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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 23;8(7):e70035. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070035. Print 2013.

A dual role for SAGA-associated factor 29 (SGF29) in ER stress survival by coordination of both histone H3 acetylation and histone H3 lysine-4 trimethylation.

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Department of Molecular Cancer Research, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The SGF29 protein binds to tri-methylated lysine-4 of histone H3 (H3K4me3), which is a histone modification associated with active promoters. Human SGF29 is a subunit of the histone acetyltransferase module of the SAGA (Spt-Ada-Gcn5 acetyltransferase) and ATAC (Ada-Two-A-containing 2A) co-activator complexes. Previous work revealed that the SAGA complex is recruited to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress target genes and required for their induction. Here, we report the involvement of SGF29 in the survival of human cells from ER stress. SGF29 knockdown results in impaired transcription of the ER stress genes GRP78 and CHOP. Besides histone H3K14 acetylation, we find that SGF29 is also required for the maintenance of H3K4me3 at these genes, which is already present prior to ER stress. Reduced levels of H3K4me3 in the absence of SGF29 correlate with a decreased association of ASH2L, which is a core component of the SET1/MLL complexes, to GFP78 and CHOP. In conclusion, our results suggest that the H3K4me3-binding protein SGF29 plays a central and dual role in the ER stress response. Prior to ER stress, the protein coordinates H3K4me3 levels, thereby maintaining a 'poised' chromatin state on ER stress target gene promoters. Following ER stress induction, SGF29 is required for increased H3K14 acetylation on these genes, which then results in full transcriptional activation, thereby promoting cell survival.

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