Volume 41 (2016) Issue 2 Pages 145-152
Pericentric regions form epigenetically organized, silent heterochromatin structures that accumulate histone H3 lysine 9 tri-methylation (H3K9me3) and heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1), a methylated H3K9-binding protein. At pericentric regions, Suv39h is the major enzyme that generates H3K9me3. Suv39h also interacts directly with HP1. However, the importance of HP1 interaction for Suv39h-mediated H3K9me3 formation at the pericentromere is not well characterized. To address this question, we introduced HP1 binding-defective, N-terminally truncated mouse Suv39h1 (ΔN) into Suv39h-deficient cells. Pericentric H3K9me3-positive cells were not detected by endogenous-level expression of ΔN. Notably, ΔN could induce pericentric accumulation of H3K9me3 as wild type Suv39h1 did if it was overexpressed. These findings demonstrate that the N-terminal region of Suv39h1, presumably via HP1–Suv39h1 interaction, is required for Suv39h1-mediated pericentric H3K9me3 formation, but can be overridden if Suv39h1 is overproduced, indicating that Suv39h1-mediated heterochromatin formation is controlled by multiple modules, including HP1.