The Trithorax group protein ASH1 requires a combination of BAH domain and AT hooks, but not the SET domain, for mitotic chromatin binding and survival

Chromosoma. 2021 Sep;130(2-3):215-234. doi: 10.1007/s00412-021-00762-z. Epub 2021 Jul 31.


The Drosophila Trithorax group (TrxG) protein ASH1 remains associated with mitotic chromatin through mechanisms that are poorly understood. ASH1 dimethylates histone H3 at lysine 36 via its SET domain. Here, we identify domains of the TrxG protein ASH1 that are required for mitotic chromatin attachment in living Drosophila. Quantitative live imaging demonstrates that ASH1 requires AT hooks and the BAH domain but not the SET domain for full chromatin binding in metaphase, and that none of these domains are essential for interphase binding. Genetic experiments show that disruptions of the AT hooks and the BAH domain together, but not deletion of the SET domain alone, are lethal. Transcriptional profiling demonstrates that intact ASH1 AT hooks and the BAH domain are required to maintain expression levels of a specific set of genes, including several involved in cell identity and survival. This study identifies in vivo roles for specific ASH1 domains in mitotic binding, gene regulation, and survival that are distinct from its functions as a histone methyltransferase.

Keywords: ASH1; Chromatin; Drosophila; Mitosis; Trithorax.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AT-Hook Motifs
  • Animals
  • Chromatin* / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins* / metabolism
  • Drosophila / cytology*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins* / metabolism
  • PR-SET Domains
  • Transcription Factors* / genetics
  • Transcription Factors* / metabolism


  • ASH1 protein, Drosophila
  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Transcription Factors