Nature, 25 December, 2019，DOI：https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1877-9
H2A.Z facilitates licensing and activation of early replication origins
Haizhen Long, Liwei Zhang, Mengjie Lv, Zengqi Wen, Wenhao Zhang, Xiulan Chen, Peitao Zhang, Tongqing Li, Luyuan Chang, Caiwei Jin, Guozhao Wu, Xi Wang, Fuquan Yang, Jianfeng Pei, Ping Chen, Raphael Margueron, Haiteng Deng, Mingzhao Zhu & Guohong Li
DNA replication is a tightly regulated process that ensures the precise duplication of the genome during the cell cycle1. In eukaryotes, the licensing and activation of replication origins are regulated by both DNA sequence and chromatin features2. However, the chromatin-based regulatory mechanisms remain largely uncharacterized. Here we show that, in HeLa cells, nucleosomes containing the histone variant H2A.Z are enriched with histone H4 that is dimethylated on its lysine 20 residue (H4K20me2) and with bound origin-recognition complex (ORC). In vitro studies show that H2A.Z-containing nucleosomes bind directly to the histone lysine methyltransferase enzyme SUV420H1, promoting H4K20me2 deposition, which is in turn required for ORC1 binding. Genome-wide studies show that signals from H4K20me2, ORC1 and nascent DNA strands co-localize with H2A.Z, and that depletion of H2A.Z results in decreased H4K20me2, ORC1 and nascent-strand signals throughout the genome. H2A.Z-regulated replication origins have a higher firing efficiency and early replication timing compared with other origins. Our results suggest that the histone variant H2A.Z epigenetically regulates the licensing and activation of early replication origins and maintains replication timing through the SUV420H1–H4K20me2–ORC1 axis.