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Mol Cell. 2013 Mar 28;49(6):1121-33. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2013.01.034. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

The n-SET domain of Set1 regulates H2B ubiquitylation-dependent H3K4 methylation.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Past studies have documented a crosstalk between H2B ubiquitylation (H2Bub) and H3K4 methylation, but little (if any) direct evidence exists explaining the mechanism underlying H2Bub-dependent H3K4 methylation on chromatin templates. Here, we took advantage of an in vitro histone methyltransferase assay employing a reconstituted yeast Set1 complex (ySet1C) and a recombinant chromatin template containing fully ubiquitylated H2B to gain valuable insights. Combined with genetic analyses, we demonstrate that the n-SET domain within Set1, but not Swd2, is essential for H2Bub-dependent H3K4 methylation. Spp1, a homolog of human CFP1, is conditionally involved in this crosstalk. Our findings extend to the human Set1 complex, underscoring the conserved nature of this disease-relevant crosstalk pathway. As not all members of the H3K4 methyltransferase family contain n-SET domains, our studies draw attention to the n-SET domain as a predictor of an H2B ubiquitylation-sensing mechanism that leads to downstream H3K4 methylation.

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