Trimethyl-lysine (me3) modifications on histones are the most stable epigenetic marks and they control chromatin-mediated regulation of gene expression. Here, we determine proteins that bind these marks by high-accuracy, quantitative mass spectrometry. These chromatin "readers" are assigned to complexes by interaction proteomics of full-length BAC-GFP-tagged proteins. ChIP-Seq profiling identifies their genomic binding sites, revealing functional properties. Among the main findings, the human SAGA complex binds to H3K4me3 via a double Tudor-domain in the C terminus of Sgf29, and the PWWP domain is identified as a putative H3K36me3 binding motif. The ORC complex, including LRWD1, binds to the three most prominent transcriptional repressive lysine methylation sites. Our data reveal a highly adapted interplay between chromatin marks and their associated protein complexes. Reading specific trimethyl-lysine sites by specialized complexes appears to be a widespread mechanism to mediate gene expression.
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