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J Cell Biol. 2011 Aug 22;194(4):551-65. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201010090.

The histone methyltransferase Set7/9 promotes myoblast differentiation and myofibril assembly.

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McAllister Heart Institute, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


The molecular events that modulate chromatin structure during skeletal muscle differentiation are still poorly understood. We report in this paper that expression of the H3-K4 histone methyltransferase Set7 is increased when myoblasts differentiate into myotubes and is required for skeletal muscle development, expression of muscle contractile proteins, and myofibril assembly. Knockdown of Set7 or expression of a dominant-negative Set7 mutant impairs skeletal muscle differentiation, accompanied by a decrease in levels of histone monomethylation (H3-K4me1). Set7 directly interacts with MyoD to enhance expression of muscle differentiation genes. Expression of myocyte enhancer factor 2 and genes encoding contractile proteins is decreased in Set7 knockdown myocytes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Set7 also activates muscle gene expression by precluding Suv39h1-mediated H3-K9 methylation on the promoters of myogenic differentiation genes. Together, our experiments define a biological function for Set7 in muscle differentiation and provide a molecular mechanism by which Set7 modulates myogenic transcription factors during muscle differentiation.

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