVL Expression in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells Via H3K27me3 Modification and Histone H3.1/H3.2, Journal of Cellular Biochemistry,, 117, 3, 780-792, 2016.03, Chd5 is an essential factor for neuronal differentiation and spermatogenesis and is a known tumor suppressor. H3K27me3 and H3K4un are modifications recognized by Chd5; however, it remains unclear how Chd5 remodels chromatin structure. We completely disrupted the Chd5 locus using the CRISPR-Cas9 system to generate a 52 kbp long deletion and analyzed Chd5 function in mouse embryonic stem cells. Our findings show that Chd5 represses murine endogenous retrovirus-L (MuERV-L/MERVL), an endogenous retrovirus-derived retrotransposon, by regulating H3K27me3 and H3.1/H3.2 function. J. Cell. Biochem. 117: 780-792, 2016..
15. Masahiro Oka, Sonoko Mura, Kohji Yamada, Percival Sangel, Saki Hirata, Kazumitsu Maehara, Koichi Kawakami, Taro Tachibana, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hiroshi Kimura, Yoshihiro Yoneda, Chromatin-prebound Crm1 recruits Nup98-HoxA9 fusion to induce aberrant expression of Hox cluster genes, eLife,, 5, JANUARY2016, 2016.01, The nucleoporin Nup98 is frequently rearranged to form leukemogenic Nup98-fusion proteins with various partners. However, their function remains largely elusive. Here, we show that Nup98-HoxA9, a fusion between Nup98 and the homeobox transcription factor HoxA9, forms nuclear aggregates that frequently associate with facultative heterochromatin. We demonstrate that stable expression of Nup98-HoxA9 in mouse embryonic stem cells selectively induces the expression of Hox cluster genes. Genome-wide binding site analysis revealed that Nup98-HoxA9 is preferentially targeted and accumulated at Hox cluster regions where the export factor Crm1 is originally prebound. In addition, leptomycin B, an inhibitor of Crm1, disassembled nuclear Nup98-HoxA9 dots, resulting in the loss of chromatin binding of Nup98-HoxA9 and Nup98-HoxA9-mediated activation of Hox genes. Collectively, our results indicate that highly selective targeting of Nup98-fusion proteins to Hox cluster regions via prebound Crm1 induces the formation of higher order chromatin structures that causes aberrant Hox gene regulation..
16. Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Exploration of nucleosome positioning patterns in transcription factor function, Scientific Reports,, 6, 2016.01, The binding of transcription factors (TFs) triggers activation of specific chromatin regions through the recruitment and activation of RNA polymerase. Unique nucleosome positioning (NP) occurs during gene expression and has been suggested to be involved in various other chromatin functions. However, the diversity of NP that can occur for each function has not been clarified. Here we used MNase-Seq data to evaluate NP around 258 cis-regulatory elements in the mouse genome. Principal component analysis of the 258 elements revealed that NP consisted of five major patterns. Furthermore, the five NP patterns had predictive power for the level of gene expression. We also demonstrated that selective NP patterns appeared around TF binding sites. These results suggest that the NP patterns are correlated to specific functions on chromatin..
17. Takashi Urahama, Akihito Harada, Kazumitsu Maehara, Naoki Horikoshi, Koichi Sato, Yuko Sato, Koji Shiraishi, Norihiro Sugino, Akihisa Osakabe, Hiroaki Tachiwana, Wataru Kagawa, Hiroshi Kimura, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Histone H3.5 forms an unstable nucleosome and accumulates around transcription start sites in human testis, Epigenetics and Chromatin,, 9, 1, 2016.01, Background: Human histone H3.5 is a non-allelic H3 variant evolutionally derived from H3.3. The H3.5 mRNA is highly expressed in human testis. However, the function of H3.5 has remained poorly understood. Results: We found that the H3.5 nucleosome is less stable than the H3.3 nucleosome. The crystal structure of the H3.5 nucleosome showed that the H3.5-specific Leu103 residue, which corresponds to the H3.3 Phe104 residue, reduces the hydrophobic interaction with histone H4. Mutational analyses revealed that the H3.5-specific Leu103 residue is responsible for the instability of the H3.5 nucleosome, both in vitro and in living cells. The H3.5 protein was present in human seminiferous tubules, but little to none was found in mature sperm. A chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with sequencing analysis revealed that H3.5 accumulated around transcription start sites (TSSs) in testicular cells. Conclusions: We performed comprehensive studies of H3.5, and found the instability of the H3.5 nucleosome and the accumulation of H3.5 protein around TSSs in human testis. The unstable H3.5 nucleosome may function in the chromatin dynamics around the TSSs, during spermatogenesis..
