Program in Molecular Medicine; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Genetics and Genomics
BACKGROUND: The evolution of multicellularity is a critical event that remains incompletely understood. We use the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum, one of the rare organisms that readily transits back and forth between both unicellular and multicellular stages, to examine the role of epigenetics in regulating multicellularity.
RESULTS: While transitioning to multicellular states, patterns of H3K4 methylation and H3K27 acetylation significantly change. By combining transcriptomics, epigenomics, chromatin accessibility, and orthologous gene analyses with other unicellular and multicellular organisms, we identify 52 conserved genes, which are specifically accessible and expressed during multicellular states. We validated that four of these genes, including the H3K27 deacetylase hdaD, are necessary and that an SMC-like gene, smcl1, is sufficient for multicellularity in Dictyostelium.
CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the importance of epigenetics in reorganizing chromatin architecture to facilitate multicellularity in Dictyostelium discoideum and raise exciting possibilities about the role of epigenetics in the evolution of multicellularity more broadly.
Acetylation, Dictyostelium discoideum, Epigenetics, HDAC, Methylation, Multicellularity, hdaD, smcl1, srfA
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DOI of Published Version
Wang SY, Pollina EA, Wang IH, Pino LK, Bushnell HL, Takashima K, Fritsche C, Sabin G, Garcia BA, Greer PL, Greer EL. Role of epigenetics in unicellular to multicellular transition in Dictyostelium. Genome Biol. 2021 May 4;22(1):134. doi: 10.1186/s13059-021-02360-9. PMID: 33947439; PMCID: PMC8094536. Link to article on publisher's site
Wang SY, Pollina EA, Wang I, Pino LK, Bushnell HL, Takashima K, Fritsche C, Sabin G, Garcia BA, Greer PL, Greer EL. (2021). Role of epigenetics in unicellular to multicellular transition in Dictyostelium. Open Access Publications by UMass Chan Authors. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-021-02360-9. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/oapubs/4735
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.