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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 May 27;331(1):93-9.

5-Azacytidine suppresses RNA polymerase II recruitment to the SLPI gene.

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  • 1Airway Disease Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, Dovehouse Street, London SW3 6LY, UK.


Histone methylation is regarded as a stable modification important in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Transcriptionally active chromatin is methylated at H3-K4 whereas repressed chromatin is methylated at H3-K9. To investigate the role of histone methylation in an acute inflammatory response, A549 cells were treated with IL-1beta and/or the methylase inhibitor 5-azacytidine (5-aza), and histone H3-K4 methylation levels and transcription of secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) were measured. IL-1beta stimulation enhanced histone H3-K4 tri-methylation across the SLPI coding region at 24h. In parallel, IL-1beta enhanced recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the SLPI gene. 5-aza attenuated both H3-K4 tri-methylation and RNA polymerase II recruitment to a similar extent resulting in reduced SLPI mRNA and protein levels. These data suggest that in addition to epigenetic regulation of constitutive SLPI expression, H3-K4 tri-methylation may play a role in stimulated SLPI expression by modulating RNA polymerase II recruitment and subsequent gene transcription.

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