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The SUV39H1 Protein Lysine Methyltransferase Methylates Chromatin Proteins Involved in Heterochromatin Formation and VDJ Recombination

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posted on 07.02.2017, 00:00 by Srikanth Kudithipudi, Maren Kirstin Schuhmacher, Adam Fiseha Kebede, Albert Jeltsch
SUV39H1 is an H3K9 methyltransferase involved in the formation of heterochromatin. We investigated its substrate specificity profile and show recognition of H3 residues between K4 and G12 with highly specific readout of R8. The specificity profile of SUV39H1 is distinct from its paralog SUV39H2, indicating that they can have different additional substrates. Using the specificity profile, several novel SUV39H1 candidate substrates were identified. We observed methylation of 19 novel substrates at the peptide level and for six of them at the protein level. Methylation of RAG2, SET8, and DOT1L was confirmed in cells, which all have important roles in chromatin regulation. Methylation of SET8 allosterically stimulates its H4K20 monomethylation activity connecting SUV39H1 to the generation of increased H4K20me3 levels, another heterochromatic modification. Methylation of RAG2 alters its subnuclear localization, indicating that SUV39H1 might regulate VDJ recombination. Taken together, our results indicate that beyond the generation of H3K9me3, SUV39H1 has additional roles in chromatin biology by direct stimulation of the establishment of H4K20me3 and the regulation of chromatin binding of RAG2.