Cross-talk between histone modifications in response to histone deacetylase inhibitors: MLL4 links histone H3 acetylation and histone H3K4 methylation

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Histones are subject to a wide variety of post-translational modifications that play a central role in gene activation and silencing. We have used histone modification-specific antibodies to demonstrate that two histone modifications involved in gene activation, histone H3 acetylation and H3 lysine 4 methylation, are functionally linked. This interaction, in which the extent of histone H3 acetylation determines both the abundance and the "degree" of H3K4 methylation, plays a major role in the epigenetic response to histone deacetylase inhibitors. A combination of in vivo knockdown experiments and in vitro methyltransferase assays shows that the abundance of H3K4 methylation is regulated by the activities of two opposing enzyme activities, the methyltransferase MLL4, which is stimulated by acetylated substrates, and a novel and as yet unidentified H3K4me3 demethylase.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4408-4416
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2006