Asf1 can promote trimethylation of H3 K36 by Set2

Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Mar;30(5):1116-29. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01229-09. Epub 2010 Jan 4.


Asf1 is a conserved histone H3/H4 chaperone that can assemble and disassemble nucleosomes and promote histone acetylation. Set2 is an H3 K36 methyltransferase. The functions of these proteins intersect in the context of transcription elongation by RNA polymerase II: both contribute to the establishment of repressive chromatin structures that inhibit spurious intragenic transcription. Here we characterize further interactions between budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) Asf1 and Set2 using assays of intragenic transcription, H3/H4 posttranslational modification, coding region cross-linking of Asf1 and Set2, and cooccurrence of Asf1 and Set2 in protein complexes. We find that at some genes Asf1 and Set2 control chromatin metabolism as components of separate pathways. However, the existence of a low-abundance complex containing both proteins suggests that Asf1 and Set2 can more directly collaborate in chromatin regulation. Consistent with this possibility, we show that Asf1 stimulates Set2 occupancy of the coding region of a highly transcribed gene by a mechanism that depends on Asf1 binding to H3/H4. This function of Asf1 promotes the switch from di- to trimethylation of H3 K36 at that gene. These results support the view that Set2 function in chromatin metabolism can intimately involve histone chaperone Asf1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • DNA, Fungal / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Histones / chemistry
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • ASF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • DNA, Fungal
  • Histones
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Methyltransferases
  • Set2 protein, S cerevisiae