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Genes Dev. 2002 Sep 1;16(17):2219-24.

Dynamic changes in histone H3 Lys 9 methylation occurring at tightly regulated inducible inflammatory genes.

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  • 1Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Via Vela 6, CH6501, Bellinzona, Switzerland.


Methylation of histone H3 at Lys 9 is causally linked to formation of heterochromatin and to long-term transcriptional repression. We report an unexpected pattern of H3 Lys 9 methylation occurring at a subset of inducible inflammatory genes. This pattern is characterized by relatively low constitutive levels of H3 Lys 9 methylation that are erased upon activation and restored concurrently with post-induction transcriptional repression. Changes in H3 Lys 9 methylation strongly correlate with RNA polymerase II recruitment and release. In particular, remethylation correlates with RNApolII release more strongly than does histone deacetylation. We propose that, by generating a window of time in which transcription is permitted, dynamic modulation of H3 Lys 9 methylation adds an additional regulatory level to transcriptional activation of tightly controlled inducible genes.

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