Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, quai Ernest-Ansermet 30, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.
In Drosophila, SU(VAR)3-7 is an essential heterochromatin component. It is required for proper chromatin condensation, and changing its dose modifies position-effect variegation. Sumoylation is a post-translational modification shown to play a role in diverse biological processes. Here, we demonstrate that sumoylation is essential for proper heterochromatin function in Drosophila through modification of SU(VAR)3-7. Indeed, SU(VAR)3-7 is sumoylated at lysine K839; this modification is required for localization of SU(VAR)3-7 at pericentric heterochromatin, chromosome 4, and telomeres. In addition, sumoylation of SU(VAR)3-7 is a prerequisite for its ability to enhance position-effect variegation. Thus, these results show that the heterochromatic function of SU(VAR)3-7 depends on its own sumoylation, and unveil a role for sumoylation in Drosophila heterochromatin.
Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.
Mammalian G9a is a euchromatic histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methyltransferase essential for development. Here, we characterize the Drosophila homolog of G9a, dG9a. We generated a dG9a deletion allele by homologous recombination. Analysis of this allele revealed that, in contrast to recent findings, dG9a is not required for fly viability.
Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation is associated with gene repression and heterochromatin formation. In Drosophila, SU(VAR)3-9 is responsible for H3K9 methylation mainly at pericentric heterochromatin. However, the histone methyltransferases responsible for H3K9 methylation at euchromatic sites, telomeres, and at the peculiar Chromosome 4 have not yet been identified. Here, we show that DmSETDB1 is involved in nonpericentric H3K9 methylation. Analysis of two DmSetdb1 alleles generated by homologous recombination, a deletion, and an allele where the 3HA tag is fused to the endogenous DmSetdb1, reveals that this gene is essential for fly viability and that DmSETDB1 localizes mainly at Chromosome 4. It also shows that DmSETDB1 is responsible for some of the H3K9 mono- and dimethyl marks in euchromatin and for H3K9 dimethylation on Chromosome 4. Moreover, DmSETDB1 is required for variegated repression of transgenes inserted on Chromosome 4. This study defines DmSETDB1 as a H3K9 methyltransferase that specifically targets euchromatin and the autosomal Chromosome 4 and shows that it is an essential factor for Chromosome 4 silencing.