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Mol Cell. 2010 Oct 8;40(1):9-21. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.09.014.

CRL4(Cdt2) regulates cell proliferation and histone gene expression by targeting PR-Set7/Set8 for degradation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


PR-Set7/Set8 is a cell-cycle-regulated enzyme that monomethylates lysine 20 of histone H4 (H4K20). Set8 and monomethylated H4K20 are virtually undetectable during G1 and S phases of the cell cycle but increase in late S and in G2. We identify CRL4(Cdt2) as the principal E3 ubiquitin ligase responsible for Set8 proteolytic degradation in the S phase of the cell cycle, which requires Set8-PCNA interaction. Inactivation of the CRL4-Cdt2-PCNA-Set8 degradation axis results in (1) DNA damage and the induction of tumor suppressor p53 and p53-transactivated proapoptotic genes, (2) delayed progression through G2 phase of the cell cycle due to activation of the G2/M checkpoint, (3) specific repression of histone gene transcription and depletion of the histone proteins, and (4) repression of E2F1-dependent gene transcription. These results demonstrate a central role of CRL4(Cdt2)-dependent cell-cycle regulation of Set8 for the maintenance of a stable epigenetic state essential for cell viability.

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