H3 K79 dimethylation marks developmental activation of the beta-globin gene but is reduced upon LCR-mediated high-level transcription.

PMID 18441235


Genome-wide analyses of the relationship between H3 K79 dimethylation and transcription have revealed contradictory results. To clarify this relationship at a single locus, we analyzed expression and H3 K79 modification levels of wild-type (WT) and transcriptionally impaired beta-globin mutant genes during erythroid differentiation. Analysis of fractionated erythroid cells derived from WT/Delta locus control region (LCR) heterozygous mice reveals no significant H3 K79 dimethylation of the beta-globin gene on either allele prior to activation of transcription. Upon transcriptional activation, H3 K79 di-methylation is observed along both WT and DeltaLCR alleles, and both alleles are located in proximity to H3 K79 dimethylation nuclear foci. However, H3 K79 di-methylation is significantly increased along the DeltaLCR allele compared with the WT allele. In addition, analysis of a partial LCR deletion mutant reveals that H3 K79 dimethylation is inversely correlated with beta-globin gene expression levels. Thus, while our results support a link between H3 K79 dimethylation and gene expression, high levels of this mark are not essential for high level beta-globin gene transcription. We propose that H3 K79 dimethylation is destabilized on a highly transcribed template.