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      Histone methyltransferases direct different degrees of methylation to define distinct chromatin domains.

      Molecular Cell

      Animals, Cells, Cultured, Chromatin, metabolism, Fibroblasts, cytology, Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase, Histones, Humans, Lysine, Methylation, Methyltransferases, Mice, Protein Methyltransferases, Repressor Proteins, Transcription, Genetic

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          Abstract

          The functional significance of mono-, di-, and trimethylation of lysine residues within histone proteins remains unclear. Antibodies developed to selectively recognize each of these methylated states at histone H3 lysine 9 (H3 Lys9) demonstrated that mono- and dimethylation localized specifically to silent domains within euchromatin. In contrast, trimethylated H3 Lys9 was enriched at pericentric heterochromatin. Enzymes known to methylate H3 Lys9 displayed remarkably different enzymatic properties in vivo. G9a was responsible for all detectable H3 Lys9 dimethylation and a significant amount of monomethylation within silent euchromatin. In contrast, Suv39h1 and Suv39h2 directed H3 Lys9 trimethylation specifically at pericentric heterochromatin. Thus, different methylated states of H3 Lys9 are directed by specific histone methyltransferases to "mark" distinct domains of silent chromatin.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Transcription regulation by histone methylation: interplay between different covalent modifications of the core histone tails.

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            A complex with chromatin modifiers that occupies E2F- and Myc-responsive genes in G0 cells.

            E2F-6 contributes to gene silencing in a manner independent of retinoblastoma protein family members. To better elucidate the molecular mechanism of repression by E2F-6, we have purified the factor from cultured cells. E2F-6 is found in a multimeric protein complex that contains Mga and Max, and thus the complex can bind not only to the E2F-binding site but also to Myc- and Brachyury-binding sites. Moreover, the complex contains chromatin modifiers such as a novel histone methyltransferase that modifies lysine 9 of histone H3, HP1gamma, and Polycomb group (PcG) proteins. The E2F-6 complex preferentially occupies target promoters in G0 cells rather than in G1 cells. These data suggest that these chromatin modifiers contribute to silencing of E2F- and Myc-responsive genes in quiescent cells.
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              Set domain-containing protein, G9a, is a novel lysine-preferring mammalian histone methyltransferase with hyperactivity and specific selectivity to lysines 9 and 27 of histone H3.

              The covalent modification of histone tails has regulatory roles in various nuclear processes, such as control of transcription and mitotic chromosome condensation. Among the different groups of enzymes known to catalyze the covalent modification, the most recent additions are the histone methyltransferases (HMTases), whose functions are now being characterized. Here we show that a SET domain-containing protein, G9a, is a novel mammalian lysine-preferring HMTase. Like Suv39 h1, the first identified lysine-preferring mammalian HMTase, G9a transfers methyl groups to the lysine residues of histone H3, but with a 10-20-fold higher activity. It was reported that lysines 4, 9, and 27 in H3 are methylated in mammalian cells. G9a was able to add methyl groups to lysine 27 as well as 9 in H3, compared with Suv39 h1, which was only able to methylate lysine 9. Our data clearly demonstrated that G9a has an enzymatic nature distinct from Suv39 h1 and its homologue h2. Finally, fluorescent protein-labeled G9a was shown to be localized in the nucleus but not in the repressive chromatin domains of centromeric loci, in which Suv39 h1 family proteins were localized. This finding indicates that G9a may contribute to the organization of the higher order chromatin structure of non-centromeric loci.
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                Journal
                14690610

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