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Background: H3.3 is an ancient and conserved H3 variant and plays essential roles in transcriptional regulation. HIRA complex, which is composed of HIRA, UBN1 or UBN2, and Cabin1, is a H3.3 specific chaperone complex. However, it still remains largely uncharacterized how HIRA complex specifically recognizes and deposits H3.3 to the chromatin, such as promoters and enhancers. Results: In this study, we demonstrate that the UBN1 or UBN2 subunit is mainly responsible for specific recognition and direct binding of H3.3 by the HIRA complex. While the HIRA subunit can enhance the binding affinity of UBN1 toward H3.3, Cabin1 subunit cannot. We also demonstrate that both Ala87 and Gly90 residues of H3.3 are required and sufficient for the specific recognition and binding by UBN1. ChIP-seq studies reveal that two independent HIRA complexes (UBN1-HIRA and UBN2-HIRA) can cooperatively deposit H3.3 to cis-regulatory regions, including active promoters and active enhancers in mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells. Importantly, disruption of histone chaperone activities of UBN1 and UBN2 by FID/AAA mutation results in the defect of H3.3 deposition at promoters of developmental genes involved in neural differentiation, and subsequently causes the failure of activation of these genes during neural differentiation of mES cells. Conclusion: Together, our results provide novel insights into the mechanism by which the HIRA complex specifically recognizes and deposits H3.3 at promoters and enhancers of developmental genes, which plays a critical role in neural differentiation of mES cells.
Xiong, C., Wen, Z., Yu, J., Chen, J., Liu, C. P., Zhang, X., … Li, G. (2018). UBN1/2 of HIRA complex is responsible for recognition and deposition of H3.3 at cis-regulatory elements of genes in mouse ES cells. BMC Biology, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-018-0573-9