Chromatibody, a novel non-invasive molecular tool to explore and manipulate chromatin in living cells.
Jullien D., Vignard J., Fedor Y., Béry N., Olichon A., Crozatier M., Erard M., Cassard H., Ducommun B., Salles B., Mirey G.
Chromatin function is involved in many cellular processes, its visualization or modification being essential in many developmental or cellular studies. Here, we present the characterization of chromatibody, a chromatin-binding single-domain, and explore its use in living cells. This non-intercalating tool specifically binds the heterodimer of H2A-H2B histones and displays a versatile reactivity, specifically labeling chromatin from yeast to mammals. We show that this genetically encoded probe, when fused to fluorescent proteins, allows non-invasive real-time chromatin imaging. Chromatibody is a dynamic chromatin probe that can be modulated. Finally, chromatibody is an efficient tool to target an enzymatic activity to the nucleosome, such as the DNA damage-dependent H2A ubiquitylation, which can modify this epigenetic mark at the scale of the genome and result in DNA damage signaling and repair defects. Taken together, these results identify chromatibody as a universal non-invasive tool for either in vivo chromatin imaging or to manipulate the chromatin landscape.