Structural and functional analysis of SET8, a histone H4 Lys-20 methyltransferase

Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.
Genes & Development (Impact Factor: 10.8). 07/2005; 19(12):1455-65. DOI: 10.1101/gad.1318405
Source: PubMed


SET8 (also known as PR-SET7) is a histone H4-Lys-20-specific methyltransferase that is implicated in cell-cycle-dependent transcriptional silencing and mitotic regulation in metazoans. Herein we report the crystal structure of human SET8 (hSET8) bound to a histone H4 peptide bearing Lys-20 and the product cofactor S-adenosylhomocysteine. Histone H4 intercalates in the substrate-binding cleft as an extended parallel beta-strand. Residues preceding Lys-20 in H4 engage in an extensive array of salt bridge, hydrogen bond, and van der Waals interactions with hSET8, while the C-terminal residues bind through predominantly hydrophobic interactions. Mutational analysis of both the substrate-binding cleft and histone H4 reveals that interactions with residues in the N and C termini of the H4 peptide are critical for conferring substrate specificity. Finally, analysis of the product specificity indicates that hSET8 is a monomethylase, consistent with its role in the maintenance of Lys-20 monomethylation during cell division.

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    • "The transferred methyl group is derived from the cofactor S-adenyosyl-L-methionine (SAM), and the transfer reaction gives rise to the cofactor product S-adenyosyl-L-homocysteine (AdoHcy). Several structures have been determined of SET domains in the presence of AdoHcy, allowing the identification of the conserved substrate-binding pocket of the protein (see, for example, [39], [40]). To test whether or not FOG-PR might also act as a methyltransferase domain, we titrated AdoHcy into a solution of 15N-labeled FOG-PR and recorded 15N-HSQC spectra. "
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    ABSTRACT: FOG1 is a transcriptional regulator that acts in concert with the hematopoietic master regulator GATA1 to coordinate the differentiation of platelets and erythrocytes. Despite considerable effort, however, the mechanisms through which FOG1 regulates gene expression are only partially understood. Here we report the discovery of a previously unrecognized domain in FOG1: a PR (PRD-BF1 and RIZ) domain that is distantly related in sequence to the SET domains that are found in many histone methyltransferases. We have used NMR spectroscopy to determine the solution structure of this domain, revealing that the domain shares close structural similarity with SET domains. Titration with S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine, the cofactor product synonymous with SET domain methyltransferase activity, indicated that the FOG PR domain is not, however, likely to function as a methyltransferase in the same fashion. We also sought to define the function of this domain using both pulldown experiments and gel shift assays. However, neither pulldowns from mammalian nuclear extracts nor yeast two-hybrid assays reproducibly revealed binding partners, and we were unable to detect nucleic-acid-binding activity in this domain using our high-diversity Pentaprobe oligonucleotides. Overall, our data demonstrate that FOG1 is a member of the PRDM (PR domain containing proteins, with zinc fingers) family of transcriptional regulators. The function of many PR domains, however, remains somewhat enigmatic for the time being.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "All ternary structures of SET domain methyltransferases in complex with cofactor and substrate have the substrate peptide lying in a narrow groove formed by the I-SET domain on one side, and the post-SET domain on the opposite side. This peptide binding groove is responsible for substrate sequence specificity and positions the substrate lysine side chain into a conserved channel that goes deep into the core of the SET domain and meets the cofactor at the conserved active site as described above (Figure 2) ([38,43,44,47,48,49,50,51,52] and PDB code 4AU7). The width of the peptide-binding groove is critical for catalysis, and the distance separating the two edges is between 7.2 and 7.8 Å across all available structures of active SET domain constructs (see materials and methods section for details). "
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    ABSTRACT: Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is an important regulator of cellular differentiation and cell type identity. Overexpression or activating mutations of EZH2, the catalytic component of the PRC2 complex, are linked to hyper-trimethylation of lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) in many cancers. Potent EZH2 inhibitors that reduce levels of H3K27me3 kill mutant lymphoma cells and are efficacious in a mouse xenograft model of malignant rhabdoid tumors. Unlike most SET domain methyltransferases, EZH2 requires PRC2 components, SUZ12 and EED, for activity, but the mechanism by which catalysis is promoted in the PRC2 complex is unknown. We solved the 2.0 Å crystal structure of the EZH2 methyltransferase domain revealing that most of the canonical structural features of SET domain methyltransferase structures are conserved. The site of methyl transfer is in a catalytically competent state, and the structure clarifies the structural mechanism underlying oncogenic hyper-trimethylation of H3K27 in tumors harboring mutations at Y641 or A677. On the other hand, the I-SET and post-SET domains occupy atypical positions relative to the core SET domain resulting in incomplete formation of the cofactor binding site and occlusion of the substrate binding groove. A novel CXC domain N-terminal to the SET domain may contribute to the apparent inactive conformation. We propose that protein interactions within the PRC2 complex modulate the trajectory of the post-SET and I-SET domains of EZH2 in favor of a catalytically competent conformation.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Given the adaptations of apicomplexans toward intracellular niches, the acquisition of a major epigenetic regulator that governs and faithfully affirms chromatin-silencing marks could have been a critical step by protozoans for parasitism in diverse hosts with increasingly complex immune systems. H4K20Me1, the epigenetic mark deposited on histones by canonical Set8, is known to participate in gene silencing, heterochromatin formation and mitotic regulation as well as DNA damage checkpoint repair [27-29]. We propose that the acquisition of Set8 enabled higher order gene regulation, including cellular differentiation (for invading different hosts) as well as for animal immune system evasion. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The acquisition of complex transcriptional regulatory abilities and epigenetic machinery facilitated the transition of the ancestor of apicomplexans from a free-living organism to an obligate parasite. The ability to control sophisticated gene expression patterns enabled these ancient organisms to evolve several differentiated forms, invade multiple hosts and evade host immunity. How these abilities were acquired remains an outstanding question in protistan biology. Results In this work, we study SET domain bearing genes that are implicated in mediating immune evasion, invasion and cytoadhesion pathways of modern apicomplexans, including malaria parasites. We provide the first conclusive evidence of a horizontal gene transfer of a Histone H4 Lysine 20 (H4K20) modifier, Set8, from an animal host to the ancestor of apicomplexans. Set8 is known to contribute to the coordinated expression of genes involved in immune evasion in modern apicomplexans. We also show the likely transfer of a H3K36 methyltransferase (Ashr3 from plants), possibly derived from algal endosymbionts. These transfers appear to date to the transition from free-living organisms to parasitism and coincide with the proposed horizontal acquisition of cytoadhesion domains, the O-glycosyltransferase that modifies these domains, and the primary family of transcription factors found in apicomplexan parasites. Notably, phylogenetic support for these conclusions is robust and the genes clearly are dissimilar to SET sequences found in the closely related parasite Perkinsus marinus, and in ciliates, the nearest free-living organisms with complete genome sequences available. Conclusions Animal and plant sources of epigenetic machinery provide new insights into the evolution of parasitism in apicomplexans. Along with the horizontal transfer of cytoadhesive domains, O-linked glycosylation and key transcription factors, the acquisition of SET domain methyltransferases marks a key transitional event in the evolution to parasitism in this important protozoan lineage.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · BMC Evolutionary Biology
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