Charge-based interaction conserved within histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferase complexes is needed for protein stability, histone methylation, and gene expression

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Histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferases are conserved from yeast to humans, assemble in multisubunit complexes, and are needed to regulate gene expression. The yeast H3K4 methyltransferase complex, Set1 complex or complex of proteins associated with Set1 (COMPASS), consists of Set1 and conserved Set1-associated proteins: Swd1, Swd2, Swd3, Spp1, Bre2, Sdc1, and Shg1. The removal of the WD40 domain-containing subunits Swd1 and Swd3 leads to a loss of Set1 protein and consequently a complete loss ofH3K4methylation. However, until now, how these WD40 domain-containing proteins interact with Set1 and contribute to the stability of Set1 and H3K4 methylation has not been determined. In this study, we identified small basic and acidic patches that mediate protein interactions between theC terminus of Swd1 and the nSET domain of Set1. Absence of either the basic or acidic patches of Set1 and Swd1, respectively, disrupts the interaction between Set1 and Swd1, diminishes Set1 protein levels, and abolishesH3K4methylation. Moreover, these basic and acidic patches are also important for cell growth, telomere silencing, and gene expression. We also show that the basic and acidic patches of Set1 and Swd1 are conserved in their human counter-parts SET1A/B and RBBP5, respectively, and are needed for the protein interaction between SET1A and RBBP5. Therefore, this charge-based interaction is likely important for maintaining the protein stability of the human SET1A/B methyltransferase complexes so that proper H3K4 methylation, cell growth, and gene expression can also occur in mammals. © 2012 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry

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