Molecular and Cellular Biology
American Society for Microbiology
During spermiogenesis, the post-meiotic phase of mammalian spermatogenesis, transcription is progressively repressed as nuclei of haploid spermatids are compacted through a dramatic chromatin reorganization involving hyper-acetylation and replacement of most histones with protamines. Although BRDT functions in transcription and histone removal in spermatids, it is unknown whether other BET family proteins play a role. Immunofluorescence of spermatogenic cells revealed BRD4 in a ring around the nuclei of spermatids containing hyper-acetylated histones. The ring lies directly adjacent to the acroplaxome, the cytoskeletal base of the acrosome, previously linked to chromatin reorganization. The BRD4 ring does not form in acrosomal mutant mice. ChIP sequencing in spermatids revealed enrichment of BRD4 and acetylated histones at the promoters of active genes. BRD4 and BRDT show distinct and synergistic binding patterns, with a pronounced enrichment of BRD4 at spermatogenesis-specific genes. Direct association of BRD4 with acetylated H4 decreases in late spermatids as acetylated histones are removed from the condensing nucleus in a wave following the progressing acrosome. These data provide evidence for a prominent transcriptional role of BRD4 and suggest a possible removal mechanism for chromatin components from the genome via the progressing acrosome as transcription is repressed in response to chromatin condensation during spermiogenesis.
Bryant, Jessica M.; Donahue, Greg; Wang, Xiaoshi; Meyer-Ficca, Mirella; Luense, Lacey J.; Weller, Angela H.; Bartolomei, Marisa S.; Blobel, Gerd A.; Meyer, Ralph G.; Garcia, Benjamin A.; and Berger, Shelley L., "Characterization of BRD4 during mammalian post-meiotic sperm development" (2015). ADVS Faculty Publications. Paper 1204.