Histone methyltransferase Suv39h1 represses MyoD-stimulated myogenic differentiation

EMBO J. 2006 Jul 26;25(14):3323-34. doi: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7601229. Epub 2006 Jul 13.


Suv39h1 is a histone H3 lysine-9 (H3-K9) specific methyltransferase (HMT) that is associated with gene silencing through chromatin modification. The transition from proliferation into differentiation of muscle cell is accompanied by transcriptional activation of previously silent muscle genes. I report Suv39h1 interaction with myogenic regulator MyoD in proliferating muscle cells and its HMT activity, which is associated with MyoD, diminishes as differentiation proceeds. The Suv39h1-MyoD complex was detected on the chromatin regulatory regions of a silent differentiation signal muscle gene myogenin and that Suv39h1 presence correlated with H3-K9 methylation. Increased Suv39h1 expression repressed MyoD-dependent muscle gene expression and this property required its HMT activity. This repression required Suv39h1 association with MyoD as well as sustained methylation of H3-K9 on myogenin promoter. Suv39h1 was required for muscle gene repression because its abrogation by siRNA activates these gene expressions by MyoD. These findings suggest that Suv39h1 presence in association with MyoD on the promoter of muscle genes silences gene transcription, providing a necessary checkpoint between proliferation and differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • HeLa Cells
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / deficiency
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Methyltransferases / deficiency
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • MyoD Protein / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • MyoD Protein / physiology
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*


  • MyoD Protein
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Suv39h1 protein, mouse
  • Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase