Developmentally regulated post-translational modification of nucleoplasmin controls histone sequestration and deposition

Takashi Onikubo, Joshua J. Nicklay, Li Xing, Christopher Warren, Brandon Anson, Wei Lin Wang, Emmanuel S. Burgos, Sophie E. Ruff, Jeffrey Shabanowitz, R. Holland Cheng, Donald F. Hunt, David Shechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Nucleoplasmin (Npm) is an abundant histone chaperone in vertebrate oocytes and embryos. During embryogenesis, regulation of Npm histone binding is critical for its function in storing and releasing maternal histones to establish and maintain the zygotic epigenome. Here, we demonstrate that Xenopus laevis Npm post-translational modifications (PTMs) specific to the oocyte and egg promote either histone deposition or sequestration, respectively. Mass spectrometry and Npm phosphomimetic mutations used in chromatin assembly assays identified hyperphosphorylation on the N-terminal tail as a critical regulator for sequestration. C-terminal tail phosphorylation and PRMT5-catalyzed arginine methylation enhance nucleosome assembly by promoting histone interaction with the second acidic tract of Npm. Electron microscopy reconstructions of Npm and TTLL4 activity toward the C-terminal tail demonstrate that oocyte- and egg-specific PTMs cause Npm conformational changes. Our results reveal that PTMs regulate Npm chaperoning activity by modulating Npm conformation and Npm-histone interaction, leading to histone sequestration in the egg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1735-1748
Number of pages14
JournalCell Reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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