Appropriate gene expression relies on the sophisticated interplay between genetic and epigenetic factors. Histone acetylation and an open chromatin configuration are key features of transcribed regions and are mainly present around active promoters. Our recent identification of the SET-domain containing protein UpSET established a new functional link between the modulation of open chromatin features and active recruitment of well-known co-repressors in metazoans. Structurally, the SET domain of UpSET resembles H3K4 and H3K36 methyltransferases; however, it is does not confer histone methyltransferase activity. Rather than methylating histones to regulate gene expression like other SET domain-containing proteins, UpSET fine-tunes transcription by modulating the chromatin structure around active promoters resulting in suppression of expression of off-target genes or nearby repetitive elements. Chromatin modulation by UpSET occurs in part through its interaction with histone deacetylases. Here, we discuss the different scenarios in which UpSET could play key roles in modulating gene expression.
H Rincon-Arano, J Halow, JJ Delrow, SM Parkhurst, M Groudine. UpSET recruits HDAC complexes and restricts chromatin accessibility and acetylation at promoter regions. Cell 2012; 151: 1214- 28.
PMID: 23177352 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.11.009