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Science 292 (5514): 110-113

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Role of Histone H3 Lysine 9 Methylation in Epigenetic Control of Heterochromatin Assembly

Jun-ichi Nakayama,1 Judd C. Rice,2 Brian D. Strahl,2 C. David Allis,2 Shiv I. S. Grewal1*

The assembly of higher order chromatin structures has been linked to the covalent modifications of histone tails. We provide in vivo evidence that lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3 Lys9) is preferentially methylated by the Clr4 protein at heterochromatin-associated regions in fission yeast. Both the conserved chromo- and SET domains of Clr4 are required for H3 Lys9 methylation in vivo. Localization of Swi6, a homolog of Drosophila HP1, to heterochomatic regions is dependent on H3 Lys9 methylation. Moreover, an H3-specific deacetylase Clr3 and a beta -propeller domain protein Rik1 are required for H3 Lys9 methylation by Clr4 and Swi6 localization. These data define a conserved pathway wherein sequential histone modifications establish a "histone code" essential for the epigenetic inheritance of heterochromatin assembly.

1 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Post Office Box 100, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.
2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: grewal{at}

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H3K9 Methylation Regulates Growth and Development in Aspergillus fumigatus.
J. M. Palmer, R. M. Perrin, T. R. T. Dagenais, and N. P. Keller (2008)
Eukaryot. Cell 7, 2052-2060
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Rad51 suppresses gross chromosomal rearrangement at centromere in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
K.-i. Nakamura, A. Okamoto, Y. Katou, C. Yadani, T. Shitanda, C. Kaweeteerawat, T. S. Takahashi, T. Itoh, K. Shirahige, H. Masukata, et al. (2008)
EMBO J. 27, 3036-3046
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The cohesin complex and its roles in chromosome biology.
J.-M. Peters, A. Tedeschi, and J. Schmitz (2008)
Genes & Dev. 22, 3089-3114
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