Histone H2B ubiquitination is a dynamic modification that promotes methylation of histone H3K79 and H3K4. This crosstalk is important for the DNA damage response and has been implicated in cancer. Here, we show that in engineered yeast strains, ubiquitins tethered to every nucleosome promote H3K79 and H3K4 methylation from a proximal as well as a more distal site, but only if in a correct orientation. This plasticity indicates that the exact location of the attachment site, the native ubiquitin-lysine linkage and ubiquitination cycles are not critical for trans-histone crosstalk in vivo. The flexibility in crosstalk also indicates that other ubiquitination events may promote H3 methylation.
Keywords: Dot1; Set1; chromatin; crosstalk; histone ubiquitination.
© 2014 The Authors.