Chromatin is broadly compartmentalized in two defined states: euchromatin and heterochromatin. Generally, euchromatin is trimethylated on histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) while heterochromatin contains the H3K9me3 mark. The H3K9me3 modification is added by lysine methyltransferases (KMTs) such as sETDB1. herein, we show that sETDB1 interacts with its substrate h3, but only in the absence of the euchromatic mark H3K4me3. In addition, we show that SETDB1 fails to methylate substrates containing the H3K4me3 mark. Likewise, the functionally related H3K9 KMTS G9A, GLP AND SUV39H1 also fail to bind and to methylate H3K4me3 substrates. accordingly, we provide in vivo evidence that H3K9me2-enriched histones are devoid of H3K4me2/3 and that histones depleted of H3K4me2/3 have elevated H3K9me2/3. The correlation between the loss of interaction of these KMTs with H3K4me3 and concomitant methylation impairment leads to the postulate that, at least these four KMTs, require stable interaction with their respective substrates for optimal activity. Thus, novel substrates could be discovered via the identification of KMT interacting proteins. Indeed, we find that SETDB1 binds to and methylates a novel substrate, the inhibitor of growth protein ING2, while sUV39h1 binds to and methylates the heterochromatin protein HP1α. Thus, our observations suggest a mechanism of post-translational regulation of lysine methylation and propose a potential mechanism for the segregation of the biologically opposing marks, H3K4me3 and H3K9me3. Furthermore, the correlation between H3-KMTs interaction and substrate methylation highlights that the identification of novel KMT substrates may be facilitated by the identification of interaction partners.
- Histone methylation
- Lysine methyltransferase