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Phosphorylation of H3S10 blocks the access of H3K9 by specific antibodies and histone methyltransferase. Implication in regulating chromatin dynamics and epigenetic inheritance during mitosis.

Department of Environmental Medicine and Pharmacology, New York University School of Medicine, Tuxedo, New York 10987, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 11/2008; 283(48):33585-90. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M803312200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Post-translational modifications of histones play a critical role in regulating genome structures and integrity. We have focused on the regulatory relationship between covalent modifications of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) and H3S10 during the cell cycle. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that H3S10 phosphorylation in HeLa, A549, and HCT116 cells was high during prophase, prometaphase, and metaphase, whereas H3K9 monomethylation (H3K9me1) and dimethylation (H3K9me2), but not H3K9 trimethylation (H3K9me3), were significantly suppressed. When H3S10 phosphorylation started to diminish during anaphase, H3K9me1 and H3K9me2 signals reemerged. Western blot analyses confirmed that mitotic histones, extracted in an SDS-containing buffer, had little H3K9me1 and H3K9me2 signals but abundant H3K9me3 signals. However, when mitotic histones were extracted in the same buffer without SDS, the difference in H3K9me1 and H3K9me2 signals between interphase and mitotic cells disappeared. Removal of H3S10 phosphorylation by pretreatment with lambda-phosphatase unmasked mitotic H3K9me1 and H3K9me2 signals detected by both fluorescence microscopy and Western blotting. Further, H3S10 phosphorylation completely blocked methylation of H3K9 but not demethylation of the same residue in vitro. Given that several conserved motifs consisting of a Lys residue immediately followed by a Ser residue are present in histone tails, our studies reveal a potential new mechanism by which phosphorylation not only regulates selective access of methylated lysines by cellular factors but also serves to preserve methylation patterns and epigenetic programs during cell division.

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