18. Yoko Hayashi-Takanaka, Kazumitsu Maehara, Akihito Harada, Takashi Umehara, Shigeyuki Yokoyama, Chikashi Obuse, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Naohito Nozaki, Hiroshi Kimura, Distribution of histone H4 modifications as revealed by a panel of specific monoclonal antibodies, Chromosome Research,, 23, 4, 753-766, 2015.12, Post-translational histone modifications play a critical role in genome functions such as epigenetic gene regulation and genome maintenance. The tail of the histone H4 N-terminus contains several amino acids that can be acetylated and methylated. Some of these modifications are known to undergo drastic changes during the cell cycle. In this study, we generated a panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies against histone H4 modifications, including acetylation at K5, K8, K12, and K16, and different levels of methylation at K20. Their specificity was evaluated by ELISA and immunoblotting using synthetic peptide and recombinant proteins that harbor specific modifications or amino acid substitutions. Immunofluorescence confirmed the characteristic distributions of target modifications. An H4K5 acetylation (H4K5ac)-specific antibody CMA405 reacted with K5ac only when the neighboring K8 was unacetylated. This unique feature allowed us to detect newly assembled H4, which is diacetylated at K5 and K12, and distinguish it from hyperacetylated H4, where K5 and K8 are both acetylated. Chromatin immunoprecipiation combined with deep sequencing (ChIP-seq) revealed that acetylation of both H4K8 and H4K16 were enriched around transcription start sites. These extensively characterized and highly specific antibodies will be useful for future epigenetics and epigenome studies..
19. Akihisa Osakabe, Fumiya Adachi, Yasuhiro Arimura, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Influence of DNA methylation on positioning and DNA flexibility of nucleosomes with pericentric satellite DNA, Open Biology,, 5, 10, 2015.10, DNA methylation occurs on CpG sites and is important to form pericentric heterochromatin domains. The satellite 2 sequence, containing seven CpG sites, is located in the pericentric region of human chromosome 1 and is highly methylated in normal cells. In contrast, the satellite 2 region is reportedly hypomethylated in cancer cells, suggesting that the methylation status may affect the chromatin structure around the pericentric regions in tumours. In this study, we mapped the nucleosome positioning on the satellite 2 sequence in vitro and found that DNA methylation modestly affects the distribution of the nucleosome positioning. The micrococcal nuclease assay revealed that the DNA end flexibility of the nucleosomes changes, depending on the DNA methylation status. However, the structures and thermal stabilities of the nucleosomes are unaffected by DNA methyl-ation. These findings provide new information to understand how DNA methylation functions in regulating pericentric heterochromatin formation and maintenance in normal and malignant cells..
20. Kazumitsu Maehara, Akihito Harada, Yuko Sato, Masaki Matsumoto, Keiichi Nakayama, Hiroshi Kimura, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Tissue-specific expression of histone H3 variants diversified after species separation, Epigenetics and Chromatin,, 8, 1, 2015.09, Background: The selective incorporation of appropriate histone variants into chromatin is critical for the regulation of genome function. Although many histone variants have been identified, a complete list has not been compiled. Results: We screened mouse, rat and human genomes by in silico hybridization using canonical histone sequences. In the mouse genome, we identified 14 uncharacterized H3 genes, among which 13 are similar to H3.3 and do not have human or rat counterparts, and one is similar to human testis-specific H3 variant, H3T/H3.4, and had a rat paralog. Although some of these genes were previously annotated as pseudogenes, their tissue-specific expression was confirmed by sequencing the 3′-UTR regions of the transcripts. Certain new variants were also detected at the protein level by mass spectrometry. When expressed as GFP-tagged versions in mouse C2C12 cells, some variants were stably incorporated into chromatin and the genome-wide distributions of most variants were similar to that of H3.3. Moreover, forced expression of H3 variants in chromatin resulted in alternate gene expression patterns after cell differentiation. Conclusions: We comprehensively identified and characterized novel mouse H3 variant genes that encoded highly conserved amino acid sequences compared to known histone H3. We speculated that the diversity of H3 variants acquired after species separation played a role in regulating tissue-specific gene expression in individual species. Their biological relevance and evolutionary aspect involving pseudogene diversification will be addressed by further functional analysis..
21. Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Agplus
A rapid and flexible tool for aggregation plots, Bioinformatics,, 31, 18, 3046-3047, 2015.07, Aggregation plots are frequently used to evaluate signal distributions at user-interested points in ChIP-Seq data analysis. agplus, a new and simple command-line tool, enables rapid and flexible generation of text tables tailored for aggregation plots from which users can easily design multiple groups based on user-definitions such as regulatory regions or transcription initiation sites..
22. Saori Tomita, Mohamed Osama Ali Abdalla, Saori Fujiwara, Haruka Matsumori, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Hirotaka Iwase, Noriko Saitoh, Mitsuyoshi Nakao, A cluster of noncoding RNAs activates the ESR1 locus during breast cancer adaptation, Nature Communications,, 6, 2015.04, Estrogen receptor-α (ER)-positive breast cancer cells undergo hormone-independent proliferation after deprivation of oestrogen, leading to endocrine therapy resistance. Up-regulation of the ER gene (ESR1) is critical for this process, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show that the combination of transcriptome and fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses revealed that oestrogen deprivation induced a cluster of noncoding RNAs that defined a large chromatin domain containing the ESR1 locus. We termed these RNAs as Eleanors (ESR1 locus enhancing and activating noncoding RNAs). Eleanors were present in ER-positive breast cancer tissues and localized at the transcriptionally active ESR1 locus to form RNA foci. Depletion of one Eleanor, upstream (u)-Eleanor, impaired cell growth and transcription of intragenic Eleanors and ESR1 mRNA, indicating that Eleanors cis-activate the ESR1 gene. Eleanor-mediated gene activation represents a new type of locus control mechanism and plays an essential role in the adaptation of breast cancer cells..
23. Nozomi Sugimoto, Kazumitsu Maehara, Kazumasa Yoshida, Shuhei Yasukouchi, Satoko Osano, Shinya Watanabe, Masahiro Aizawa, Takashi Yugawa, Tohru Kiyono, Hitoshi Kurumizaka, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Masatoshi Fujita, Cdt1-binding protein GRWD1 is a novel histone-binding protein that facilitates MCM loading through its influence on chromatin architecture, Nucleic Acids Research,, 43, 12, 5898-5911, 2015.01, Efficient pre-replication complex (pre-RC) formation on chromatin templates is crucial for the maintenance of genome integrity. However, the regulation of chromatin dynamics during this process has remained elusive. We found that a conserved protein, GRWD1 (glutamate-rich WD40 repeat containing 1), binds to two representative replication origins specifically during G1 phase in a CDC6- and Cdt1-dependent manner, and that depletion of GRWD1 reduces loading of MCM but not CDC6 and Cdt1. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing (Seq) revealed significant genome-wide co-localization of GRWD1 with CDC6. We found that GRWD1 has histone-binding activity. To investigate the effect of GRWD1 on chromatin architecture, we used formaldehyde-assisted isolation of regulatory elements (FAIRE)-seq or FAIRE-quantitative PCR analyses, and the results suggest that GRWD1 regulates chromatin openness at specific chromatin locations. Taken together, these findings suggest that GRWD1 may be a novel histone-binding protein that regulates chromatin dynamics and MCM loading at replication origins..
24. Akihito Harada, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yuko Sato, Daijiro Konno, Taro Tachibana, Hiroshi Kimura, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Incorporation of histone H3.1 suppresses the lineage potential of skeletal muscle, Nucleic Acids Research,, 43, 2, 775-786, 2015.01, Lineage potential is triggered by lineage-specific transcription factors in association with changes in the chromatin structure. Histone H3.3 variant is thought to play an important role in the regulation of lineage-specific genes. To elucidate the function of H3.3 in myogenic differentiation, we forced the expression of GFP-H3.1 to alter the balance between H3.1 and H3.3 in mouse C2C12 cells that could be differentiated into myotubes. GFP-H3.1 replaced H3.3 in the regulatory regions of skeletal muscle (SKM) genes and induced a decrease of H3K4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) and increase of H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3). Similar results were obtained by H3.3 knockdown. In contrast, MyoD-dependent H3.3 incorporation into SKM genes in fibroblasts induced an increase of H3K4me3 and H3K27me3. In mouse embryos, a bivalent modification of H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 was formed on H3.3-incorporated SKM genes before embryonic skeletal muscle differentiation. These results suggest that lineage potential is established through a selective incorporation of specific H3 variants that governs the balance of histone modifications..
25. Timothy J. Stasevich, Yoko Hayashi-Takanaka, Yuko Sato, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Kumiko Sakata-Sogawa, Makio Tokunaga, Takahiro Nagase, Naohito Nozaki, James G. McNally, Hiroshi Kimura, Regulation of RNA polymerase II activation by histone acetylation in single living cells, Nature,, 516, 7530, 272-275, 2014.12, In eukaryotic cells, post-translational histone modifications have an important role in gene regulation. Starting with early work on histone acetylation, a variety of residue-specific modifications have now been linked to RNA polymerase II (RNAP2) activity, but it remains unclear if these markers are active regulators of transcription or just passive byproducts. This is because studies have traditionally relied on fixed cell populations, meaning temporal resolution is limited to minutes at best, and correlated factors may not actually be present in the same cell at the same time. Complementary approaches are therefore needed to probe the dynamic interplay of histone modifications and RNAP2 with higher temporal resolution in single living cells. Here we address this problem by developing a system to track residue-specific histone modifications and RNAP2 phosphorylation in living cells by fluorescence microscopy. This increases temporal resolution to the tens-of-seconds range. Our single-cell analysis reveals histone H3 lysine-27 acetylation at a gene locus can alter downstream transcription kinetics by as much as 50%, affecting two temporally separate events. First acetylation enhances the search kinetics of transcriptional activators, and later the acetylation accelerates the transition of RNAP2 from initiation to elongation. Signatures of the latter can be found genome-wide using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing. We argue that this regulation leads to a robust and potentially tunable transcriptional response..
26. Jun Ueda, Kazumitsu Maehara, Daisuke Mashiko, Takako Ichinose, Tatsuma Yao, Mayuko Hori, Yuko Sato, Hiroshi Kimura, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Kazuo Yamagata, Heterochromatin dynamics during the differentiation process revealed by the DNA methylation reporter mouse, methylRO, Stem Cell Reports,, 2, 6, 910-924, 2014.06, In mammals, DNA is methylated at CpG sites, which play pivotal roles in gene silencing and chromatin organization. Furthermore, DNA methylation undergoes dynamic changes during development, differentiation, and in pathological processes. The conventional methods represent snapshots; therefore, the dynamics of this marker within living organisms remains unclear. To track this dynamics, we made a knockin mouse that expresses a red fluorescent protein (RFP)-fused methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD) protein from the ROSA26 locus ubiquitously; we named it MethylRO (methylation probe in ROSA26 locus). Using this mouse, we performed RFP-mediated methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeDIP-seq), whole-body section analysis, and live-cell imaging. We discovered that mobility and pattern of heterochromatin as well as DNA methylation signal intensity inside the nuclei can be markers for cellular differentiation status. Thus, the MethylRO mouse represents a powerful bioresource and technique for DNA methylation dynamics studies in developmental biology, stem cell biology, as well as in disease states..
27. Shinya Oki, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Chikara Meno, SraTailor
Graphical user interface software for processing and visualizing ChIP-seq data, Genes to Cells,, 19, 12, 919-926, 2014.01, Raw data from ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with massively parallel DNA sequencing) experiments are deposited in public databases as SRAs (Sequence Read Archives) that are publically available to all researchers. However, to graphically visualize ChIP-seq data of interest, the corresponding SRAs must be downloaded and converted into BigWig format, a process that involves complicated command-line processing. This task requires users to possess skill with script languages and sequence data processing, a requirement that prevents a wide range of biologists from exploiting SRAs. To address these challenges, we developed SraTailor, a GUI (Graphical User Interface) software package that automatically converts an SRA into a BigWig-formatted file. Simplicity of use is one of the most notable features of SraTailor: entering an accession number of an SRA and clicking the mouse are the only steps required to obtain BigWig-formatted files and to graphically visualize the extents of reads at given loci. SraTailor is also able to make peak calls, generate files of other formats, process users' own data, and accept various command-line-like options. Therefore, this software makes ChIP-seq data fully exploitable by a wide range of biologists. SraTailor is freely available at, and runs on both Mac and Windows machines..
