Author(s): Megee PC, Morgan BA, Smith MM
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Abstract The normal progression of Saccharomyces cerevisiae through nuclear division requires the function of the amino-terminal domain of histone H4. Mutations that delete the domain, or alter 4 conserved lysine residues within the domain, cause a marked delay during the G2+M phases of the cell cycle. Site-directed mutagenesis of single and multiple lysine residues failed to map this phenotype to any particular site; the defect was only observed when all four lysines were mutated. Starting with a quadruple lysine-to-glutamine substitution allele, the insertion of a tripeptide containing a single extra lysine residue suppressed the G2+M cell cycle defect. Thus, the amino-terminal domain of histone H4 has novel genetic functions that depend on the presence of lysine per se, and not a specific primary peptide sequence. To determine the nature of this function, we examined H4 mutants that were also defective for G2/M checkpoint pathways. Disruption of the mitotic spindle checkpoint pathway had no effect on the phenotype of the histone amino-terminal domain mutant. However, disruption of RAD9, which is part of the pathway that monitors DNA integrity, caused precocious progression of the H4 mutant through nuclear division and increased cell death. These results indicate that the lysine-dependent function of histone H4 is required for the maintenance of genome integrity, and that DNA damage resulting from the loss of this function activates the RAD9-dependent G2/M checkpoint pathway.
This article was published in Genes Dev
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology