Viktorovskaya O, Chuang J, Jain D, Reim NI, López-Rivera F, Murawska M, Spatt D, Churchman SL, Park PJ, Winston F. Essential histone chaperones collaborate to regulate transcription and chromatin integrity. Genes Dev 2021;35(9-10):698-712.Abstract
Histone chaperones are critical for controlling chromatin integrity during transcription, DNA replication, and DNA repair. Three conserved and essential chaperones, Spt6, Spn1/Iws1, and FACT, associate with elongating RNA polymerase II and interact with each other physically and/or functionally; however, there is little understanding of their individual functions or their relationships with each other. In this study, we selected for suppressors of a temperature-sensitive spt6 mutation that disrupts the Spt6-Spn1 physical interaction and that also causes both transcription and chromatin defects. This selection identified novel mutations in FACT. Surprisingly, suppression by FACT did not restore the Spt6-Spn1 interaction, based on coimmunoprecipitation, ChIP, and mass spectrometry experiments. Furthermore, suppression by FACT bypassed the complete loss of Spn1. Interestingly, the FACT suppressor mutations cluster along the FACT-nucleosome interface, suggesting that they alter FACT-nucleosome interactions. In agreement with this observation, we showed that the spt6 mutation that disrupts the Spt6-Spn1 interaction caused an elevated level of FACT association with chromatin, while the FACT suppressors reduced the level of FACT-chromatin association, thereby restoring a normal Spt6-FACT balance on chromatin. Taken together, these studies reveal previously unknown regulation between histone chaperones that is critical for their essential in vivo functions.