Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Bartholomew, Blaine


Chromatin remodelers utilize the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis to mobilize nucleosomes. ISWI remodelers mobilize and evenly space nucleosomes to regulate gene expression. ISW2, an ISWI remodeler in yeast, has been shown to reposition nucleosome near promoter regions and represses both mRNA and antisense non coding RNA transcription. ISW2 is composed of four subunits and the catalytic Isw2 subunit consists of several conserved domains. The highly conserved ATPase domain is present at the N-terminus whereas the conserved HAND, SANT and SLIDE domain are towards the carboxyl terminal end of Isw2. Nucleosome mobilization by ISW2 requires both extranucleosomal DNA and the N-terminal tail of histone H4. DNA crosslinking and peptide mapping revealed that the ATPase domain contacts nucleosome two helical turns away (SHL2) from dyad to a site close to the H4 tail, whereas the HAND, SANT and SLIDE domain contact a 30bp stretch of DNA comprising the edge of nucleosome and ~20bp of extranucleosomal DNA. The ATPase domain and the C-terminal domains were investigated for their role in regulation of ISW2 activity both in-vitro and in-vivo. It appears that there are distinct modes of ISW2 regulation by these domains. Mutation of a patch of five acidic amino acids on the region of ATPase domain that contact SHL2 was found to be crucial for both ISW2 remodeling and nucleosome stimulated ATPase activity. Acidic patch mutant ISW2 was unable to mobilize nucleosome or hydrolyze ATP in absence of H4 tail. This indicates that the region of ATPase domain contacting nucleosome at SHL2 and H4 tail act in two separate and independent pathways to regulate ISW2 remodeling. Both HAND and SLIDE domain were shown to crosslink entry/exit site and linker DNA respectively. The roles of C-terminal domains were investigated either by deletion of the individual domain or mutation of conserved basic residues on the surface of these domains that are suspected to interact extranucleosomal with DNA. Deletion of HAND domain had minimal effect on in vitro ISW2 activity, however whole genome transcription analysis revealed one key role of this domain in ISW2 regulation. In absence of HAND domain, ISW2 had minimal role on repression of genes that were RPD3 (co-factor) dependent, however significantly derepressed genes that were RPD3 independent. At these loci, nucleosome positions were altered and ISW2 recruitment was reduced in absence of a functional HAND domain. Thus the HAND domain regulates recruitment and remodeling of ISW2 at those genes where ISW2 acts independent of other cofactors. The SANT domain, C-terminal to HAND domain, appears to control the "step size" of nucleosome remodeling and was found to be required for processive nucleosome remodeling by ISW2. Both H4 tail and SANT domain appear to control two distinct stages of ISW2 remodeling. A long alpha helical spacer separates SANT domain from SLIDE domain. SLIDE domain was found to be the protein-protein interaction domain that interacts with accessory Itc1 subunit to maintain ISW2 complex integrity. The two ways by which SLIDE domain regulate ISW2 is by binding or recruitment of ISW2 to promoter regions and additionally by binding independent regulation of both ATPase and remodeling activity. The remodeling mechanism of ISW2 was further compared with another ISWI type remodeler in yeast, Isw1a; using time resolved nucleosome remodeling combined with high resolution site specific histone DNA crosslinking at six different nucleosomal positions to track the movement of the nucleosomes. Nucleosome remodeled by the same remodeler showed discontinuous nucleosome movement between two tracking points indicating formation of small "bulges". One key difference in remodeling mechanism was that although both ISW2 and Isw1a moved nucleosomes towards longer linker DNA, only Isw1a remodeled nucleosomes "backtracked" ~11bp during remodeling. Backtracking of remodeling was prominently observed at nucleosomal regions in close proximity to translocase binding sites suggesting the potentially different mechanisms shared by similar remodeling complexes.




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