Bacterial remodelling of the host epigenome: functional role and evolution of effectors methylating host histones. - PubMed - NCBI

The modulation of the chromatin organization of eukaryotic cells plays
an important role in regulating key cellular processes including host
defence mechanisms against pathogens. Thus, to successfully survive in a
host cell, a sophisticated bacterial strategy is the subversion of
nuclear processes of the eukaryotic cell. Indeed, the number of
bacterial proteins that target host chromatin to remodel the host
epigenetic machinery is expanding. Some of the identified bacterial
effectors that target the chromatin machinery are "eukaryotic-like"
proteins as they mimic eukaryotic histone writers in carrying the same
enzymatic activities. The best-studied examples are the SET-domain
proteins that methylate histones to change the chromatin landscape. In
this review we will discuss SET-domain proteins identified in the
Legionella, Chlamydia and Bacillus genomes that encode enzymatic
activities targeting host histones. Moreover, we discuss their possible
origin as having evolved from prokaryotic ancestors or having been
acquired from their eukaryotic hosts during their co-evolution. The
characterization of such bacterial effectors as modifiers of the host
chromatin landscape is an exciting field of research as it elucidates
new bacterial strategies to manipulate host functions through histone
modifications but it also may identify new modifications of the
mammalian host cells not known before.

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