Unabridged analysis of human histone H3 by differential top-down mass spectrometry reveals hypermethylated proteoforms from MMSET/NSD2 overexpression

Yupeng Zheng, Luca Fornelli, Philip D. Compton, Seema Sharma, Jesse Canterbury, Christopher Mullen, Vlad Zabrouskov, Ryan T. Fellers, Paul M. Thomas, Jonathan D. Licht, Michael W. Senko, Neil L. Kelleher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Histones, and their modifications, are critical components of cellular programming and epigenetic inheritance. Recently, cancer genome sequencing has uncovered driver mutations in chromatin modifying enzymes spurring high interest how such mutations change histone modification patterns. Here, we applied Top-Down mass spectrometry for the characterization of combinatorial modifications (i.e. methylation and acetylation) on full length histone H3 from human cell lines derived from multiple myeloma patients with overexpression of the histone methyltransferase MMSET as the result of a t(4;14) chromosomal translocation. Using the latest in Orbitrap-based technology for clean isolation of isobaric proteoforms containing up to 10 methylations and/or up to two acetylations, we provide extensive characterization of histone H3.1 and H3.3 proteoforms. Differential analysis of modifications by electron-based dissociation recapitulated antagonistic crosstalk between K27 and K36 methylation in H3.1, validating that full-length histone H3 (15 kDa) can be analyzed with site-specific assignments for multiple modifications. It also revealed K36 methylation in H3.3 was affected less by the overexpression of MMSET because of its higher methylation levels in control cells. The co-occurrence of acetylation with a minimum of three methyl groups in H3K9 and H3K27 suggested a hierarchy in the addition of certain modifications. Comparative analysis showed that high levels of MMSET in the myeloma-like cells drove the formation of hypermethyled proteoforms containing H3K36me2 co-existent with the repressive marks H3K9me2/3 and H3K27me2/3. Unique histone proteoforms with such "trivalent hypermethylation" (K9me2/3-K27me2/3-K36me2) were not discovered when H3.1 peptides were analyzed by Bottom-Up. Such disease-correlated proteoforms could link tightly to aberrant transcription programs driving cellular proliferation, and their precise description demonstrates that Top-Down mass spectrometry can now decode crosstalk involving up to three modified sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)776-790
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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