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Modulation of Action of Wheat Seedling Endonucleases WEN1 and WEN2 by Histones

L. I. Fedoreyeva1,2, T. A. Smirnova1,2, G. Ya. Kolomijtseva2, and B. F. Vanyushin1,2*

1All-Russian Research Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, ul. Timiryazevskaya 42, 127550 Moscow, Russia

2Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: vanyush@belozersky.msu.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received September 14, 2012; Revision received January 17, 2013
Wheat core histones and various subfractions of histone H1 modulate differently the action of endonucleases WEN1 and WEN2 from wheat seedlings. The character of this modulation depends on the nature of the histone and the methylation status of the substrate DNA. The modulation of enzyme action occurs at different stages of processive DNA hydrolysis and is accompanied by changes in the site specificity of the enzyme action. It seems that endonuclease WEN1 prefers to bind with protein-free DNA stretches in histone H1—DNA complex. The endonuclease WEN1 does not compete with histone H1/6 for DNA binding sites, but it does compete with histone H1/1, probably for binding with methylated sites of DNA. Unlike histone H1, the core histone H2b binds with endonuclease WEN1 and significantly increases its action. This is associated with changes in the site specificity of the enzyme action that is manifested by a significant increase in the amount of low molecular weight oligonucleotides and mononucleotides produced as a result of hydrolysis of DNA fragments with 120-140-bp length. The WEN2 endonuclease binds with histone–DNA complexes only through histones. The action of WEN2 is increased or decreased depending on the nature of the histone. Histone H1/1 stimulated the exonuclease activity of WEN2. It is supposed that endonucleases WEN1 and WEN2, in addition to the catalytic domain, should have a regulatory domain that is involved in binding of histones. As histone H1 is mainly located in the linker chromatin areas, it is suggested that WEN2 should attack DNA just in the chromatin linker zones. As differentiated from WEN2, DNA hydrolysis with endonuclease WEN1 is increased in the presence of core histones and, in particular, of H2b. Endonuclease WEN1 initially attacks different DNA sites in chromatin than WEN2. Endonuclease WEN2 activity can be increased or diminished depending on presence of histone H1 subfractions. It seems that just different fractions of the histone H1 are responsible for regulation of the stepwise DNA degradation by endonuclease WEN2 during apoptosis. Modulation of the action of the endonucleases by histones can play a significant role in the epigenetic regulation of various genetic processes and functional activity of genes.
KEY WORDS: endonucleases, H1, core histones, plants, wheat, modulation of action

DOI: 10.1134/S000629791305009X