Targeted recruitment of Set1 histone methylase by elongating Pol II provides a localized mark and memory of recent transcriptional activity

Mol Cell. 2003 Mar;11(3):709-19. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(03)00092-3.


Set1, the yeast histone H3-lysine 4 (H3-K4) methylase, is recruited by the Pol II elongation machinery to a highly localized domain at the 5' portion of active mRNA coding regions. Set1 association depends upon the TFIIH-associated kinase that phosphorylates the Pol II C-terminal domain (CTD) and mediates the transition between initiation and elongation, and Set1 interacts with the form of Pol II whose CTD is phosphorylated at serine 5 but not serine 2. The Rtf1 and Paf1 components of the Pol II-associated Paf1 complex are also important for Set1 recruitment. Although the level of dimethylated H3-K4 is fairly uniform throughout the genome, the pattern of trimethylated H3-K4 strongly correlates with Set1 occupancy. Hypermethylated H3-K4 within the mRNA coding region persists for considerable time after transcriptional inactivation and Set1 dissociation from the chromatin, indicating that H3-K4 hypermethylation provides a molecular memory of recent transcriptional activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Ligases / metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Phosphorylation
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / chemistry*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Serine / metabolism
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histones
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PAF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RTF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein
  • Transcription Factors
  • Serine
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • SET1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes
  • DNA Polymerase II
  • Ligases