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Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Oct;28(19):6044-55. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00823-08. Epub 2008 Aug 4.

Direct interaction between DNA methyltransferase DIM-2 and HP1 is required for DNA methylation in Neurospora crassa.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1229, USA.


DNA methylation is involved in gene silencing and genomic stability in mammals, plants, and fungi. Genetics studies of Neurospora crassa have revealed that a DNA methyltransferase (DIM-2), a histone H3K9 methyltransferase (DIM-5), and heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) are required for DNA methylation. We explored the interrelationships of these components of the methylation machinery. A yeast two-hybrid screen revealed that HP1 interacts with DIM-2. We confirmed the interaction in vivo and demonstrated that it involves a pair of PXVXL-related motifs in the N-terminal region of DIM-2 and the chromo shadow domain of HP1. Both regions are essential for proper DNA methylation. We also determined that DIM-2 and HP1 form a stable complex independently of the trimethylation of histone H3K9, although the association of DIM-2 with its substrate sequences depends on trimethyl-H3K9. The DIM-2/HP1 complex does not include DIM-5. We conclude that DNA methylation in Neurospora is largely or exclusively the result of a unidirectional pathway in which DIM-5 methylates histone H3K9 and then the DIM-2/HP1 complex recognizes the resulting trimethyl-H3K9 mark via the chromo domain of HP1.

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