Histone H3K27 trimethylation inhibits H3 binding and function of SET1-Like H3K4 methyltransferase complexes

Dae Hwan Kim, Zhanyun Tang, Miho Shimada, Beat Fierz, Brian Houck-Loomis, Maya Bar-Dagen, Seunghee Lee, Soo Kyung Lee, Tom W. Muir, Robert G. Roeder, Jae W. Lee

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37 Scopus citations


Trimethylated histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) and H3K27 generally mark transcriptionally active and repressive chromatins, respectively. In most cell types, these two modifications are mutually exclusive, and this segregation is crucial for the regulation of gene expression. However, how this anticorrelation is achieved has not been fully understood. Here, we show that removal of the H3K27 trimethyl mark facilitates recruitment of SET1-like H3K4 methyltransferase complexes to their target genes by eliciting a novel interaction between histone H3 and two common subunits, WDR5 and RBBP5, of SET1-like complexes. Consistent with this result, H3K27 trimethylation destabilizes interactions of H3 with SET1-like complexes and antagonizes their ability to carry out H3K4 trimethylation of peptide (H3 residues 1 to 36), histone octamer, and mononucleosome substrates. Altogether, our studies reveal that H3K27 trimethylation of histone H3 represses a previously unrecognized interaction between H3 and SET1-like complexes. This provides an important mechanism that directs the anticorrelation between H3K4 and H3K27 trimethylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4936-4946
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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