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Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Apr;42(6):3580-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt1377. Epub 2014 Jan 13.

The PR-Set7 binding domain of Riz1 is required for the H4K20me1-H3K9me1 trans-tail 'histone code' and Riz1 tumor suppressor function.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


PR-Set7/Set8/KMT5a is the sole histone H4 lysine 20 monomethyltransferase (H4K20me1) in metazoans and is essential for proper cell division and genomic stability. We unexpectedly discovered that normal cellular levels of monomethylated histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me1) were also dependent on PR-Set7, but independent of its catalytic activity. This observation suggested that PR-Set7 interacts with an H3K9 monomethyltransferase to establish the previously reported H4K20me1-H3K9me1 trans-tail 'histone code'. Here we show that PR-Set7 specifically and directly binds the C-terminus of the Riz1/PRDM2/KMT8 tumor suppressor and demonstrate that the N-terminal PR/SET domain of Riz1 preferentially monomethylates H3K9. The PR-Set7 binding domain was required for Riz1 nuclear localization and maintenance of the H4K20me1-H3K9me1 trans-tail 'histone code'. Although Riz1 can function as a repressor, Riz1/H3K9me1 was dispensable for the repression of genes regulated by PR-Set7/H4K20me1. Frameshift mutations resulting in a truncated Riz1 incapable of binding PR-Set7 occur frequently in various aggressive cancers. In these cancer cells, expression of wild-type Riz1 restored tumor suppression by decreasing proliferation and increasing apoptosis. These phenotypes were not observed in cells expressing either the Riz1 PR/SET domain or PR-Set7 binding domain indicating that Riz1 methyltransferase activity and PR-Set7 binding domain are both essential for Riz1 tumor suppressor function.

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