- The methyl-lysine readers plant homeodomain finger protein 20 (PHF20) and its homolog PHF20-like protein 1 (PHF20L1) are known components of the nonspecific lethal (NSL) complex that regulates gene expression through its histone acetyltransferase activity. In the current model, both PHF homologs coexist in the same NSL complex, although this was not formally tested; nor have the functions of PHF20 and PHF20L1 regarding NSL complex integrity and transcriptional regulation been investigated. Here, we perform an in-depth biochemical and functional characterization of PHF20 and PHF20L1 in the context of the NSL complex.
- CARM1 is a protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) that acts as a coactivator in a number of transcriptional programs. CARM1 orchestrates this coactivator activity in part by depositing the H3R17me2a histone mark in the vicinity of gene promoters that it regulates. However, the gross levels of H3R17me2a in CARM1 KO mice did not significantly decrease, indicating that other PRMT(s) may compensate for this loss. We thus performed a screen of type I PRMTs, which revealed that PRMT6 can also deposit the H3R17me2a mark in vitro.
- Set7/9 (also known as Set7, Set9, Setd7, and Kmt7) is a lysine methyltransferase that catalyzes the methylation of multiple substrates, including histone H3 and non-histone proteins. Although not essential for normal development and physiology, Set7/9-mediated methylation events play important roles in regulating cellular pathways involved in various human diseases, making Set7/9 a promising therapeutic target. Multiple Set7/9 inhibitors have been developed, which exhibit varying degrees of potency and selectivity in vitro.
- The lysine methyltransferase NSD2 is overexpressed and carries gain-of-function mutations in a number of different cancers, making it an attractive therapeutic target. However, no specific small molecule inhibitors have been identified for this enzyme, responsible for depositing the H3K36me2 mark on histones. A new study reports a robust platform for high-throughput screening (HTS) assays to facilitate this discovery.
- Spindlin1 (SPIN1) is a transcriptional coactivator with critical functions in embryonic development and emerging roles in cancer. SPIN1 harbors three Tudor domains, two of which engage the tail of histone H3 by reading the H3–Lys-4 trimethylation and H3–Arg-8 asymmetric dimethylation marks. To gain mechanistic insight into how SPIN1 functions as a transcriptional coactivator, here we purified its interacting proteins. We identified an uncharacterized protein (C11orf84), which we renamed SPIN1 docking protein (SPIN·DOC), that directly binds SPIN1 and strongly disrupts its histone methylation reading ability, causing it to disassociate from chromatin.
- The transition from transcription initiation to elongation is a key regulatory step in gene expression, which requires RNA polymerase II (pol II) to escape promoter proximal pausing on chromatin. Although elongation factors promote pause release leading to transcription elongation, the role of epigenetic modifications during this critical transition step is poorly understood. Two histone marks on histone H3, lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) and lysine 9 acetylation (H3K9ac), co-localize on active gene promoters and are associated with active transcription.