Synthesis of ADP-Ribosylated Histones Reveals Site-Specific Impacts on Chromatin Structure and Function.
ADP-ribosylation of nuclear proteins is a critical feature of various DNA damage repair pathways. Histones, particularly H3 and H2B, are major targets of ADP-ribosylation and are primarily modified on serine with a single ADP-ribose unit following DNA damage. While the overall impact of PARP1-dependent poly-ADP-ribosylation is heavily investigated, very little is known about the specific roles of histone ADP-ribosylation. Here, we report the development of an efficient and modular semisynthetic route to full-length ADP-ribosylated histones H3 and H2B, chemically installed at specific serine residues. The modified histones were used to generate various chemically defined ADP-ribosylated chromatin substrates, which were employed in biophysical assays. These studies revealed that ADP-ribosylation of serine-6 of histone H2B (H2BS6ADPr) inhibits chromatin folding and higher-order organization; notably, this effect was enhanced by ADP-ribosylation of H3S10. In addition, ADP-ribosylated nucleosomes were utilized in biochemical experiments employing a panel of lysine methyltransferase enzymes, revealing a context-dependent inhibition of histone H3K9 methylation. The availability of designer ADP-ribosylated chromatin described here is expected to facilitate further biochemical and structural studies regarding the roles of histone ADP-ribosylation in the DNA damage response.