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You are here: Home / Teams / Structure and Interactions of Molecular Biosystems - M. Spichty / Publications / The C. elegans SET-2/SET1 histone H3 Lys4 (H3K4) methyltransferase preserves genome stability in the germline.

The C. elegans SET-2/SET1 histone H3 Lys4 (H3K4) methyltransferase preserves genome stability in the germline.

M Herbette, M G Mercier, F Michal, D Cluet, C Burny, G Yvert, V J Robert, and F Palladino (2017)

DNA Repair (Amst), 57:139-150.

Maintaining the integrity of genetic information across generations is essentialfor both cell survival and reproduction, and requires the timely repair of DNA damage. Histone-modifying enzymes play a central role in the DNA repair process through the deposition and removal of post-translational modifications on the histone tails. Specific histone modification act in the DNA repair process through the recruitment of proteins and complexes with specific enzymatic activities, or by altering the chromatin state at the site of DNA lesions. The conserved SET1/MLL family of histone methyltransferases (HMT) catalyzes methylation of histone H3 on Lysine 4 (H3K4), a histone modification universallyassociated with actively transcribed genes. Studies have focused on the role of SET1/MLL proteins in epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Much less is known on their role in the DNA repair process in a developmental context. Here we showthat SET-2, the Caenorhabditis elegans orthologue of SET1, is required to preserve germline genome integrity over subsequent generations. Animals lacking the SET-2 catalytic subunit show a transgenerational increase in sensitivity to DNA damage-inducing agents that is accompanied by a defect in double-strand break (DSB) repair and chromosome fragmentation. These defects are not due to a failure to activate the DNA damage response (DDR) that allows detection, signaling and repair of DNA lesions, because cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, key components of this pathway, are efficiently induced in set-2 mutant animal. Rather, our results suggest that SET-2 plays a role in the transgenerational maintenance of genome stability by acting in DNA repair downstream of DDR signaling.

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