A mechanism for preventing asymmetric histone segregation onto replicating DNA strands

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Science  28 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6409, pp. 1386-1389
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat8849

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How cells ensure symmetric inheritance

Parental histones with modifications are recycled to newly replicated DNA strands during genome replication, but do the two sister chromatids inherit modified histones equally? Yu et al. and Petryk et al. found in mouse and yeast, respectively, that modified histones are segregated to both DNA daughter strands in a largely symmetric manner (see the Perspective by Ahmad and Henikoff). However, the mechanisms ensuring this symmetric inheritance in yeast and mouse were different. Yeasts use subunits of DNA polymerase to prevent the lagging-strand bias of parental histones, whereas in mouse cells, the replicative helicase MCM2 counters the leading-strand bias.

Science, this issue p. 1386, p. 1389; see also p. 1311


How parental histone (H3-H4)2 tetramers, the primary carriers of epigenetic modifications, are transferred onto leading and lagging strands of DNA replication forks for epigenetic inheritance remains elusive. Here we show that parental (H3-H4)2 tetramers are assembled into nucleosomes onto both leading and lagging strands, with a slight preference for lagging strands. The lagging-strand preference increases markedly in budding yeast cells lacking Dpb3 and Dpb4, two subunits of the leading strand DNA polymerase, Pol ε, owing to the impairment of parental (H3-H4)2 transfer to leading strands. Dpb3-Dpb4 binds H3-H4 in vitro and participates in the inheritance of heterochromatin. These results indicate that different proteins facilitate the transfer of parental (H3-H4)2 onto leading versus lagging strands and that Dbp3-Dpb4 plays an important role in this poorly understood process.

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