Molecular cell

Histone H3 lysine 9 methylation and HP1gamma are associated with transcription elongation through mammalian chromatin.

PMID 16061184


Methylation of histones modulates chromatin structure and function. Whereas methylation of histone H3 on lysines 4, 36, and 79 has been linked with gene activation, methylation of H3 on lysines 9 and 27 and histone H4 on lysine 20 is associated with heterochromatin and some repressed genes within euchromatin. Here, we show that H3K9 di- and trimethylation occur in the transcribed region of active genes in mammalian chromatin. This modification is dynamic, as it increases during activation of transcription and is rapidly removed upon gene repression. Heterochromatin Protein 1gamma (HP1gamma), a protein containing a chromo-domain that recognizes H3K9 methylation, is also present in the transcribed region of all active genes examined. Both the presence of HP1gamma and H3K9 methylation are dependent upon elongation by RNA polymerase II. These findings demonstrate novel roles for H3K9 methylation and HP1gamma in transcription activation.