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J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 5;277(14):11621-4. Epub 2002 Feb 15.

Histone H3 lysine 4 methylation disrupts binding of nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) repressor complex.

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  • 1Wellcome/Cancer Research UK Institute, Tennis Court Rd., Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Histone N-terminal tails are post-translationally modified in many ways. At lysine residues, histones can be either acetylated or methylated. Both modifications lead to the binding of specific proteins; bromodomain proteins, such as GCN5, bind acetyl lysines and the chromodomain protein, HP1, binds methyl lysine 9 of histone H3. Here we show that the previously characterized transcriptional repressor complex NuRD (nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase) binds to the histone H3 N-terminal tail and that methylation at lysine 4, but not lysine 9, prevents binding. Given that lysine 4 methylation is found at sites of active transcription, these results suggest that a function of lysine 4 methylation is to disrupt the association of histones with a repressor complex.

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