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Cell. 2002 Oct 4;111(1):105-15.

Crystal structure and functional analysis of the histone methyltransferase SET7/9.

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Structural Biology Group, National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London, United Kingdom.


Methylation of lysine residues in the N-terminal tails of histones is thought to represent an important component of the mechanism that regulates chromatin structure. The evolutionarily conserved SET domain occurs in most proteins known to possess histone lysine methyltransferase activity. We present here the crystal structure of a large fragment of human SET7/9 that contains a N-terminal beta-sheet domain as well as the conserved SET domain. Mutagenesis identifies two residues in the C terminus of the protein that appear essential for catalytic activity toward lysine-4 of histone H3. Furthermore, we show how the cofactor AdoMet binds to this domain and present biochemical data supporting the role of invariant residues in catalysis, binding of AdoMet, and interactions with the peptide substrate.

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