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EMBO J. 2009 Jun 17;28(12):1697-707. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.108. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

H3 lysine 4 di- and tri-methylation deposited by cryptic transcription attenuates promoter activation.

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  • 1Centre de Génétique Moléculaire CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Gif sur Yvette, France.


Set1-dependent H3K4 di- and tri-methylation (H3K4me2/3) have been associated with active transcription. Recent data indicate that the H3K4me2/3 also plays a poorly characterized RNA-dependent repressive role. Here, we show that GAL1 promoter is attenuated by the H3K4me2/3 deposited by cryptic transcription. The H3K4me2/3 delay the recruitment of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) and TBP on GAL1 promoter. Inactivation of RNA decay components revealed the existence of the RNAPII-dependent unstable RNAs, initiating upstream of GAL1 (GAL1ucut). GAL1ucut RNAs are synthesized in glucose and require the Reb1 transcription factor. Consistent with a regulatory function of the cryptic transcription, Reb1 depletion leads to a decrease of H3K4me3 on GAL10-GAL1 locus in glucose and to an acceleration of GAL1 induction. A candidate approach shows that the RPD3 histone deacetylase attenuates GAL1 induction and is tethered at the GAL10-GAL1 locus by H3K4me2/3 upon repression. Strikingly, Set1-dependent Rpd3 recruitment represses also the usage of a hidden promoter within SUC2, suggesting a general function for H3K4me2/3 in promoter fidelity. Our data support a model wherein certain promoters are embedded in a repressive chromatin controlled by cryptic transcription.

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