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PLoS Genet. 2012;8(12):e1003111. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003111. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

ATX1-generated H3K4me3 is required for efficient elongation of transcription, not initiation, at ATX1-regulated genes.

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School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China.


Tri-methylated H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) is associated with transcriptionally active genes, but its function in the transcription process is still unclear. Point mutations in the catalytic domain of ATX1 (ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX1), a H3K4 methyltransferase, and RNAi knockdowns of subunits of the AtCOMPASS-like (Arabidopsis Complex Proteins Associated with Set) were used to address this question. We demonstrate that both ATX1 and AtCOMPASS-like are required for high level accumulation of TBP (TATA-binding protein) and Pol II at promoters and that this requirement is independent of the catalytic histone modifying activity. However, the catalytic function is critically required for transcription as H3K4me3 levels determine the efficiency of transcription elongation. The roles of H3K4me3, ATX1, and AtCOMPASS-like may be of a general relevance for transcription of Trithorax-activated eukaryotic genes.

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