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      Understanding the relationship between DNA methylation and histone lysine methylation

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          Abstract

          DNA methylation acts as an epigenetic modification in vertebrate DNA. Recently it has become clear that the DNA and histone lysine methylation systems are highly interrelated and rely mechanistically on each other for normal chromatin function in vivo. Here we examine some of the functional links between these systems, with a particular focus on several recent discoveries suggesting how lysine methylation may help to target DNA methylation during development, and vice versa. In addition, the emerging role of non-methylated DNA found in CpG islands in defining histone lysine methylation profiles at gene regulatory elements will be discussed in the context of gene regulation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Methylation: A Multifaceted Modification — looking at transcription and beyond.

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          Highlights

          • There is an emerging realisation that DNA and histone lysine methylation in mammals are highly interrelated.

          • Targeting of DNA methylation is mechanistically linked to H3K9 methylation.

          • Uhrf1 acts as a link between H3K9 methylation and maintenance methylation during DNA replication.

          • Targeting of Dnmt3a/b is influenced by H3K4 and H3K36 methylation.

          • Non-methylated DNA at CpG islands influences histone methylation through ZF-CxxC proteins.

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          Most cited references 117

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          DNMT3L connects unmethylated lysine 4 of histone H3 to de novo methylation of DNA.

          Mammals use DNA methylation for the heritable silencing of retrotransposons and imprinted genes and for the inactivation of the X chromosome in females. The establishment of patterns of DNA methylation during gametogenesis depends in part on DNMT3L, an enzymatically inactive regulatory factor that is related in sequence to the DNA methyltransferases DNMT3A and DNMT3B. The main proteins that interact in vivo with the product of an epitope-tagged allele of the endogenous Dnmt3L gene were identified by mass spectrometry as DNMT3A2, DNMT3B and the four core histones. Peptide interaction assays showed that DNMT3L specifically interacts with the extreme amino terminus of histone H3; this interaction was strongly inhibited by methylation at lysine 4 of histone H3 but was insensitive to modifications at other positions. Crystallographic studies of human DNMT3L showed that the protein has a carboxy-terminal methyltransferase-like domain and an N-terminal cysteine-rich domain. Cocrystallization of DNMT3L with the tail of histone H3 revealed that the tail bound to the cysteine-rich domain of DNMT3L, and substitution of key residues in the binding site eliminated the H3 tail-DNMT3L interaction. These data indicate that DNMT3L recognizes histone H3 tails that are unmethylated at lysine 4 and induces de novo DNA methylation by recruitment or activation of DNMT3A2.
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            Essential role for de novo DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a in paternal and maternal imprinting.

            Imprinted genes are epigenetically marked during gametogenesis so that they are exclusively expressed from either the paternal or the maternal allele in offspring. Imprinting prevents parthenogenesis in mammals and is often disrupted in congenital malformation syndromes, tumours and cloned animals. Although de novo DNA methyltransferases of the Dnmt3 family are implicated in maternal imprinting, the lethality of Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b knockout mice has precluded further studies. We here report the disruption of Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b in germ cells, with their preservation in somatic cells, by conditional knockout technology. Offspring from Dnmt3a conditional mutant females die in utero and lack methylation and allele-specific expression at all maternally imprinted loci examined. Dnmt3a conditional mutant males show impaired spermatogenesis and lack methylation at two of three paternally imprinted loci examined in spermatogonia. By contrast, Dnmt3b conditional mutants and their offspring show no apparent phenotype. The phenotype of Dnmt3a conditional mutants is indistinguishable from that of Dnmt3L knockout mice, except for the discrepancy in methylation at one locus. These results indicate that both Dnmt3a and Dnmt3L are required for methylation of most imprinted loci in germ cells, but also suggest the involvement of other factors.
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              The COMPASS family of histone H3K4 methylases: mechanisms of regulation in development and disease pathogenesis.

              The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Set1/COMPASS was the first histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methylase identified over 10 years ago. Since then, it has been demonstrated that Set1/COMPASS and its enzymatic product, H3K4 methylation, is highly conserved across the evolutionary tree. Although there is only one COMPASS in yeast, Drosophila possesses three and humans bear six COMPASS family members, each capable of methylating H3K4 with nonredundant functions. In yeast, the histone H2B monoubiquitinase Rad6/Bre1 is required for proper H3K4 and H3K79 trimethylations. The machineries involved in this process are also highly conserved from yeast to human. In this review, the process of histone H2B monoubiquitination-dependent and -independent histone H3K4 methylation as a mark of active transcription, enhancer signatures, and developmentally poised genes is discussed. The misregulation of histone H2B monoubiquitination and H3K4 methylation result in the pathogenesis of human diseases, including cancer. Recent findings in this regard are also examined.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Biochim Biophys Acta
                Biochim. Biophys. Acta
                Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
                Elsevier Pub. Co
                0006-3002
                1 December 2014
                December 2014
                : 1839
                : 12
                : 1362-1372
                Affiliations
                Department of Biochemistry, South Parks Road, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QU, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: + 44 1865 613230. rob.klose@ 123456bioch.ox.ac.uk
                [1]

                Tel.: + 44 1865 613230.

                Article
                S1874-9399(14)00028-5
                10.1016/j.bbagrm.2014.02.007
                4316174
                24560929
                © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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