Spirkoski J, Shah A, Reiner AH, Collas P, Delbarre E
Targeted deposition of histone variant H3.3 into chromatin is paramount for proper regulation of chromatin integrity, particularly in heterochromatic regions including repeats. We have recently shown that the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein prevents H3.3 from being deposited in large heterochromatic PML-associated domains (PADs). However, to what extent PML modulates H3.3 loading on chromatin in other areas of the genome remains unexplored. Here, we examined the impact of PML on targeting of H3.3 to genes and repeat regions that reside outside PADs. We show that loss of PML increases H3.3 deposition in subtelomeric, telomeric, pericentric and centromeric repeats in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, while other repeat classes are not affected. Expression of major satellite, minor satellite and telomeric non-coding transcripts is altered in Pml-null cells. In particular, telomeric Terra transcripts are strongly upregulated, in concordance with a marked reduction in H4K20me3 at these sites. Lastly, for most genes H3.3 enrichment or gene expression outcomes are independent of PML. Our data argue towards the importance of a PML-H3.3 axis in preserving a heterochromatin state at centromeres and telomeres.