Ubiquitylation of histone H2B at lysine 120 (H2B-Ub), a post-translational modification first discovered in 1980, plays a critical role in diverse nuclear processes including the regulation of transcription and DNA damage repair. Herein, we use a suite of protein chemistry methods to explore how H2B-Ub stimulates hDot1L-mediated methylation of histone H3 on lysine 79 (H3K79me). By using semisynthetic 'designer' chromatin containing H2B-Ub bearing a site-specifically installed photocrosslinker, here we report an interaction between a functional hotspot on ubiquitin and the N-terminus of histone H2A. Our biochemical studies indicate that this interaction is required for stimulation of hDot1L activity and leads to a repositioning of hDot1L on the nucleosomal surface, which likely places the active site of the enzyme proximal to H3K79. Collectively, our data converge on a possible mechanism for hDot1L stimulation in which H2B-Ub physically 'corrals' the enzyme into a productive binding orientation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology