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  • Histone H3 lysine 36 methyltransferase Whsc1 promotes the association of Runx2 and p300 in the activation of bone-related genes.

Histone H3 lysine 36 methyltransferase Whsc1 promotes the association of Runx2 and p300 in the activation of bone-related genes.

PloS one (2014-09-05)
Yu Fei Lee, Keisuke Nimura, Wan Ning Lo, Kotaro Saga, Yasufumi Kaneda
ABSTRACT

The orchestration of histone modifiers is required to establish the epigenomic status that regulates gene expression during development. Whsc1 (Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome candidate 1), a histone H3 lysine 36 (H3K36) trimethyltransferase, is one of the major genes associated with Wolf-Hirshhorn syndrome, which is characterized by skeletal abnormalities. However, the role of Whsc1 in skeletal development remains unclear. Here, we show that Whsc1 regulates gene expression through Runt-related transcription factor (Runx) 2, a transcription factor central to bone development, and p300, a histone acetyltransferase, to promote bone differentiation. Whsc1-/- embryos exhibited defects in ossification in the occipital bone and sternum. Whsc1 knockdown in pre-osteoblast cells perturbed histone modification patterns in bone-related genes and led to defects in bone differentiation. Whsc1 increased the association of p300 with Runx2, activating the bone-related genes Osteopontin (Opn) and Collagen type Ia (Col1a1), and Whsc1 suppressed the overactivation of these genes via H3K36 trimethylation. Our results suggest that Whsc1 fine-tunes the expression of bone-related genes by acting as a modulator in balancing H3K36 trimethylation and histone acetylation. Our results provide novel insight into the mechanisms by which this histone methyltransferase regulates gene expression.

MATERIALS
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