H3K4 Methylation Dependent and Independent Chromatin Regulation by JHD2 and SET1 in Budding Yeast

G3 (Bethesda). 2018 May 4;8(5):1829-1839. doi: 10.1534/g3.118.200151.


Set1 and Jhd2 regulate the methylation state of histone H3 lysine-4 (H3K4me) through their opposing methyltransferase and demethylase activities in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae H3K4me associates with actively transcribed genes and, like both SET1 and JHD2 themselves, is known to regulate gene expression diversely. It remains unclear, however, if Set1 and Jhd2 act solely through H3K4me. Relevantly, Set1 methylates lysine residues in the kinetochore protein Dam1 while genetic studies of the S. pombe SET1 ortholog suggest the existence of non-H3K4 Set1 targets relevant to gene regulation. We interrogated genetic interactions of JHD2 and SET1 with essential genes involved in varied aspects of the transcription cycle. Our findings implicate JHD2 in genetic inhibition of the histone chaperone complexes Spt16-Pob3 (FACT) and Spt6-Spn1 This targeted screen also revealed that JHD2 inhibits the Nrd1-Nab3-Sen1 (NNS) transcription termination complex. We find that while Jhd2's impact on these transcription regulatory complexes likely acts via H3K4me, Set1 governs the roles of FACT and NNS through opposing H3K4-dependent and -independent functions. We also identify diametrically opposing consequences for mutation of H3K4 to alanine or arginine, illuminating that caution must be taken in interpreting histone mutation studies. Unlike FACT and NNS, detailed genetic studies suggest an H3K4me-centric mode of Spt6-Spn1 regulation by JHD2 and SET1 Chromatin immunoprecipitation and transcript quantification experiments show that Jhd2 opposes the positioning of a Spt6-deposited nucleosome near the transcription start site of SER3, a Spt6-Spn1 regulated gene, leading to hyper-induction of SER3 In addition to confirming and extending an emerging role for Jhd2 in the control of nucleosome occupancy near transcription start sites, our findings suggest some of the chromatin regulatory functions of Set1 are independent of H3K4 methylation.

Keywords: JHD2; SET1; histone methylation; histone mutants; transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / metabolism*
  • Lysine / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Saccharomycetales / genetics
  • Saccharomycetales / metabolism*
  • Suppression, Genetic
  • Temperature
  • Transcription Initiation Site


  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • Protein Subunits
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • JHD2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • SET1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Lysine

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