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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2014 Oct;21:75-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2014.07.004. Epub 2014 Jul 19.

ATX1/AtCOMPASS and the H3K4me3 marks: how do they activate Arabidopsis genes?

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Department of Agronomy and Plant Science Innovation, UNL, Lincoln, NE 68588-6008, USA.
School of Biological Science, UNL, Lincoln, NE 68588-6008, USA. Electronic address:


Despite the proven correlation between gene transcriptional activity and the levels of tri-methyl marks on histone 3 lysine4 (H3K4me3) of their nucleosomes, whether H3K4me3 contributes to, or 'registers', activated transcription is still controversial. Other questions of broad relevance are whether histone-modifying proteins are involved in the recruitment of Pol II and the general transcription machinery and whether they have roles other than their enzyme activities. We address these questions as well as the roles of the ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG OF TRITHORAX1 (ATX1), of the COMPASS-related (AtCOMPASS) protein complex, and of their product, H3K4me3, at ATX1-dependent genes. We suggest that the ambiguity about the role of H3K4me3 as an activating mark is due to the unknown duality of the ATX1/AtCOMPASS to facilitate PIC assembly and to generate H3K4me3, which is essential for activating transcriptional elongation.

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