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Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Apr 23;47(7):3434-3449. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz101.

Set1-catalyzed H3K4 trimethylation antagonizes the HIR/Asf1/Rtt106 repressor complex to promote histone gene expression and chronological life span.

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State Key Laboratory of Biocatalysis and Enzyme Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Hubei University, Wuhan, Hubei 430062, China.
Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 1000 E. 50th Street, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


Aging is the main risk factor for many prevalent diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating aging at the cellular level are largely unknown. Using single cell yeast as a model organism, we found that reducing yeast histone proteins accelerates chronological aging and increasing histone supply extends chronological life span. We sought to identify pathways that regulate chronological life span by controlling intracellular histone levels. Thus, we screened the histone H3/H4 mutant library to uncover histone residues and posttranslational modifications that regulate histone gene expression. We discovered 15 substitution mutations with reduced histone proteins and 5 mutations with increased histone proteins. Among these mutations, we found Set1 complex-catalyzed H3K4me3 promotes histone gene transcription and maintains normal chronological life span. Unlike the canonical functions of H3K4me3 in gene expression, H3K4me3 facilitates histone gene transcription by acting as a boundary to restrict the spread of the repressive HIR/Asf1/Rtt106 complex from histone gene promoters. Collectively, our study identified a novel mechanism by which H3K4me3 antagonizes the HIR/Asf1/Rtt106 repressor complex to promote histone gene expression and extend chronological life span.

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