H3.3 barcoding of nucleus accumbens transcriptional activity identifies novel molecular cascades associated with cocaine self-administration in mice

Mathieu E. Wimmer, Bruno Fant, Sarah E. Swinford-Jackson, Alexander Testino, Duncan Van Nest, Ted Abel, R. Christopher Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although numerous epigenetic modifications have been associated with addiction, little work has explored the turnover of histone variants. Uniquely, the H3.3 variant incorporates stably and preferentially into chromatin independently of DNA replication at active sites of transcription and transcription factor binding. Thus, genomic regions associated with H3.3-containing nucleosomes are particularly likely to be involved in plasticity, such as following repeated cocaine exposure. A recently developed mouse line expressing a neuron-specific hemagglutinin (HA)-tagged H3.3 protein was used to track transcriptionally active sites cumulatively across 19 d of cocaine self-administration. RNA-seq and H3.3-HA ChIP-seq analyses were performed on NAcc tissue collected following cocaine or food self-administration in male mice. RNA sequencing revealed five genes upregulated in cocaine relative to food self-administering mice: Fosb, Npas4, Vgf, Nptx2, and Pmepa1, which reflect known and novel cocaine plasticity-associated genes. Subsequent ChIP-seq analysis confirmed increased H3.3 aggregation at four of these five loci, thus validating H3.3 insertion as a marker of enhanced cocaine-induced transcription. Further motif recognition analysis of the ChIP-seq data showed that cocaine-associated differential H3.3 accumulation correlated with the presence of several transcription factor binding motifs, including RBPJ1, EGR1, and SOX4, suggesting that these are potentially important regulators of molecular cascades associated with cocaine-induced neuronal plasticity. Additional ontological analysis revealed differential H3.3 accumulation mainly near genes involved in neuronal differentiation and dendrite formation. These results establish the H3.3-HA transgenic mouse line as a compelling molecular barcoding tool to identify the cumulative effects of long-term environmental perturbations, such as exposure to drugs of abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5247-5254
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume39
Issue number27
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience

Keywords

  • CHIP-seq
  • EGR1
  • Histone
  • RBPJ1
  • RNA-seq
  • SOX4

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