Histone 3 lysine 4 monomethylation supports activation of transcription in S. cerevisiae during nutrient stress. Academic Article uri icon


  • Mono-methylation of the fourth lysine on the N-terminal tail of histone H3 was found to support the induction of RNA polymerase II transcription in S. cerevisiae during nutrient stress. In S. cerevisiae, the mono-, di- and tri-methylation of lysine 4 on histone H3 (H3K4) is catalyzed by the protein methyltransferase, Set1. The three distinct methyl marks on H3K4 act in discrete ways to regulate transcription. Nucleosomes enriched with tri-methylated H3K4 are usually associated with active transcription whereas di-methylated H3K4 is associated with gene repression. Mono-methylated H3K4 has been shown to repress gene expression in S. cerevisiae and is detected at enhancers and promoters in eukaryotes. S. cerevisiae set1 mutants unable to methylate H3K4 exhibit growth defects during histidine starvation. The growth defects are rescued by either a wild-type allele of SET1 or partial-function alleles of set1, including a mutant that predominantly generates H3K4me1 and not H3K4me3. Rescue of the growth defect is associated with induction of the HIS3 gene. Growth defects observed when set1 cultures were starved for isoleucine and valine were also rescued by wild-type SET1 or partial-function set1 alleles. The results show that H3K4me1, in the absence of H3K4me3, supports transcription of the HIS3 gene and expression of one or more of the genes required for biosynthesis of isoleucine and valine during nutrient stress. Set1-like methyltransferases are evolutionarily conserved, and research has linked their functions to developmental gene regulation and several cancers in higher eukaryotes. Identification of mechanisms of H3K4me1-mediated activation of transcription in budding yeast will provide insight into gene regulation in all eukaryotes.

published proceedings

  • Curr Genet

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Deshpande, N., Jordan, R., Henderson Pozzi, M., & Bryk, M.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Deshpande, Neha||Jordan, Rachel||Henderson Pozzi, Michelle||Bryk, Mary

publication date

  • April 2022