Histone H3 lysine 4 methylation is mediated by Set1 and required for cell growth and rDNA silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Academic Article uri icon


  • Histone methylation is known to be associated with both transcriptionally active and repressive chromatin states. Recent studies have identified SET domain-containing proteins such as SUV39H1 and Clr4 as mediators of H3 lysine 9 (Lys9) methylation and heterochromatin formation. Interestingly, H3 Lys9 methylation is not observed from bulk histones isolated from asynchronous populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Tetrahymena thermophila. In contrast, H3 lysine 4 (Lys4) methylation is a predominant modification in these smaller eukaryotes. To identify the responsible methyltransferase(s) and to gain insight into the function of H3 Lys4 methylation, we have developed a histone H3 Lys4 methyl-specific antiserum. With this antiserum, we show that deletion of SET1, but not of other putative SET domain-containing genes, in S. cerevisiae, results in the complete abolishment of H3 Lys4 methylation in vivo. Furthermore, loss of H3 Lys4 methylation in a set1 Delta strain can be rescued by SET1. Analysis of histone H3 mutations at Lys4 revealed a slow-growth defect similar to a set1 Delta strain. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays show that H3 Lys4 methylation is present at the rDNA locus and that Set1-mediated H3 Lys4 methylation is required for repression of RNA polymerase II transcription within rDNA. Taken together, these data suggest that Set1-mediated H3 Lys4 methylation is required for normal cell growth and transcriptional silencing.

published proceedings

  • Genes Dev

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Briggs, S. D., Bryk, M., Strahl, B. D., Cheung, W. L., Davie, J. K., Dent, S. Y., Winston, F., & Allis, C. D.

citation count

  • 497

complete list of authors

  • Briggs, SD||Bryk, M||Strahl, BD||Cheung, WL||Davie, JK||Dent, SY||Winston, F||Allis, CD

publication date

  • December 2001