Cooperation between SMYD3 and PC4 drives a distinct transcriptional program in cancer cells

Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Oct 15;43(18):8868-83. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv874. Epub 2015 Sep 8.


SET and MYND domain containing protein 3 (SMYD3) is a histone methyltransferase, which has been implicated in cell growth and cancer pathogenesis. Increasing evidence suggests that SMYD3 can influence distinct oncogenic processes by acting as a gene-specific transcriptional regulator. However, the mechanistic aspects of SMYD3 transactivation and whether SMYD3 acts in concert with other transcription modulators remain unclear. Here, we show that SMYD3 interacts with the human positive coactivator 4 (PC4) and that such interaction potentiates a group of genes whose expression is linked to cell proliferation and invasion. SMYD3 cooperates functionally with PC4, because PC4 depletion results in the loss of SMYD3-mediated H3K4me3 and target gene expression. Individual depletion of SMYD3 and PC4 diminishes the recruitment of both SMYD3 and PC4, indicating that SMYD3 and PC4 localize at target genes in a mutually dependent manner. Artificial tethering of a SMYD3 mutant incapable of binding to its cognate elements and interacting with PC4 to target genes is sufficient for achieving an active transcriptional state in SMYD3-deficient cells. These observations suggest that PC4 contributes to SMYD3-mediated transactivation primarily by stabilizing SMYD3 occupancy at target genes. Together, these studies define expanded roles for SMYD3 and PC4 in gene regulation and provide an unprecedented documentation of their cooperative functions in stimulating oncogenic transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histones
  • SUB1 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • SMYD3 protein, human