The histone demethylase PHF8 is a molecular safeguard of the IFNγ response
A precise immune response is essential for cellular homeostasis and animal survival. The paramount importance of its control is reflected by the fact that its non-specific activation leads to inflammatory events that ultimately contribute to the appearance of many chronic diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms preventing non-specific activation and allowing a quick response upon signal activation are not yet fully understood. In this paper we uncover a new function of PHF8 blocking signal independent activation of immune gene promoters. Affinity purifications coupled with mass spectrometry analysis identified SIN3A and HDAC1 corepressors as new PHF8 interacting partners. Further molecular analysis demonstrated that prior to interferon gamma (IFNγ) stimulation, PHF8 is bound to a subset of IFNγ-responsive promoters. Through the association with HDAC1 and SIN3A, PHF8 keeps the promoters in a silent state, maintaining low levels of H4K20me1. Upon IFNγ treatment, PHF8 is phosphorylated by ERK2 and evicted from the promoters, correlating with an increase in H4K20me1 and transcriptional activation. Our data strongly indicate that in addition to its well-characterized function as a coactivator, PHF8 safeguards transcription to allow an accurate immune response.
[…] Accession numbers can be found in . In brief, reads were mapped to the hg19 genome version using TOPHAT package (). Transcript levels were calculated with Cufflink () and differentially expressed genes were identify with Cuffdiff (). […]