28. Jun Katahira, Daisuke Okuzaki, Hitomi Inoue, Yoshihiro Yoneda, Kazumitsu Maehara, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Human TREX component Thoc5 affects alternative polyadenylation site choice by recruiting mammalian cleavage factor I, Nucleic Acids Research,, 41, 14, 7060-7072, 2013.08, The transcription-export complex (TREX) couples mRNA transcription, processing and nuclear export. We found that CFIm68, a large subunit of a heterotetrameric protein complex mammalian cleavage factor I (CFIm), which is implicated in alternative polyadenylation site choice, co-purified with Thoc5, a component of human TREX. Immunoprecipitation using antibodies against different components of TREX indicated that most likely both complexes interact via an interaction between Thoc5 and CFIm68. Microarray analysis using human HeLa cells revealed that a subset of genes was differentially expressed on Thoc5 knockdown. Notably, the depletion of Thoc5 selectively attenuated the expression of mRNAs polyadenylated at distal, but not proximal, polyadenylation sites, which phenocopied the depletion of CFIm68. Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq) indicated that CFIm68 preferentially associated with the 5′ regions of genes; strikingly, the 5′ peak of CFIm68 was significantly and globally reduced on Thoc5 knockdown. We suggest a model in which human Thoc5 controls polyadenylation site choice through the co-transcriptional loading of CFIm68 onto target genes..
29. Kazumitsu Maehara, Jun Odawara, Akihito Harada, Tomohiko Yoshimi, Koji Nagao, Chikashi Obuse, Koichi Akashi, Taro Tachibana, Toshio Sakata, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, A co-localization model of paired ChIP-seq data using a large ENCODE data set enables comparison of multiple samples, Nucleic Acids Research,, 41, 1, 54-62, 2013.01, Deep sequencing approaches, such as chromatin immunoprecipitation by sequencing (ChIP-seq), have been successful in detecting transcription factor-binding sites and histone modification in the whole genome. An approach for comparing two different ChIP-seq data would be beneficial for predicting unknown functions of a factor. We propose a model to represent co-localization of two different ChIP-seq data. We showed that a meaningful overlapping signal and a meaningless background signal can be separated by this model. We applied this model to compare ChIP-seq data of RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain (CTD) serine 2 phosphorylation with a large amount of peak-called data, including ChIP-seq and other deep sequencing data in the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project, and then extracted factors that were related to RNA polymerase II CTD serine 2 in HeLa cells. We further analyzed RNA polymerase II CTD serine 7 phosphorylation, of which their function is still unclear in HeLa cells. Our results were characterized by the similarity of localization for transcription factor/histone modification in the ENCODE data set, and this suggests that our model is appropriate for understanding ChIP-seq data for factors where their function is unknown..
30. Jun Odawara, Akihito Harada, Tomohiko Yoshimi, Kazumitsu Maehara, Taro Tachibana, Seiji Okada, Koichi Akashi, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, The classification of mRNA expression levels by the phosphorylation state of RNAPII CTD based on a combined genome-wide approach, BMC Genomics,, 12, 2011.10, Background: Cellular function is regulated by the balance of stringently regulated amounts of mRNA. Previous reports revealed that RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), which transcribes mRNA, can be classified into the pausing state and the active transcription state according to the phosphorylation state of RPB1, the catalytic subunit of RNAPII. However, genome-wide association between mRNA expression level and the phosphorylation state of RNAPII is unclear. While the functional importance of pausing genes is clear, such as in mouse Embryonic Stem cells for differentiation, understanding this association is critical for distinguishing pausing genes from active transcribing genes in expression profiling data, such as microarrays and RNAseq. Therefore, we examined the correlation between the phosphorylation of RNAPII and mRNA expression levels using a combined analysis by ChIPseq and RNAseq.Results: We first performed a precise quantitative measurement of mRNA by performing an optimized calculation in RNAseq. We then visualized the recruitment of various phosphorylated RNAPIIs, such as Ser2P and Ser5P. A combined analysis using optimized RNAseq and ChIPseq for phosphorylated RNAPII revealed that mRNA levels correlate with the various phosphorylation states of RNAPII.Conclusions: We demonstrated that the amount of mRNA is precisely reflected by the phased phosphorylation of Ser2 and Ser5. In particular, even the most "pausing" genes, for which only Ser5 is phosphorylated, were detectable at a certain level of mRNA. Our analysis indicated that the complexity of quantitative regulation of mRNA levels could be classified into three categories according to the phosphorylation state of RNAPII..