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HELLS and CDCA7 comprise a bipartite nucleosome remodeling complex defective in ICF syndrome

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Christopher Jenness, Simona Giunta, Manuel M. Müller, Hiroshi Kimura, Tom W. Muir, and Hironori Funabiki


Published in PNAS 30;115(5):E876-E885, Jan 2018 (Link)


The molecular basis of immunodeficiency–centromeric instability–facial anomalies (ICF) syndrome is poorly understood. ICF is caused by mutations in HELLS, CDCA7, or the DNA methyltransferase DNMT3b. While these mutations all cause DNA methylation defects, little is known about the molecular function of CDCA7. It has been speculated that HELLS, which belongs to the SNF2 family ATPase, facilitates DNA methylation by DNMT3b through nucleosome remodeling, but HELLS on its own fails to exhibit such an activity. Here, starting from a comparative proteomic analysis of chromatin proteins in frog egg extracts, we demonstrated that CDCA7 is required for HELLS to associate with chromatin and exert nucleosome remodeling activity. Our finding delineates the molecular pathway involving CDCA7, HELLS, and DNMT3b.


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