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Nucleic Acids Res. 2008 Nov;36(20):6592-607. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkn699. Epub 2008 Oct 21.

NF-Y substitutes H2A-H2B on active cell-cycle promoters: recruitment of CoREST-KDM1 and fine-tuning of H3 methylations.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari e Biotecnologie, Università di Milano, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milano, Italy.


The CCAAT box is a frequent promoter element, as illustrated by bioinformatic analysis, and it is bound by NF-Y, a trimer with H2A-H2B-like subunits. We developed a MNase I-based ChIP protocol on homogeneous cell populations to study cell-cycle promoters at the single nucleosome level. We analyzed histone methylations and the association of enzymatic activities. Two novel results emerged: (i) H3-H4 are present on core promoters under active conditions, with the expected cohort of 'positive' modifications; H2A-H2B are removed and substituted by NF-Y. Through the use of a dominant negative mutant we show that NF-Y is important for H3K36me3 deposition and for elongation, not recruitment of Pol II; (ii) H3K4 methylations are highly dynamic and H3K4me1 is a crucial positive mark. Functional siRNA inactivation and treatment with Tranylcypromine determined that KDM1 (LSD1) plays a positive role in transcription, specifically of G2/M genes. It requires CoREST, which is recruited on active promoters through direct interactions with NF-Y. These data are the first in vivo indication of a crucial interplay between core histones and 'deviant' histone-fold such as NF-Y, leading to fine-tuning of histone methylations.

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