Structural mechanism of bivalent histone H3K4me3K9me3 recognition by the Spindlin1/C11orf84 complex in rRNA transcription activation

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  • Yongming Du
  • Yinxia Yan
  • Si Xie
  • Ray Kit Ng
  • Ming-Ming Zhou
  • Chengmin Qian

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Original languageEnglish
Article number949
Journal / PublicationNature Communications
Online published11 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021



Spindlin1 is a unique multivalent epigenetic reader that facilitates ribosomal RNA transcription. In this study, we provide molecular and structural basis by which Spindlin1 acts in complex with C11orf84 to preferentially recognize non-canonical bivalent mark of trimethylated lysine 4 and lysine 9 present on the same histone H3 tail (H3K4me3K9me3). We demonstrate that C11orf84 binding stabilizes Spindlin1 and enhances its association with bivalent H3K4me3K9me3 mark. The functional analysis suggests that Spindlin1/C11orf84 complex can displace HP1 proteins from H3K4me3K9me3-enriched rDNA loci, thereby facilitating the conversion of these poised rDNA repeats from the repressed state to the active conformation, and the consequent recruitment of RNA Polymerase I for rRNA transcription. Our study uncovers a previously unappreciated mechanism of bivalent H3K4me3K9me3 recognition by Spindlin1/C11orf84 complex required for activation of rRNA transcription.

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